Common Elder Law Questions
You may have loved ones who are beginning to show signs that they are having difficulties being able to care for themselves. When your family member needs long-term care, you may have questions about the expenses associated with these facilities.
At Family Law Group, in Colorado Springs, we help families understand how all of the pieces regarding estate planning, elder law and Medicaid all fit together. We assess your particular situation, and provide you with recommendations you can use to develop your plan.
Below, we have answered some of the most common questions we receive at our firm regarding elder law and Medicaid. We realize that this only scratches the surface of the issue, and we invite you to reach out to us for more detailed information about the specifics of your case.
What Documents Do You Need To Make Medical And Financial Decisions For Your Parents?
There are a few things you need in order to be able to make these decisions on behalf of an aging or incapacitated parent. First, you need a HIPAA release form. This authorizes doctors to release medical information about your parent to you, so that you are able to understand more about the care your parent is receiving, as well as his or her current condition.
Next, you need a health care power of attorney to make decisions as to the care your family member should receive. Your parent may have a living will in place which specifies the amount of care they should get if life-sustaining measures are needed.
For financial matters, you should have a power of attorney for finances implemented. This means you can make decisions regarding your parent’s assets, and basically step in and address any financial issues that arise on their behalf if they are unable to care for these matters themselves.
What Are The Benefits Of Long-Term Care Planning?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are extremely expensive. Without proper planning, your assets could be depleted by paying for that care. There are provisions in Medicaid laws that allow administrators the opportunity to look back at the assets a person has had in the five years before requesting Medicaid. We understand how these laws work, and can help you position your estate plan in a way that takes full advantage of the protections available to you.
Even if you are currently in the five-year look back period or have transferred assets during this period, there are still options available to allow you to protect your assets. This is something we can discuss when you come in to create your estate plan, or work with your loved ones to make sure they have taken the appropriate steps to pay for their care.
Can You Protect Assets From Being Subject To Long-Term Care Costs?
Yes, but you have to start early. You may be entitled to benefits to help you pay for long-term care, but you need to take advantage of all of the protections available to you as soon as possible.
Any assets transferred during the look back period could potentially be subject to a possible penalty, meaning they would be counted among assets required to be used to pay for long-term care. The sooner you begin planning, the sooner you can develop a plan to maximize the amount of assets you can protect, as well as the amount of Medicaid benefits you can receive.
How Do I Become A Guardian For My Aging Parent?
You may petition the court to be appointed as your parent’s guardian, even if they are contesting your request. The court will determine if your parent is able to care for and make decisions on their own. It is possible your siblings may disagree with your request, and this may result in a dispute between family members. We invite you to discuss your guardianship options with us to learn the best way to make sure your loved one is protected.
What Is A Caregiver Agreement? Do You Need One?
A caregiver agreement is a document that prevents financial harm from coming to a person who is caring for a loved one. This document details that a certain individual will provide care for in the event that person is unable to care for himself or herself. It discusses the amount of compensation that should be passed on to the caretaker. This is especially important in situations where someone may have to leave a career to provide this care.
We can help you determine if you need to have such a document put in place. It is often a good idea to have one of these when one sibling lives closer to the parent than the others. If you believe that you might be responsible for caring for your parents as they age, you should definitely discuss creating a caregiver agreement with your parents.
Do I Really Need An Attorney To Help With This?
Many clients have come to us after getting started on this process because they run into roadblocks at some point. They try to solve these problems, but instead only seem to make things worse.
Working with an experienced lawyer can help you avoid some of the frustration that you may otherwise encounter. You will be able to be confident that you and your family have a comprehensive plan that helps you address any contingencies that may arise going forward.
Let’s Discuss Your Options Regarding Your Elder Law Concerns
We know that this is a very difficult issue to discuss, and can be a very stressful issue for you and your family. We want to do our part to make this entire situation much easier to deal with, and we do that by listening and working together with you to help you do what is best for your future. Call our office today at 719-900-3792 or send us an email to schedule a consultation.