Here is a typical situation our clients come to our office seeking our elder care law advice:
Husband and Wife have been married for 51 years. The husband suffered a severe stroke and was hospitalized and then transferred to a local nursing home for rehabilitation. The family is now considering different option for ongoing care for their husband and father, including having him remain in the nursing home on a permanent basis. The family is concerned about how to protect their mom financially, including protecting the marital home, as well as to give mom sufficient income and assets if their dad remains in the nursing home which costs $12,000.00 per month.
The parents have total combined assets of $200,000 plus the marital home valued at $175,000 with no mortgage. The H’s fixed income is about $4,300/mo., being a retired school teacher. W’s fixed income is about $1,500/mo. H served active duty in the Navy during WWII.
Among the tasks our elder care law office performs in the above situation, with an emphasis on health care advocacy, include:
1) Advising about proper estate planning documents including wills, financial powers of attorney, and advanced directives, and drafting revised or new documents.
2) Advising on the potential need for guardianship and the administrative process of guardianship, advising on proper authority to transfer assets, sign agreements, and deal with third-parties on behalf of a Medicaid applicant.
3) Advising regarding housing and care options available, including educating caregivers on how to get the best care for their loved one.
4) Advising on review of nursing home admission agreement, nursing home laws and regulations involving transfers from a nursing home to another nursing home.
5) Advising regarding Medicare coverage for skilled care.
6) Advising on methods to pay the nursing home, including the regulations involving the statutory scheme and standards for Medicaid coverage as well as Veterans benefits.
7) Determining the amount and value of countable and non-countable Medicaid assets, analyzing forms of ownership and barriers to liquidation of resources and carrying out changes in resource/asset ownership.
8) Advice regarding the determination of income and resources statutorily protected for the benefit of community spouse, including methods available to increase both the spousal income allowance and spousal asset allowance to the community spouse through a Medicaid Fair Hearing.
9) Advising clients regarding and defending certain uncompensated transfers that have occurred during the Medicaid five-year look back when a statutory exception applies.
10) Planning with the home, including advising about and transferring the home to a healthy spouse, caregiver child, disabled child or a trust for benefit of disabled child or child under the age of 21.
11) Advice regarding a child with a disability where there is a parent who may be Medicaid eligible as well, and potential special needs planning for the disabled child and transfers of wealth from a Medicaid applicant to a trust for the benefit of a disabled child or other disabled individual.
12) Advice regarding estate administration, the death of a spouse within a look-back period and the elective share and how they affect the determination of income and resources and transfers of resources within the look-back period for Medicaid applicants.
13) Understanding and giving advice about the ethical components of Medicaid applications and eligibility, including disclosure of known assets and income so as to prevent any claims of fraud or benefits wrongfully paid, and what is considered adequate cooperation with the eligibility process.
14) Advice regarding marriage, separation, divorce, and other family law issues and how they affect the determination of income and resources and transfers of resources within the look-back period for Medicaid applicants.