Applying for Medicaid
Three areas where you might need an elder law attorney in the Charlotte area are applying for Medicaid, planning your estate and going through probate.
There are different kinds of Medicaid for seniors with different needs, but all of them come with restrictions on income and resources. A common need seniors have is for Medicaid assistance in shouldering the cost of nursing home care. In this case, there is a minimum monthly maintenance allowance of $1,991.25 for you and your spouse. Under the right circumstances, you might be able to keep more of your money. An elder law attorney can help you take advantage of the laws around Medicaid to hold on to as much of your income and resources as possible.
Estate planning and power of attorney
An elder law attorney can help you draw up your will in such a way that it will transfer assets in exactly the way that you intend. If you try to write out your own will or download a will form off the Internet, you may miss some assets or count some of them twice — and since your will is not recorded until your death, you won’t be there to clear up the confusion.
An elder law attorney can also help you prepare a durable power of attorney. A financial power of attorney will let you protect your assets if you ever go into a nursing home, by appointing an agent to make financial decisions for you. This power of attorney must be drawn up properly to ensure that your agent can do everything you need him or her to be able to do. A health care power of attorney will let you appoint an agent to enforce your living will, if circumstances call for it.
The probate process
If a friend or family member chooses you to be the executor of his or her will, or if a court appoints you as the personal representative to handle the estate, you must be prepared to deal with the probate process. This will mean determining the validity of the will, collecting inheritance taxes and other outstanding taxes, and settling any outstanding debts.
An elder law lawyer can tell you if the estate can go through a shorter form of the probate process, or if it must go through the longer form. In case the process goes on longer than you want, look for an attorney who is willing to take care of all the paperwork and court appearances personally.
An elder law attorney in the Charlotte area
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.