Why you might need an elder law attorney
There are any number of reasons why you might need the services of an elder law attorney:
- Suppose your wife needs to go into a nursing home. If you are like most people, you will need Medicaid to pay for it. This means that you will have to accept certain limits on your income and resources. You are allowed to keep, at minimum, $1,991.25 of the combined incomes you and your spouse receive. This is called the minimum monthly maintenance allowance. Under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to keep more. An elder law attorney can tell you what these circumstances are.
You will be able to keep half your countable resources as a couple, up to a certain point. If you have over $240,000, the maximum that you will be able to keep back at home is $119,220. Countable resources include life insurance, retirement plans, IRAs and annuities. A good elder law attorney should be able to help you protect the majority of your assets.
- Suppose you wish to transfer assets out of your name before applying for Medicaid to enter a nursing home or assisted living center. In either case, there is a look-back period — five years in the case of a nursing home, three years in the case of an assisted living center. Any gifts that have been made in this look-back period will result in a sanction being imposed when you apply. An elder law attorney can let you know when to apply, what assets you can transfer and how to get the most advantage out of the Medicaid rules.
One way to transfer assets is by granting financial power of attorney to a friend or family member. However, in order for this to work, the power of attorney has to be drawn up correctly. Not every attorney knows how to do this. Only an elder law attorney can prepare a financial power of attorney that fits all your needs.
- Suppose you have decided that there are certain circumstances under which you do not want to be kept alive through medicine. This means that you will need to draw up a living will. You will also need to draw up a health care power of attorney in order to appoint an agent to enforce the living will. This is something else that an elder law attorney can help you do.
An elder law attorney in Gastonia, NC
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.