Aspects of elder law
Elder law is a complex subject, and only an attorney who has studied the field closely can help you with it. Three areas of elder law that are particularly important are asset protection for the elderly, setting up trusts and power of attorney.
There are limits to the income and resources you can have when you apply for Medicaid, and if you make a gift of these assets to someone else in the five years before you apply, there will be an eligibility penalty. So you need to begin planning more than five years in advance if you intend to apply for Medicaid. You need an elder law attorney to show you what assets you can transfer and how to transfer them.
One way to keep Medicaid from counting an asset is to put it in an irrevocable trust before the five-year period begins. When you place an asset in an irrevocable trust, it is no longer part of your estate, although you may still get any income it produces. The assets in a revocable trust, on the other hand, still belong to you, and you can name the person or institution of your choice as a trustee. When you die, the assets in this trust can be left in the management of your agent for a set amount of time, or until your heir reaches a certain age. An elder law attorney can help you draw up a trust.
Durable power of attorney comes in two forms — financial and health care. Both mean choosing someone to make decisions for you when you become unable to do so. If a financial power of attorney is drawn correctly, it allows your agent to transfer assets out of your name. Very few powers of attorney being created in North Carolina at this time have the requisite language included in them. An elder law attorney should be able to guide you through this process. In the case of financial power of attorney, your agent makes financial decisions. Health care power of attorney gives your agent the power to make your health care decisions, such as enforcing your living will. A living will is a documents that spells out the circumstances under which you do or do not wish to be kept alive artificially. Only an elder law attorney can help draw this up.
Elder law attorney in the Gastonia 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.