Three areas of elder law
When you need help with elder law, you need an attorney who has made a particular study of the subject. Three topics that often come up in elder law are asset protection for the elderly when applying for Medicaid, setting up trusts and power of attorney.
When you apply for Medicaid, there are limits to the income and resources that you are allowed to have — and if you make a gift of these assets to someone else in the five years before you apply for Medicaid, an eligibility penalty will be imposed when you apply. In other words, you need to begin planning a lot more than five years in advance if you intend to apply for Medicaid. You will need an elder law attorney to help you through this process, showing you what assets you can transfer and how to transfer them.
One way to prevent an asset from being counted by Medicaid is to place it in an irrevocable trust before the five-year period begins. This is one of the ways you can use trusts to manage your assets. 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 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 do not go through probate and do not have to be distributed right away. They 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 involve choosing another person 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 if you ever require applying for Medicaid benefits for long-term care. 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.
Help with elder law in Gastonia, Charlotte and surrounding communities
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Mount Holly, Charlotte, Gastonia and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He has helped hundreds of clients. If you are in need of help with elder law or may need it in the future, call his office today.