Elder Law is general category of law that focuses on the issues that affect the growing aging population, particularly in Estate Planning, Trust Administration, and Conservatorships, Today, Elder law has become more closely associated with Medicaid and Medi-Cal Planning, as well as Elder Abuse issues.
Medicare is a federal program that pays much of our medical bills once we have attained age 65. However, Medicare does not pay for any long term care, whether the care is provided in either an out-patient or in-patient status. These long term care services can be very expensive, and must be paid by us privately. These costs may deplete our assets, which allows us to leave less for our children and beneficiaries.
Medi-Cal is a program that will pay our long term care expenses, for both in-patient and out-patient services. However, Medi-Cal is a “needs-based” program, with strict eligibility requirements. In order to qualify for Medi-Cal, your annual income must be 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less (in 2013 that would mean an individual who earned $15,856 or less). Additionally, in order to qualify for Medi-Cal, you must have little countable assets, and will subject your other assets such as a home, to a government lien, payable upon your death.
Special Needs Planning
Elder law planning therefore involves using Irrevocable Trusts and other means to transfer and hold your existing assets, so that these assets are no longer considered your countable assets. This planning strategy may enable you to qualify for long-term care benefits through Medi-Cal. However, your assets must be transferred out of your name several years before you need to apply for Medi-Cal. Therefore, it is important to consider advance planning for you or a love one before you need to apply for Medi-Cal.
Elder Abuse is another category of law focused on protecting the rights of elderly from physical or financial abuse, such as in the case of undue influence.
Sanders & Montalto, LLP has dedicated many long years to the study and practice of Elder law. We are committed to making sure we do everything possible to achieve the maximum results in each client’s case, and in keeping the client informed along the way.
The firm generally provides representation in Elder law on an hourly or fixed fee basis. Attorney consultations and case evaluations are free of charge.