The Firm is committed to preparing individuals and families for their future needs. As such, the Firm’s ELDER LAW PRACTICE provides the following:STANDARD DOCUMENTS: The first area encompasses standard documents that all persons should execute. This includes a Power of Attorney, Health Surrogate, Living Will (Advance Directive), Last Will and Testament and or a Revocable Trust. We see too many instances of people who delay executing these documents until it is too late. Once a person is not competent or is unconscious it is too late. This is especially unfortunate if the family needs to access funds for the care of the elderly individual. The only alternative is a guardianship proceeding which is a long and expensive process.
LONG RANGE PLANNING: The second area is long range pre-planning for Medicaid eligibility or for those that want to protect assets from creditors or from probate. The most commonly used vehicle is an irrevocable trust. Assets put in an irrevocable trust are no longer the Grantor’s (Maker) assets and not within the Grantor’s control.
SHORT RANGE PLANNING: The third area is short range Medicaid planning when seniors have an immediate need to become a resident in an assisted living facility or a nursing home and cannot financially afford the expense of long term care.
POINTS OF INFORMATION IN REGARD TO ELDER LAW CONCERNS:
1. In Florida, Medicaid eligibility for long-term nursing home care is based on the assets and income of the Medicaid applicant, as well as the assets and income of the Medicaid applicant’s spouse. If the Medicaid applicant or spouse has excess assets, many legal steps may be available to allow the applicant to become Medicaid-eligible without spending all funds on the nursing home. Also in Florida, in order to be eligible for Medicaid, there is a cap on income that can be received. For income over $2000.00, it will be necessary to have a Qualified Income Trust into which income will go prior to applying for Medicaid.
2. Further, all assets above the Florida cap will have to be exhausted prior to receiving Medicaid. This will mean spending down the assets to the facility or placing all assets in a Pooled Trust. At the same time, Florida Medicaid permits a child or other individual to provide services of a personal nature to a senior in a nursing home, for a fee. The agreement must be very specific, must be prepaid, and must be based upon the life expectancy of the Medicaid applicant as well as fair market value of the services. In order to transfer these funds before applying for Medicaid, the senior and the relative must enter into a Personal Services Agreement that is acceptable under Florida and federal law.
3. Our Firm can help you with these planning documents. The Firm is also a provider of legal services to geriatric care Management Companies that provide oversight management for seniors and Medicaid consulting services.