After a long and productive life, it's time to start thinking about protecting your legacy. There’s more to safeguarding what you’ve built up over the years than just managing your estate, however.
An elder law attorney can help you sort through the complex issues of keeping assets within the family, drafting health care directives, and managing potential long-term care needs before a health or financial crisis strikes.
What Is an Elder Law Plan?
Unlike an estate plan, an elder law plan is all about preparing a strategy to handle issues while you are still alive—and it’s best to do this as far ahead as possible. Our elder law team can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family while dealing with medical problems and selecting representatives to make important decisions on your behalf. These are some of the important issues you need to think about for your plan:
- Advanced medical directives such as living wills and healthcare declarations
- Counseling for housing matters such as home equity conversion
- End-of-life legal planning for transferring businesses, real estate, and assets
- Assigning a fiduciary representative to act in your best interests
- Understanding the possible tax ramifications of any legal actions
A skilled elder law attorney can also walk you through how decisions in your existing estate planning will impact your future Medicaid eligibility. Many people ignore that possibility, which can be a costly mistake, as nursing home stays can quickly drain assets. You may need to plan ahead for an option like Medicaid to cover costs, which means understanding the program’s five-year look-back period.
Under that provision of Medicaid, assets you give away now—or sell below market value—will count against you for the next five years before benefits apply. Any financial moves you make today could have a drastic impact on your Medicaid eligibility down the line, which is why it is critical to consult a qualified elder law attorney well in advance of when you might need long-term care.
How Do I Know if I Need an Elder Law Attorney?
When deciding if you need a specialist in elder law to assist you with potential long-term care or asset issues, ask yourself if you:
- Want to protect your hard-earned assets from a former spouse after a divorce or from adult children
- Have minor children who need to be cared for
- Own a business
- Have an incapacitated spouse in need of long-term care
- Desire to leave financial or real estate assets to charities or family members
- Have a disability and require assistance
- Are currently covered by either Medicare or Medicaid, or plan to be in the future
- Lost a spouse or other caretaking family member recently
- Hope to remain financially independent even after a health problem
How Can I Find the Right Elder Law Professional?
Now is the time to speak with an experienced attorney who handles both estate and elder law to cover all your needs. Our team understands state-specific North Carolina laws that may impact your healthcare and asset planning, and it is our goal to help you protect what you’ve built. Contact us through our web form or over the phone to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.