The CDC states falls among older adults are extremely common with an estimated 2.5 million older adults treated for fall injuries in the U.S. every year. An estimated 25,000 of those fall injuries result in death. Justifiably so, 8 out of 10 caregivers are worried about fall prevention for their loved ones.

 

With these statistics above in mind, check out the link below to research personal emergency response system and other assistive technology options available to find ones that truly enhance the lives of seniors and their families by coupling an independent lifestyle with safety and peace of mind: 

https://www.caring.com/caregivers/best-medical-alert-systems/

We receive calls every week from families caring for a loved one whose health is starting to deteriorate, asking about getting a Power of Attorney.  Sadly, far too often in the case of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, most had not done any estate planning documents prior to their worsening condition and by this point may have lost all capacity to sign legal documents! What can be done in instances where no estate planning was put in place ahead of time? The answer is often a guardianship.

 

By definition of the law, a guardianship is a legal relationship in which an entity or a person is named in a will or is appointed by the court to make decisions for another. One example would be in the case of minors and adults who have become incapable of taking care of their personal needs and can no longer make decisions on their own.

 

It is also referred to as a conservatorship on occasion, but the term “guardianship” is more frequently used. In the case of minors, the guardianship will apply until he or she is 18 years old. Any family member or close family friend can petition the court for guardianship or a government agency can petition for it.

 

This is also true in the case of incompetent adults, but the person or ward can select the person that he wants to be his guardian. The judge will take this into consideration before granting the guardianship. After the guardianship is obtained, the ward cannot revoke the guardianship. However, there are cases wherein temporary guardianship is given which can be terminated after achieving a certain purpose. Guardians make all decisions for and on behalf of their wards but must not benefit from transactions made for his ward.

 

A guardianship is meant to ensure that a minor or an incapacitated adult receives all the necessary care he needs. Every decision that a guardian makes on behalf of his ward must be for the benefit and well-being of his ward.

 

A power of attorney, on the other hand, is a written, legal document wherein an individual called “the principal” appoints another individual called “the agent” to act on his behalf; authorizing the agent to make transactions for the principal.

 

Usually, a power of attorney is made when a principal sees that he is becoming unable to handle some of his affairs. This is usually done when he becomes ill or has been in an accident, or when he goes out of town and there are financial transactions that have to be done in his absence. This type of planning should all be done with an eye towards planning for the future, and avoiding possible incapacity. It is a written agreement between the agent and the principal whose consent is necessary for the power of attorney to take effect. Should the principal see that the power of attorney is no longer needed, he can revoke or terminate it at any time.

 

The power of attorney documents produced by our firm are two separate documents: Durable (for financial matters) and Healthcare (for medical and health-related matters). A Living Will is typically paired with the Healthcare Power of Attorney to address end-of-life decisions. While these documents are very thorough, the only thing worse than not having a power of attorney is having one, but never actually having that conversation with your agent as to what your actual wishes would be if you were unable to communicate them yourself! You are ideally trying to create the situation where someone is not trying to decide end-of-life decisions for you, but to merely voice what they know you would want in those circumstances! The power of the agent is limited only to the content of the agreement, and should be done based on the client’s own specific needs and situation both now and in the future.  

 

While guardianship requires the guardian to report to the court and other agencies the financial dealings made for the ward to determine where the ward’s money went, a power of attorney does not require the agent to account for every penny that he spent.

 

The best advice of course, is to plan ahead, as no one knows what the future holds! For those situations where time has run out in regards to planning and estate planning documents are no longer possible, a guardianship is the more expensive and time-consuming route, but is often the only answer.  For a general overview of the process check out this link:

https://vaelderlaw.com/practice-areas/guardianships-conservatorship

 

Congratulations go out to our firm's Managing Attorney Robert W. Haley, Certified Elder Law Attorney, who has been named to the Top Attorneys Super Lawyers List again for several years running for 2019!

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selection for inclusion on this list is determined by independent research and peer nomination and evaluation.

For more information on the Super Lawyers selection process, check out the link below:

https://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html

We’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded the AV Preeminent® Rating for 2019! We are very proud to bring you the highest level of service in our practice. #avrated #awards

“I have no chance at all of protecting my home from Medicaid” … FALSE!

Without careful planning, Medicaid can require the sale of your home or record a lien on your home. Depending on the elder's individual circumstances, it is often possible to save the home. We work to prevent a forced sale or prevent a lien where possible. The key here is that you take action toward this as soon as possible.

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website: https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

"I am already protected because Medicaid won't count the assets in my spouse's name" ... FALSE!

 

Sadly, no - Medicaid counts assets in both your name and your spouse's name. Likewise, most assets owned jointly with 3rd parties (adult children, for instance) are also fully countable to the elder in the Medicaid planning process. Asset Protection that yields real results requires the advice of a qualified and Certified Elder Law Attorney, as trying to protect assets yourself without the right help can have real and dire repercussions if done incorrectly. Also, an often little-known fact is that when it comes to Medicaid Planning and Asset Protection, a pre-nuptial agreement in Virginia will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to protect your assets from long-term care should your spouse need to apply for Medicaid!

 

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website: https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

"Planning is unnecessary - the nursing home covers everything" ... FALSE!

 

By shielding assets and income, we can help ensure that married clients protect their spouse at home against impoverishment. For unmarried clients, the attorney should ensure that they have rainy day funds to supplement their quality of life for the rest of their lives. The fact is that nursing homes do not cover all of the needs of the elder. Those elders and their families in nursing homes who have planned ahead enjoy a much higher quality of life than those who failed to save assets.

 

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website: https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

Medicaid or Asset Protection Planning requires “hiding” assets or engaging in illegal acts ... FALSE!

 

No - nothing could be further from the truth! The fact is that a Certified Elder Law Attorney will disclose all planning strategies directly to Medicaid during the application process. The planning is lawful and you have every right to take advantage of your given rights under the law. Just as folks have the right to employ a CPA to save tax dollars, elders have the right to employ attorneys to save and protect their assets in the Medicaid process.

 

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website: https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

"I will never qualify for Medicaid  – I have too much money"... FALSE!

 

You cannot make an informed decision about when you might qualify for benefits until after you meet with a Certified Elder Law Attorney. The fact is that every elder deserves to know all of the facts and options before making an informed decision about their long-term care costs!

 

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website:

https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

 

 

"The nursing home will do your application for free"... FALSE!

 

The nursing home may offer to complete the Medicaid application for free or a low fee, but, the fact is that the nursing home will require that you spend down all of your savings before they do that application for "free.” To be fair, in truth, applying for Medicaid is not a nursing home’s function. The outcome from a nursing home applying for Medicaid is not the same as what can be accomplished by actually working directly with a Certified Elder Law Attorney. We recently heard of a case where a married spouse was in a local nursing home facility on private pay for almost 5 years! Most, if not all of that money could have been protected for the community spouse still living at home.

 

Too often, elders and their families believe that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website:

https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection

"It is too late to do medicaid planning"... FALSE!

 

It is never too late to preserve and protect assets!

 

This misconception is why it is CRUCIAL to consult with a Certified Elder Law Attorney FIRST to see how they can help as soon as possible!

Too often, elders and their families believer that they need to spend-down all their money on the nursing home before the elder may qualify for Medicaid benefits. For more information on how we can help your family plan for the future, call us at 855-503-5337 to schedule a consultation.To learn more about this process, be sure to check out our website:

https://vaelderlaw.com/p…/medicaid-planning-asset-protection