Elder law is not just for the elderly. Instead it is defined as “the legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and persons with special needs, and their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long-term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision making, legal capacity, the conservation, disposition and administration of estates and the implementation of their decisions concerning such matters, giving due consideration to the applicable tax consequences of the action, or the need for more sophisticated tax expertise” by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).
A Virginia Beach elder law attorney could help develop a plan to avoid the dread and concern associated not only with death, but also with a sudden onset of a chronic illness of disability. A dedicated attorney can help with estate planning, tax planning, special needs planning, guardianships and conservatorships, and long-term care planning. It is important to have competent representation when developing such a plan to prevent unnecessary delays or an irrevocable mistake.
The Care Planning Dilemma
The majority of clients want to remain in the home for as long as possible; afterall, it is the place that we usually feel most comfortable, However, as we age, remaining in our homes may no longer be in our best interest, and under certain circumstances, will require extensive planning. Not only can remaining in the home result in social isolation, which can have negative impacts on cognition, but the cost of appropriate care may be a barrier. While there is a Medicaid benefit available to assist with the cost, planning is often needed to attain the benefit and an individual may require more can than provided under the program.
When in-home care is no longer an option, we must look to facility care. The type of facility will often depend on the level of care needed and the resources or supports available. An elder law attorney can help navigate placement, assess funding, develop an asset protection plan, and apply for Medicaid and Veterans benefits.
Early Interventions and Planning
It is hard to face the realities associated with chronic illness and disability. When a client recognizes personal limitations, fear associated with the loss of autonomy can often cause overcompensation and delays in planning. For loved ones, we often want to ignore the limitations and slowly mourn the loss of the person we once knew. By failing to address issues early on, families are often forced to make rush decision in periods of crisis – often after a major injury.
The best plans are developed early. Although a plan may not be implemented until years later, sitting down with an elder law attorney, you can develop and understand what a plan may look like and may be able to take some initial steps that will make implementation much easier down the road.
Further, there are many myths tied to public benefits, especially with Medicaid, and an elder law attorney can help dispel the myths. By doing so, they can answer issues associated to what rights of recovery Medicaid may have (i.e. Does Medicaid really take my house?), what a spenddown actually means, and what the 5-year lookback period really is.
By planning early, you can have an experience elder law attorney in Virginia Beach in place to help navigate issues associated with aging or disability before a crisis arises, which often leads to less stress and a greater protection of assets.
Let a Virginia Beach Elder Law Attorney Provide for Your Immediate and Long-Term Future
Elder planning involves considering what may happen in the coming years and what will happen after your death. While having a will in place is always a good idea, elder law involves much more comprehensive planning. At the same time, it may provide more immediate benefits that help you to live out the coming years in greater comfort and with the care you need.
Our team is ready to address your concerns and answer your questions. A Virginia Beach elder law attorney could work to evaluate your current plan, and walk you through what a long-term care plan may look like for your family. Reach out now to get started.