Elder Law Lawyers in Delaware County, PA, Assisting Senior Citizens With Their Unique Legal Needs
As you or a family member begin the aging process, you most likely are beginning to experience legal issues unique to your age group. For example, it may be apparent that you will have to enter a nursing home, need assistance with financial planning, or appoint a healthcare proxy who can advocate for your medical care if you are incapacitated.
Regardless of your needs, hiring an experienced elder law attorney who can provide you with the legal services needed to safeguard your future is in your best interests.
The elder care attorneys of Peak Legal Group are passionately committed to helping individuals and families plan for what lies ahead. If you would like more information about how we can assist you, contact our Delaware Co, PA, law office and ask to schedule a free initial consultation. A qualified legal team member will gladly sit down with you to answer any questions and address your concerns about elder law issues.
What Legal Issues Can an Elder Law Attorney Handle?
An elder care attorney can provide seniors and their families with various legal services to prepare them for the future. Some of the most common legal issues we handle include:
- Long-term care planning: One of the realities of growing older is the possibility that you or a family member may require long-term medical care. One of the best steps you can take is to have a long-term care plan in place ahead of time should the need arise. Our attorneys can help you with Medicaid eligibility and Medicare assistance and advise you regarding long-term care insurance.
- Powers of attorney: Assigning a power of attorney to a trusted family member or friend can provide peace of mind knowing that any legal services you need can be handled on your behalf. A power of attorney is an essential legal option for individuals who become disabled or suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and cannot make sound decisions independently. An experienced elder law attorney can explain the different powers of attorney options that are available and determine which is right for you.
- Healthcare declarations: One of the most vital aspects of elder law involves healthcare declarations. Knowing your wishes regarding healthcare can benefit your family and medical providers as it takes the guesswork out of the decision-making process.
How Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me With Medicaid Eligibility?
Many individuals mistakenly believe that obtaining Medicaid benefits is as simple as filling out an application. Unfortunately, it is not that easy, and most middle-class citizens still need to qualify due to their income and other financial assets they possess. In addition, social security benefits also are considered a countable asset.
Some seniors try to “spend down” their money to qualify for Medicaid and nursing home care. However, proper Medicaid planning can assist you with covering nursing home costs and protecting your assets.
For example, Medicaid law permits individuals to have specific “exempt” assets that do not count against them. Some examples of exempt resources include:
- Each applicant and their spouse is permitted to each have a motor vehicle. However, other vehicles count against eligibility.
- Life insurance policies with a maximum face value of $1,500 per person. If the cash surrender value exceeds $1,000, only the excess amount is considered a countable resource.
- Irrevocable burial reserves and burial spaces
- Personal effects and household items such as jewelry and clothing.
A Medicaid applicant is also permitted to make “exempt transfers” of assets. One typical example is when the applicant transfers home ownership to a child who has acted as their caregiver. Additionally, an applicant is permitted to give gifts. However, it is vital to understand the Medicaid transfer penalty if the gift was given within 5 years of needing to enter a nursing home.
Seniors must understand that Medicaid does not cover living costs in assisted living facilities. Medicaid may cover certain services you receive while living there but will not pay for room and board as with nursing home care.
Because of the complicated nature of Medicaid planning, Peak Legal Group can review your situation and help develop an asset protection plan that will protect your hard-earned financial resources.
How Can I Avoid Potential Guardianship?
One of the most significant advantages of consulting with an elder law attorney is they can help prevent the potential of having a guardian assigned to you. Pennsylvania law defines a guardian as an individual, agency, or institution appointed by the court to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. Often individuals with special needs are assigned a guardian to manage their personal and financial matters.
However, an elder law attorney can assist you with creating legal documents that can prevent guardianship and put your choice of who will manage your affairs in your own hands. Some of the most common legal options include:
- Healthcare power of attorney: This legal option grants the agent of your choice the legal authority to make decisions regarding your medical treatment if you are incapacitated.
- Durable financial power of attorney: This option allows your designated agent to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
- Living will: An advanced directive that guides your family and medical professionals regarding how they should make medical decisions if you are incapacitated.
Why Should I Trust Peak Legal Group With My Elder Law Matters?
Growing older can come with many challenges. However, with the help of a knowledgeable elder law attorney, you can plan for the future. Peak Legal Group has a proven track record of successfully assisting individuals with elder law planning needs.
Additionally, if you need assistance updating estate planning documents, naming a new executor, or any other legal issue pertaining to the administration of your affairs, contact Peak Legal Group of Delaware Co, PA, immediately.
If you would like more information or wish to discuss your legal needs, contact our law office at 610-989-7064 and ask to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.