My good friend, Pat Simasko, is an elder law attorney. I always cringe at the term “elder law” – thinking to myself, – isn’t there a more descriptive term to cover this area of law? Elder law, for the most part, refers to the legal and financial steps that can be taken when a family member is facing the dramatic costs of assisted living or nursing home care. The MEDICAID laws, as implemented by the state, as well as Federal laws relating to Aid and Attendance benefits for Wartime Veterans, are interfaced with estate planning and financial techniques in an effort to save the financial resources of the person needing care – so to provide for the other spouse. Suppose Dad needs care, but Mom is okay – in that case, we need to worry about Mom and Dad – not just Dad!
In this sense, maybe the better term would be “Senior Asset Preservation Law” – rather than Elder Law. Do you like it?
Anyway, there are a ton of issues in play here. Before you get to the nuts and bolts there is a preliminary first initial step that needs to be in place – you must make sure you have an up to date Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) in place for Mom and Dad – such that you, as the child or the other spouse, have the immediate power to act on their behalf as the need arises. In Senior Asset Preservation Law situations (I had to try the new name) this can be critical – for instance – Dad is widowed and needs immediate nursing care and is not capable of acting on his own due to a major stroke. If Dad has the house in his name, he needs to do a Ladybird Deed to transfer the home upon his death to his children in order to avoid the Medicaid Probate lien that will attach to the home so the state can seek reimbursement for the nursing home costs paid while he was living. If the DPOA is in place and the stroke occurs, then Mom or the child can sign for Dad and make the required transfer. If, however, Mom, Dad, and the kids were just too busy or just didn’t think that the stroke would happen and therefore did not have the right documents in place -well, then it will be too late!
Simple fact – we don’t know when bad things are going to happen – so we need the documents in place before. That’s why we’re holding a FREE Seminar this coming Wednesday evening, “Estate Plans are Needed for the Living – If You’re Alive – You Need to Attend” – it’s at 6 PM at our office in Bingham Farms.
Better yet, attendees will receive a $300.00 Certificate off the cost of an Estate Plan at Thav Gross. You have to attend to receive the certificate!
Sign up below and stay warm, these last days of Winter.