We specialize in elder and disability law and can assist you or your elderly loves ones with the special legal needs of people as they age as well as provide expert legal advice to individuals of all ages with disabilities.
Elder Law is a special subset of estate planning which addresses specific concerns and planning for the elderly. In addition to the standard estate plan everyone, including the elderly and disabled, should have, we provide assistance in the following areas:
Medicaid Planning. Failing to plan for long term care can have devasting consequences. You and your heirs could lose assets due to high medical costs. Medicare and private health insurance don’t typically cover long-term care in a nursing home or at home, so a prolonged nursing home stay can devastate a patient’s assets. Medicaid planning is essentially the process of legal and ethically shifting assets from the status or “unprotected” to “protected” and potentially converting those assets to an income stream to qualify someone for Medicaid benefits that will greatly assist with the immense costs of long term care. The patient’s assets can then be preserved for their spouse and children. We understand these techniques and can help you with a plan that protects and preserves your estate to the greatest extent possible from long term care costs.
Disability Planning. Failure to plan for potential disabilities – especially mental incapacity – leads to more chaos and confusion than most other areas of estate planning. Disability planning involves properly delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity. This planning may involve the use of revocable and irrevocable living trusts, comprehensive durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and living wills. Without a proper disability plan, a conservator or guardian may need to be appointed by a court. Your family may need to decide whether to disconnect a ventilator, take out a feeding tube, or otherwise stop medical interventions that are keeping you alive. This is a heavy burden that can lead to a lifetime of guilt. We have years of experience in disability planning and can provide you with everything you need to have an effective plan in place.
Special Needs Planning. Another aspect of elder law and disability involves special needs trust planning. A special needs trust is an asset management trust designed to provide for the quality of life of a beneficiary who is or will be receiving government aid, while preserving those trust funds from the typical “spend-down” requirements. Federal and state laws require compliance with very technical rules if such a trust is to achieve the purpose intended, so the planning process requires careful analysis in order to prevent the inadvertent loss of eligibility for benefits. Special needs trust may be created by a third party (such as a parent or grandparent) or by the disabled person (usually through a legal representative), and the permissible distribution terms for each will vary significantly. We are well versed in special needs planning and can assist in designing the best plan to fit your needs.
Guardianships and Conservatorships. Guardianships and conservatorships are often a component of elder law planning – but should be considered a last resort where other planning has not been properly done. A guardian is a person appointed by the court to manage the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, while a conservator is an individual appointed to manage financial affairs for the person adjudged to be incapacitated. The guardian / conservator the court appoints would decide make decisions for you — often without having knowledge of your preferences. And, the guardian may be someone you wouldn’t personally have chosen to make decisions for you. Through proper disability planning, you can make these decisions for yourself ahead of time. We can advise you if a guardian or conservator is appropriate and assist in every aspect of the process.
Our services range from an office consultation on the available options under Medicaid asset transfer rules to actively working with you to develop optional strategies for preserving assets and income while establishing or maintaining eligibility for applicable government benefits.
Here are some of the services we provide:
Financial Power of Attorney
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
Medicare and Social Security Advice
Third Party Special Needs Trusts
Self Settled Special Needs Trust
ATHENS AREA: 1671 Meriweather Drive, Suite 103, Watkinsville, GA 30677