At Sheryll Law, PC, we often receive questions from clients about the practice of elder law, what it includes, and why it is essential to their peace of mind as they transition into their Golden Years. We have created this list of frequently asked questions and answers as a resource for potential and current clients.
What Is Elder Law?
While elder law involves the needs of older individuals, elder law attorneys frequently work with the family members and friends of the aging population to keep them informed about their clients’ needs.
Why Is Elder Law Important?
Elder law helps older individuals prevent stressful circumstances that sometimes come with processes like accepting Medicaid and entering a long-term care facility. With the assistance of a professional elder law attorney, older individuals can avoid:
- Giving up their life savings to the government
- Sacrificing their hard-earned money to pay for long-term care
- Changing their financial situations to qualify for Medicaid
- Burdening loved ones with financial needs
- Placing financial stress on the family
- Giving financial control to the wrong person
Altogether, elder law can help aging individuals maintain their quality of life and ensure their wishes are met after they cannot vocalize them.
What Is a Guardian?
A guardian is a person or entity, legally responsible for another person’s property after that person can no longer manage the property themself. The probate court appoints guardians to direct the financial and legal affairs of aging adults experiencing mental incapacity. Guardians must act in the best interest of the ward.
The exact powers a guardian holds can vary depending on the specific guardianship relationship.
What Are the Different Types of Guardians?
The New York court recognizes four types of guardianship relationships:
- Guardian of the person: Can make decisions about health care, welfare, and education for the ward
- Guardian of the property: Can make financial decisions for the ward and must submit an annual report about the property
- Guardian of the person and property: Can make life decisions and financial decisions for the ward
- Guardian ad litem: Can act on the ward’s behalf during a court case
What Is Long-Term Care Planning?
Long-term care planning is financially preparing for the potential transition to an assisted living facility, nursing home, or long-term care facility. This process is an essential aspect of estate planning and can ensure that an older adult:
- Can access public benefits without sacrificing assets
- Does not need to place the burden of caregiving on loved ones
- Has peace of mind as they age
- Has the financial resources necessary to pay for long-term care
What Do Advance Directives Do?
Advance directives allow individuals to dictate their wishes for their finances, property, and medical treatment once they cannot make decisions themselves. These documents can include a range of information, such as:
- Medical treatment preferences
- Power of attorney appointments
- Healthcare proxy appointments
Advance directives ensure that an older individual’s wants and needs are fulfilled as they approach the end of life.
What Is Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning is the process of structuring one’s financial assets to improve Medicaid eligibility while protecting existing wealth.
Older adults must meet several eligibility requirements, including financial criteria, to receive Medicaid benefits for long-term care and other expenses. If an individual does not meet these requirements, they can use financial tools like irrevocable trusts to distribute financial assets to family members, improve eligibility, and maintain their wealth.
The best time to begin New York Medicaid planning is several years before an individual requires Medicaid assistance.
How Can Elder Law Attorneys Assist Older Adults?
Appointing a guardian, planning for long-term care needs, meeting Medicaid eligibility requirements, and preserving one’s wealth through old age are all steps that involve legal processes and documentation. Failing to complete the correct steps in these processes can void documentation and prevent individuals from fulfilling their wishes as they age. As a result, hiring an elder law attorney is essential to fulfilling the necessary steps to prepare for old age.
About Jay P. Sheryll, Esq.
Jay and his team help their clients leave a legacy and achieve the peace of mind of knowing they can protect their families if something happens to them. Sheryll Law, P.C., understands that their clients have worked hard to build their legacy. It is their pleasure to help them leave their money to their loved ones according to their wishes. Having observed other firms haphazardly draft wills and throw together some powers-of-attorney without any thought to the planning aspect, Jay realized he could fulfill a need for East End Long Island clients.
Contact Sheryll Law, P.C. on the East End of Long Island to Work with An Experienced Elder Law Attorney
Sheryll Law, P.C., serves clients on the East End of Long Island with their elder law needs. Our experienced elder law attorneys work diligently to establish a proper plan that addresses each client’s specific circumstances. Our firm provides knowledgeable, comprehensive elder law services, utilizing our many years of experience in helping clients protect their assets and ensure the fulfillment of their wishes when they can no longer dictate them.
For more information about how to protect your assets from the government, click here to download our guide!
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