by Kelli Y. Allen, Elder Law Attorney
Estate planning attorneys are typically focused on after-life issues: i.e. how you want to have your property distributed after death, the ease of the process for your loved-ones, inheritance taxes, business continuation, etc. Basically, estate planning attorneys answer the question, “What happens to my property if I die?”
As elder law attorneys, we also address those issues, but start from the perspective of maximizing all of your financial and healthcare options during your lifetime. The question we’re focused on is, “What happens to your property if you live?” Rather than focusing on the mechanics of property distribution, elder law attorneys look toward the ease of transitions.
We help our clients think through possible financial and healthcare scenarios, anticipate possible issues, and create a plan to proactively address both lifetime and after-death concerns. This might include considering such questions as:
- If you become ill or incapacitated, who will manage your finances and make healthcare decisions on your behalf?
- If you have an incapacitating illness, who do you want to have access to your assets during your lifetime?
- If you need expensive medical care, perhaps in a long-term care facility, how will that care be paid for?
- What steps can you take proactively to protect assets in case you need long-term care Medicaid?
- If you or a family member is in immediate need of skilled nursing care, how can you protect some assets and qualify for Medicaid rather than first spending all your resources on care?
- If any of your beneficiaries are receiving disability, Medicaid, or other income/asset-based government assistance, what can you do to keep him/her from being negatively impacted at the time they inherit property from you?
- How can you make things easier on family members and promote family harmony both during an incapacitating illness and after death?
- How can you help preserve family unity by making explicit, detailed plans?
- If you expect tension, disagreements, or possible family challenges to your decisions, how can you best address and guard against these issues?
Regardless of the size of your estate, the size of your family, and the intricacies of your family dynamics, these are all issues that need to be addressed. Our goal is to work with families to think through all options and eventualities and assist our clients with achieving each of their objectives.
This could include:
- Drafting a Durable Power of Attorney
- Drafting a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive
- Creation, Design and Funding of a Living (Revocable) Trust and Companion Will
- Creation, Design and Funding of an Irrevocable Trust (Medicaid Asset Protection Trust)
- Drafting a Last Will and Testament with Supplemental Needs Trust Provisions
- Medicaid Asset Analysis
- Proactive Long-term Care Planning
- Medicaid Crisis Planning & Asset Protection
- Assistance with Skilled Nursing Facility Placement
- Preparing NC Medicaid Applications