If you want to be comprehensively prepared for the future you should understand the facts. When you consult with an elder law attorney, your lawyer will provide you with insight and answer your questions.
Let’s look at some of the questions that you should ask your elder law attorney.
1.) What is the most important elder law issue?
The most pressing elder law issue of our day is that of long-term care and the expenses that go along with it. Most senior citizens will eventually need help with their activities of daily living. This type of care is called custodial care. It is the type of care that you would receive in a nursing home or assisted living community.
Medicare will not pay for long-term care, and it is very expensive. This presents a challenge for many senior citizens.
2.) Why is Medicaid relevant to me?
This is a very good question. Though Medicare will not pay for long-term care, Medicaid will assist with these expenses if you can qualify. This is why Medicaid may be relevant to you even if you are going to be qualified for Medicare.
You may be surprised to hear that most of the long-term care that is received by seniors in the United States is being paid for by the Medicaid program.
3.) Isn’t Medicaid only for the poor?
Medicaid is in fact a need-based program. You cannot qualify if you are in personal possession of a significant store of financial resources.
However, it is possible to divest yourself of resources in advance of applying for the Medicaid program.
4.) Can I just give away my assets today and qualify for Medicaid tomorrow?
No, this is not possible because there is a five year look back. If you give away assets within five years of applying for Medicaid you are penalized, and your eligibility is delayed.
5.) Aside from long-term care, what other elder law issues should I be aware of?
Elder financial abuse is something to take quite seriously when you are looking ahead toward the future. Billions of dollars are lost each year to instances of elder financial abuse.
There are scam artists, identity thieves and the like who prey on seniors that they do not know. This is certainly part of the problem.
In addition to these predatory abusers there are also those who commit what are called “crimes of opportunity.” Seniors often need assistance. Those who are providing assistance sometimes take advantage of this access. They steal from elders simply because they can.
There are legal steps that you can take to mitigate your exposure to elder financial abuse. This is something that you would want to discuss in detail with your elder law attorney.