Jun 05, 2014
By Rick Law, Senior Partner, Law Elder Law LLP
The distinctive benefit of elder law estate planning compared with traditional death-tax-centered estate planning is this: elder law estate planning deals with the biggest threat to seniors’ wealth and healthcare while they are still alive.
This threat is staggeringly expensive, unreimbursed medical expenses. Every day at our firm we are seeing the unraveling of more and more governmental-benefit medical coverage for seniors—not just nursing home Medicaid, but also Medicare. Every month, the clients and their families who come to see us keep us quite aware of the sheer, raw reality of this ever-widening gap between medical costs and payment of medical benefits.
At the same time, attorneys are our number one referral source. We are very grateful that lawyers refer their clients, friends, and family members who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other long-term care diagnoses to us for help.
As soon as you learn that a senior who you care about has received a long-term care diagnosis, it is time to call us for your free initial consultation. The sooner that families come to see us, the sooner we can get to work helping them find better solutions. These days, many long-term diseases have multiple-year trajectories, and the sooner we see clients, the better we can do for them in the areas of asset protection and healthcare. Unfortunately, many people continue to be in denial of their diagnoses and don’t call us even when there is “smoke in the kitchen.”
We constantly try to remind seniors that the State of Illinois is becoming less and less reliable for long-term care coverage. Ever since 2012 the State of Illinois has created obstacles and barriers that stand between seniors and qualification for nursing home Medicaid benefits. In fact, without professional elder law guidance, many frugal, hard-working seniors wind up being reduced to having a mere $30 per month as their sole spending money for personal needs; all of their monthly income above $30 is allocated to nursing home care. On top of that, by the time an unmarried or widowed senior qualifies for nursing home Medicaid, he or she will need to have depleted all assets down to no more than $2,000. Two thousand dollars doesn’t go very far when that senior needs to replace lost hearing aids or get new dentures.
There is no one alive who wants to wind up old, frail, out of money, and out of options. Elder law estate planning is designed to help families to work together to preserve dignity and options for their elderly loved ones.
So when the specter of long-term illness raises its ugly head towards seniors you care about, call us at 800-310-3100 or 630-585-5200 to find out what we might be able to do for them. We welcome your questions!
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 3 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He is co-author of “Alzheimer’s and The Law”, published by the American Bar Association, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law