Seniors face complex legal concerns that are often different from what they faced when they were younger. Actions taken may have unintended legal effects. As a senior or someone who’s helping make decisions for a senior, it’s important that you work with an attorney who focus on Elder Law. Elder Law encompasses many different fields of law. I can assist you or your loved one in the following ways: *Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home; *Medicaid Planning and Medicaid Crisis Planning; *Veterans Benefits - Aid and Attendance; *Conservatorships and guardianships; *Long-term care placements in nursing home and life care communities; *Nursing home issues; and elder law abuse and fraud.
    I can assist you with the planning of your estate during life and it's disposition on your passing through the use of trusts, wills, and other planning documents. In Wills, families can appoint guardians of their minor children in case the unexpected happens. Families may have non-traditional or blended and they may need special attention. Sometimes seniors are "orphaned", which means that they do not have a spouse or children and they need help developing possible agents to make medical or financial decisions. I encourage you to schedule an appointment to meet me and find out how I can help you.
    If you have a Will, your family may have probate. Probate is a Court process to distribute your assets that pass under your Will. I can assist them with the following areas: Petitioning the Court to appoint a Personal Representative, Obtaining appraisals of "stuff" and your home, Connecting them with real estate agents and accountants, Filing an inventory and accounting, and Distributing assets to who you want. If you created a Revocable Trust, your assets should be distributed according to the Trust; however, families may need assistance with trust administration.
    I assist parents or loved ones to create a trust during their life or at their passing for a beneficiary who has special needs. The Trustee manages the assets in the trust and makes distributions to the special needs beneficiary. If the beneficiary is receiving certain government benefits, such as, SSI and/or Medicaid, the Trustee must carefully distribute these trust assets so the beneficiary does not get penalized by the government program or the beneficiary's benefits are not terminated.
    How much money did you spend on your loved one last year? I am not talking about children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, I am talking about your pet. I love animals, especially dogs. Could your friend or neighbor get your pet medical treatment if you were in the hospital? Many people consider their pets part of their family, so if something happens, they want their pets taken care of. I discuss with clients who will care for their pets in an emergency, in case of disability, and at their death. Many people decide to leave money to the person who is going to care for their pets. The money is designated to be used for the animals' food, medicine, veterinary visits, etc. If you have a horse you really need to consider a Pet Trust because these expenses are different than your usual household pet and generally is a significant amount of money over a few years. Let me help you plan for "(wo)man's best friend" - your pet.
    Confused about Medicaid? You are not alone! This area of law is intricate and can sometimes feel does not need to be. Much of the public's knowledge is misguided. Clients have told me stories about how Medicaid has worked for family members in Connecticut, New York, California, (or fill-in the blank). Since Medicaid is a Federal and State program, the rules in those states do not matter if your loved one lives in Maryland. If a person resides in Maryland and needs Medicaid, Maryland's state rules apply. The cost of a nursing home can wipe out a family's savings and plans to leave an inheritance for their children. Pick up the telephone and call me now at 301-251-1180 ext. 310 to discuss options to pay for long term care. The sooner you call the more options we will have. Some techniques that I have used with clients are Irrevocable Trusts, Gift and Return, and Medicaid Complaint Annuities. If your loved one is already in a nursing home, we still may be able to protect some of his or her assets but call now and do not delay.