Mississippi seniors face a unique set of concerns when it comes to aging. Healthcare and nursing home costs are on the rise. Even those who save diligently for retirement may struggle to pay for home health or nursing home costs should they become necessary. One of the best ways to ensure your financial security during retirement is to consult with a Mississippi elder law attorney.
Elder law firms help senior adults, and their loved ones face the myriad of legal and financial challenges that come with aging. Your elder law attorney will protect their assets, and help you qualify for Medicaid and other public benefits, and prepare for unexpected incapacity. Do you or your loved one need legal guidance when it comes to planning for aging and retirement? If so, contact one of the elder law attorneys at Palmer & Slay, PLLC.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder law is a specific type of estate planning focused on protecting you as you age. When families face challenges that come with aging, it can be difficult to know how to move forward. Dealing with incapacity is often emotionally draining, financially challenging, and overwhelming. You and your elderly loved one may be feeling concerned about how you’ll pay for nursing home care or in-home care. Another important aspect of elder law involves planning for incapacity due to a medical illness or emergency.
How an Elder Law Firm Can Help You
Perhaps you already have an estate plan in place, or you’re not currently suffering from any medical issues. You may be wondering how an elder law attorney can help you. Elder law attorneys help you plan for the future so you can protect your assets in the future. Many Americans will require nursing home care or in-home medical services. Elder law attorneys can help you become eligible for Medicaid health care and help you with the following:
- Qualifying for Medicaid coverage
- Social Security benefits claims and appeals
- Creating a durable power of attorney
- Creating a healthcare power of attorney
- Creating a living will
- Conservatorships and guardianships
- Trust-based estate planning
- Nursing home patients’ rights
- Administration of estates and trusts
- Elder abuse cases
- Age discrimination in employment
- Health law
- Retirement benefits
As nursing home costs continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to discuss your future with an elder law attorney. The average cost to live in a nursing home in Mississippi is over $80,000 per year, putting a significant financial strain on you and your loved ones. Medicare does not pay for long-term stays in nursing homes. Medicaid is the only government benefit program that provides long-term care benefits. Unfortunately, qualifying for Medicaid benefits can be a complicated and difficult process. Medicaid imposes strict income and resource limits on applicants. Many people make too much money or own too many assets to qualify for Medicaid.
Sometimes our clients assume that they’ll give their assets to their children and loved ones to qualify for Medicaid when they need nursing home care. However, Medicaid has a five-year look-back during which they will count asset transfers and gifts against applicants. One of our elder law attorneys can help you spend down your assets for the purpose of becoming eligible for Medicaid.
There are many different strategies, depending on the client’s situation, and one of the most common involves creating a Medicaid asset protection trust (MAPT) to hold assets through the look-back period and beyond. A MAPT is a type of irrevocable trust that will protect your assets after the five-year look-back period. The assets that you transfer into the trust will not count towards your income or resource limit after the lookback period has expired. This strategy is most helpful when done far enough in advance to eliminate concerns about not making it through the look-back period. Navigating the Medicaid process is complex and we will find the strategy that best suits your individual circumstances.
When you meet with one of our elder law attorneys, we will carefully review your financial situation and decide which strategy or strategies will work best for you. Whatever your goal, speaking to an elder law attorney is crucial. The more time you have to plan, the better.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
One of the most important aspects of elder law is to protect yourself should you become seriously ill or incapacitated. None of us likes to consider what would happen if we are unable to make our own decisions. However, planning for incapacity helps you and your loved ones make sure your preferences are followed in a medical emergency.
We can help you create a healthcare power of attorney, a legal document that states what type of medical care you would like to receive or not receive should you become incapacitated. In your health care power of attorney, you can appoint a healthcare agent who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. The absence of this document often contributes to the need to resort to the court process to help manage a love one’s healthcare.
Guardianship or Conservatorship
Do you have a loved one who has become disabled, incapacitated, seriously ill, or unable to make informed decisions about their daily life? If so, you may be considering how you can help them make decisions and stay healthy. You can petition the court to become your loved one’s guardian or conservator. When you become a guardian or conservator, you will have the legal authority to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf. Our elder law attorneys can help you petition the court for a conservatorship or guardianship and represent you in the court proceedings if there are no other less restrictive methods of providing assistance.
Contact a Mississippi Elder Law Attorney Today
Consulting with an elder law attorney can help you protect yourself physically and financially as you age. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, our elder law attorneys can help you plan for end-of-life medical care decisions. We can also help you protect your assets while still qualifying for significant nursing home benefits through Medicaid. The sooner you speak to an elder law attorney, the better. The best time to prepare for the future is now. Contact our Elder Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation.