Granddaughter looking at a computer

The Role of an Elder Law Attorney in Long-Term Care Planning

One of the most memorable clients to ever walk through our doors told us she had lived her whole life as the main character of her story. And she made it clear that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. 

We were thrilled to accept when she offered us — and we quote — “the role of lifetime” as her estate planning attorneys. Now the phrase “role of a lifetime” is a phrase that’s been bandied about so much by actors and actresses hyping their latest projects on the late night tv circuit that it has become cliche. But it implies something rare, something important, something life-changing. 

And working for that client was all those things. Her estate plan was straightforward, with nothing too out of the ordinary in it. But her attitude toward long-term care and end of life planning was eye-opening. 

She made us embrace the fact that as elder law attorneys our job is that of stage manager. Everything we do simply ensures our client remains the star of the show until the curtain drops. 

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do? 

In Mississippi, where a significant portion of the population is 65 and older, ensuring the well-being and financial security of seniors is critically important. 

Elder law attorneys are trained to address the unique legal issues that arise as you age. We work with you to ensure you will be well cared for until your final days. 

Most Mississippi Seniors Will Need Some Form of Long-Term Care

70% of adults over the age of 65 will likely spend some time in a nursing home or need some other form of long-term care in their lifetime. As the cost of this care rises, Mississippi families are being forced into difficult situations. Some must choose between going bankrupt or going without health care. 

The best way to address this problem is head-on. Which is why Palmer & Slay urges you to begin thinking about your plans for long-term care well before you need it. 

Paying for Nursing Home Stays and Other Long-Term Care Out-Of-Pocket

If you intend to pay for your long-term care out of pocket, Palmer & Slay’s experienced team of estate planning professionals can help you arrange your assets so you have the liquidity necessary to do so. 

We can work with you to set up trusts, annuities, reverse mortgages, and other funding mechanisms that give you the cash you need to pay for nursing home care outright or cover the cost of long-term care insurance premiums.

Medicaid Planning

Most seniors are familiar with Medicare and the assistance it provides, but few realize it does not cover the cost of long-term care. The program may pay for a couple days in a rehab facility if you have suffered an accident or injury, but it will not pay for much more than that. 

Medicaid, however, will pay for long-term care. In fact, the tax-payer-funded program is now the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America.

The Palmer & Slay team can help you rearrange your finances so you can qualify for Medicaid and have your long-term care paid for. This involves planning around an ever-changing web of rules governing look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods. 

We will advise you of ways you can legally preserve some wealth to pass on to your loved ones, and prevent your family from being hounded by Mississippi’s Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) after your death. MERP is notorious for forcing families to sell off family homes and other assets to recoup the money it previously paid out. 

With proper planning involving the use of trusts and other legal tools, many assets can be protected or passed down to the next generation without impacting your Medicaid eligibility.

Estate Planning for Incapacity

Estate planning is another critical component of long-term care planning. Palmer & Slay’s experienced team of elder law attorneys help seniors in the Brandon, Mississippi area and beyond create comprehensive estate plans that include health care directives and power of attorney documents. These documents ensure your wishes are carried out and provide a roadmap for managing your affairs in the event of incapacity.

If someone is suddenly incapacitated, and has not executed a power of attorney document, our team can help their loved ones seek a guardianship or conservatorship over them. Guardianships and conservatorships are legal arrangements that place an individual, also known as a ward, under the legal supervision of another person, known as a guardian or conservator. Guardians are tasked with taking care of the physical and emotional needs of their wards. Conservators provide assistance with financial matters. 

Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones. 

Living out the rest of your days on your own terms, and remaining the star of the show is something every Mississippi resident deserves. The experienced elder law attorneys at Palmer & Slay PLLC are ready to help you craft a long-term care plan that encapsulates your goals and ensures you will be well taken care of in your final act. Please contact us today to set up a meeting.