Seniors and the families who love them have unique needs and face new issues that require thoughtfully tailored legal, financial, and practical solutions. While we may expect our golden years to provide enjoyment after a lifetime of hard work, they can also require us to seek additional care and resources for our health and well-being.
The costs of such care can be astronomical, and even seniors who carefully saved for retirement can quickly find themselves in dire financial straits. When that happens, the stress and burdens of securing needed care can engulf families who desperately want to help their older loved ones but may not be positioned to do so.
At Kreis Enderle, our Elder Law attorneys focus their efforts on maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for seniors while protecting and preserving their assets.
We work closely with our clients to develop and implement strategies designed to ensure they have the needed resources to be healthy, happy, and secure as they grow older. These resources mean more than just financial reserves; they can include government benefits and the documents and plans that put trusted loved ones or others in a position to assist an older loved one if they can no longer do so for themselves. With respect, empathy, and an innate understanding of how their efforts can improve the lives of our clients, Kreis Enderle’s Elder Law attorneys serve as trusted advisors and steadfast allies for older individuals and their families throughout Michigan.
We assist clients with a wide range of elder law matters such as:
- Medicaid Pre-Planning
- Medicaid Applications
- Long-Term Care Crisis Planning
- Veterans Benefits
- Guardianships and Conservatorships
- Advance Health Care Directives (Medical Powers of Attorney)
- Nursing Home and Assisted Living Contracts and Care
- Financial Planning
- Durable Powers of Attorney
- Care Contracts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Lady Bird Deeds
- Elder Abuse
- End of Life Planning
Elder Law FAQs:
What Is “Medicaid Planning”?
There is a good chance that you or your spouse will need long-term care at some point, whether in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, or through a full-time in-home caregiver. Contrary to what many people believe, Medicare will not cover long-term care costs after a relatively short period. Given the astronomical costs of long-term care, it is also likely that you won’t have sufficient assets to pay for such care yourself, and you would undoubtedly rather use those assets for other purposes or preserve them so you can pass them down to your children. That is where Medicaid planning comes in.
The Medicaid program provides medical assistance and care for low-income individuals, and eligibility is based on your available assets. That is why you may think you don’t qualify for Medicaid, and perhaps you don’t – right now. Medicaid planning involves structuring your finances so that you can exclude them from the calculations involved in determining Medicaid eligibility and preserve those assets for yourself and your heirs.
The rules and regulations involved in preserving and protecting your assets to qualify you for Medicaid benefits are complex and detailed. If you run afoul of these rules, it can cause big and costly headaches. Kreis Ederle’s Elder Law attorneys can navigate these rules and get you the benefits you need for long-term care so you can keep your hard-earned assets.
What Is a Guardianship?
Difficult as it may be to face, illness, injury, or other health issues may put us in a position where we can no longer care for ourselves or make decisions about our health or financial affairs. A guardianship is a mechanism through which a judge designates an individual to handle the care and custody of another if they become incapacitated and unable to handle essential matters on their own. The process begins when a family member, friend, or other interested person asks a judge to grant someone else the legal authority to make decisions and act on the person’s behalf.
What Is a Conservatorship?
Like a guardianship, a conservatorship is a process through which a judge puts a trusted individual in charge of an incapacitated individual’s assets and financial affairs. The conservatorship process is often started by the guardian of an incapacitated person or another family member, friend, or interested person. Once a judge orders a conservatorship, that person or entity will have legal authority over the incapacitated individual’s finances.
What Are Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives, and Why Are They So Important?
Guardianship and conservatorship processes can be lengthy, costly, and contentious. And an appointed guardian or conservator, often a family member, faces the difficult and painful predicament of determining what decisions you would make and actions you would take if you were not incapacitated.
With an advance healthcare directive, you make clear the care you want – or don’t want – in the event of your incapacity, and you appoint one trusted individual to ensure those wishes are followed.
Similarly, implementing a Financial Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney allows you to appoint the person to handle your healthcare and financial matters rather than leaving that decision to a judge. Preparing these documents today can spare your family from substantial stress, conflict, and expense tomorrow.
What Is a Lady Bird Deed?
A Lady Bird Deed, also called an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, is a legal tool that allows someone to transfer real estate to another person, retain a life estate with full control, and keep the property out of the expensive and time-consuming probate process when the property owner passes away. A Lady Bird Deed names someone or an entity such as a trust as a beneficiary (or remainder-person) of the property. When the owner dies, the property automatically becomes the property of the beneficiary. A Lady Bird Deed does not limit the property owner’s rights while they are alive because the owner retains full control of the property during their lifetime.