Elder Law Attorney in Carmel, New York

Aging comes with many considerations, from estate planning and asset protection to options for long-term care. It’s never too early to plan for potential healthcare challenges and create solutions for financial security in your golden years. A Carmel, NY, elder law lawyer can help you build sustainable solutions personalized for your care, financial situation, and family.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, our legal team can guide you through every step of the process. Whether creating a comprehensive estate plan or reviewing your existing one, we can help map out your wishes so you can enjoy your senior years without worry. Contact us today to talk with an experienced Carmel elder law attorney.

Why Is Elder Law Important?

Elder law is essential because everyone faces challenges as we age. Additionally, older individuals face specific legal and financial concerns related to aging and long-term care.

Age can lessen our ability to:

  • Make crucial decisions about our health, where we receive our care, and protection of our assets
  • Specify our end-of-life wishes or whether we age at home or in a facility
  • Identify scams and deceptive misinformation
  • Leave a legacy for future generations

Elder law allows individuals to personalize their estate plans to address their needs ahead of time, leaving them more confident in their ability to provide for their future long-term care expenses.

With elder law, you can:

  • Solidify your preferred long-term care plan
  • Structure your assets so you can qualify for Medicaid without putting them at risk
  • Outline your wishes and desires for your health, finances, and property
  • Protect yourself against elder abuse, financial abuse, and mistreatment
  • Designate beneficiaries so your assets pass to the people and causes you care about
  • Make arrangements for vulnerable dependents through special needs trusts and other legal tools

Preparedness is a cornerstone of elder law, as it reduces future stress and anxiety by creating tangible solutions to implement when needed. Preparing for the potential difficulties of aging allows people to consider their financial requirements, goals, and desires without added pressures that can cloud judgment.

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

Elder law covers multiple practice areas designed to protect the interests of senior citizens and their financial resources and enable them to provide for their long-term care needs.

An elder law attorney can handle:

  • Estate planning – Creating wills, trusts, or other long-term plans for your assets
  • Asset protection – Preserving your home, investments, cash, and other assets for your needs and for loved ones
  • Tax planning – Using legal strategies to reduce tax burdens to preserve your estate for your own use and for your heirs after you die
  • Long-term care plans – Making advance choices about your future health care and ensuring that your estate plan fits those goals
  • Crisis planning – Protecting your income and assets quickly in an unforeseen long-term care crisis (i.e., stroke, dementia) to maximize asset protection in the event that you did no prior planning

Is Elder Law Only for Seniors?

No. Elder law is for anyone looking to be proactive and thoughtful about their future affairs. Older individuals may have targeted concerns related to retirement and long-term care, but it’s wise to make plans now and adjust them over time as your needs change.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we focus on building long-term relationships with our clients by developing a comprehensive estate plan that grows with them. The earlier you start preparing, the greater the likelihood of saving money and ensuring access to the care you want.

How Does Elder Law Provide Asset Protection?

Elder law protects assets by employing various legal tools so individuals don’t deplete their hard-earned wealth for medical and long-term care. There are several ways to protect assets and extend their usefulness. The elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can create:

  • Comprehensive estate plans – Our signature service is comprehensive estate planning, a holistic model incorporating elder law into an overall plan that addresses matters such as asset distribution, tax planning, finances, home care, nursing home care, dependent care, and more. It’s completely customizable and leaves nothing to chance.
  • Trusts – Various trusts can address specific needs, such as irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, and living trusts. Finding the perfect fit allows you to keep your assets safe and maximizes their potential uses and benefits.
  • Advance directives – Advance directives are legal documents such as a health care proxy, a power of attorney, and a disposition of remains. A Health Care Proxy appoints someone you choose to make medical decisions (including end-of-life decisions) for you. A Power of Attorney will allow a trusted family member or friend to handle your financial and/or legal matters. This can be helpful if you face an illness or injury or you lack mental capacity. With life care planning, your family has the guidance and tools necessary to make financial and health care decisions when you cannot do so. 

Can I Avoid Probate Through Elder Law Planning?

Yes. There are a few ways to keep probate from eating into your assets. Common methods include:

  • Trusts – You can put money, property, and vehicles into trusts for successors to inherit without the assets having to pass through probate proceedings.
  • Joint ownership – In New York, for example, two types of ownership allow real property to pass from the deceased to the surviving owner without probate: joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety.
  • Beneficiaries – You could leave money for a successor to inherit by naming them as a beneficiary to a bank account. Assets that pass this way don’t go through probate.

How Can I Prepare for Long-Term Care Expenses?

There are only three ways to pay for long-term care expenses: cash, long-term care insurance, or Medicaid. You could consider long-term care insurance, a type of policy that specifically addresses the needs surrounding long-term care.

Long-term care insurance can cover the costs of:

  • In-home caregivers
  • Nursing home stays
  • Residential care facilities
  • Rehabilitation center stays
  • Physical or occupational therapy

Key factors to consider when buying long-term care policy include:

  • Your age at the time of purchase
  • Cost
  • Maximum daily payout
  • Maximum annual payout (in days)
  • Maximum overall policy payout
  • Additional benefits

Keep in mind that insurers could deny your application if you have a pre-existing condition. It’s wise to consult an elder law lawyer to discuss the pros and cons of long-term care insurance. 

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Many people rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care as they age. However, not everyone can automatically receive it. Your income and assets must fall below a certain threshold to qualify. That’s where Medicaid planning comes in.

Medicaid planning involves using strategic tools like trusts or asset transfers to get your income and assets below the eligibility threshold while protecting them. This may qualify you for nursing home Medicaid or home care Medicaid. The benefits of planning for Medicaid assistance include:

  • Ensuring you have a plan in place for when you need it
  • Reducing the likelihood you’ll be denied crucial benefits when you need them
  • Keeping your assets safe

Not everyone needs Medicaid. A knowledgeable elder law attorney can examine your personal situation to see how it may benefit you. They can also assist with the Medicaid application process.

How Can I Preserve My Wealth and Qualify for Medicaid in New York?

As a nursing home Medicaid applicant, you cannot “give away” your property to qualify for benefits. Medicaid employs a five (5) year “lookback” rule to see if you made non-exempt transfers of assets. The lookback checks whether you have disposed of or transferred away assets without receiving adequate compensation for those assets. The Department of Social Services deems such transfers to have been made solely to qualify for Medicaid benefits. If so, a period of benefit ineligibility will be imposed based on the value of the transfer, which would require you to privately pay for all of your long-term care expenses during that timeframe. It should be noted that while New York currently does not use a lookback period for home care Medicaid, the law provides for a thirty (30) month lookback period to begin in New York on March 31, 2024, unless that law is repealed.

One way to preserve your assets while maintaining your New York state Medicaid eligibility is through a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT). The money, property, and other assets put into a MAPT won’t count toward your Medicaid eligibility. A knowledgeable elder law attorney can provide further guidance about creating a MAPT for you.

What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

Medicare is a federally funded healthcare program for Americans aged 65 years and older. Because Medicare is a federal program, the coverage standards and other program elements are universal. Qualifying Americans across all states will have the same Medicare coverage.

Medicaid is a healthcare program funded by the state and federal government for qualifying individuals who need help covering their medical costs. With Medicaid, states must adhere to specific national requirements and guidelines, but ultimately, each state controls its program. Because program elements like eligibility and benefits differ from state to state, New York residents must be sure to adhere to the state’s Medicaid requirements.

How Can a Carmel Elder Law Attorney Help Me?

An experienced New York elder law attorney can help you:

  • Construct a personalized, comprehensive estate plan for your long-term care
  • Draft your trusts, wills, and other documents needed to effectuate your plan
  • Prepare your advance directives
  • Understand the requirements for Medicaid eligibility
  • Discuss your end-of-life plans with your family
  • Review your financial situation and develop a sustainable plan for the future
  • Discuss guardianship arrangements in case you lose capacity and can no longer care for yourself

If you have specific goals, our elder law attorneys can discuss them with you and implement effective strategies to meet your needs.

Contact an Experienced Carmel, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

The Carmel, NY, elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP are committed to helping you age gracefully by planning carefully. With our help, you can develop a strategic plan that accounts for your needs while you are still alive and after death. Let us give you and your family proactive guidance and peace of mind.

Call or reach out online today for a consultation with one of our trusted elder law lawyers.