New Castle Elder Law Attorney

Making plans for the future is vital when you approach retirement age. You deserve to feel confident that you’re financially prepared to cover any long-term care expenses you may need. You also should be able to rest assured that you have made arrangements for the inheritances you want to leave behind and your loved ones understand your final wishes. These crucial life decisions can be addressed through elder law planning.

The New Castle, NY, elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can develop a customized strategy to ensure you and your family members enjoy peace of mind in the future. Evaluating your personal situation and using effective legal tools to accomplish your goals is the cornerstone of what we do.

With nearly 60 years of combined legal experience, our dedicated lawyers will coordinate with you and make plans that align with your goals. Contact us today for more information.

What is Elder Law?

An elder law attorney assists clients in addressing critical issues that are particularly relevant to older people. For example, you may need public assistance to help afford your future healthcare needs.  An elder law lawyer can help you prepare financially to meet New York’s eligibility requirements for Medicaid. Elder law attorneys also work to clarify your end-of-life wishes so families aren’t left wondering what to do if you lose mental capacity. They can focus on protecting your assets so you have the resources you need as you age.

Elder law is not the same thing as estate planning. While estate planning primarily focuses on what happens after you die, elder law involves planning for your later years so you can live comfortably and access the care you may need. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we incorporate elder law into our comprehensive estate planning service so you get a plan that covers all contingencies.

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

An elder law attorney tailors their services to exclusively meet their clients’ needs, available resources, and family dynamics. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we can assist with all aspects of elder law planning, including:

  • Estate planning
  • Financial planning
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Asset protection
  • Long-term care planning
  • Public benefits
  • Advance directives, like powers of attorney and health care proxies
  • Surrogate decision-making
  • Asset protection
  • Probate avoidance
  • Guardianship

You don’t need to be elderly or at retirement age to work with a New Castle elder law attorney. On the contrary, it’s wise to consult with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Doing so gives you more time to develop a comprehensive plan for your future.

In addition, cognition can decline with age, impacting on your ability to make informed decisions about these matters reliably. It’s best to speak to an elder law lawyer early to communicate your wishes and exercise control over the process.

Ideally, you might enlist the help of an elder law attorney before you or a loved one needs long-term care. However, crises do arise. Our law firm offers crisis planning services to develop plans that ensure families are prepared if an emergency results in the sudden need to pay for expensive long-term care.

How Can Elder Law Preserve My Assets?

Elder law planning works along with the other provisions of a comprehensive estate plan by preserving your assets while you are still alive. Essential components of your estate plan, such as trusts, a will, tax planning, structured gifting, and durable powers of attorney can protect your assets from potential hazards if you become incapacitated or die.

Can I Avoid Probate Through Elder Law Planning?

The probate process can be very time-consuming in New York. Avoiding probate can allow your beneficiaries to receive their inheritances more quickly and easily than they otherwise might. An elder law attorney can help you avoid probate by establishing trusts. With a trust, your beneficiaries can access their assets directly without going through the entire probate process.

Should I Consider Long-Term Care Expenses Now?

Yes. Considering long-term care expenses now prevents you from scrambling to pay for long-term care at the last minute. This proactive step provides immeasurable peace of mind to families.

Preparing for long-term care expenses may involve:

  • Carefully considering what your long-term care needs may be
  • Exploring long-term care options to estimate how much money you may need
  • Evaluating your current financial situation
  • Creating a financial plan to save for the cost of your long-term needs throughout your lifetime

You may want to purchase long-term care insurance, which can assist with the cost of long-term care, nursing home expenses, and related costs. However, it’s not an option for everyone. The cost of a policy can be high, and people with pre-existing conditions may not qualify. An elder law attorney can provide insight about how a policy might fit into your comprehensive estate plan.

Why is Medicaid Planning Important?

Many people turn to Medicaid to help cover the cost of at least some of their long-term needs as they age. However, you may not qualify for Medicaid if you have substantial assets.

You may assume that you can transfer assets to a loved one, allowing you to meet the criteria necessary to qualify for either home care or nursing home Medicaid. That’s not necessarily the case. Nursing home Medicaid employs a five (5) year “lookback” rule to see if you made non-exempt transfers of assets. This means the government may review your finances from the five years before the date you submitted your application to see if you transferred a large volume of non-exempt assets during that time. This could trigger a penalty period of ineligibility, during which you would need to pay for nursing home care yourself.

New York currently does not use a lookback period for home care Medicaid, but the law provides for a thirty (30) month lookback period to begin in New York on March 31, 2024, unless that law is revised or repealed.

What Does it Take to Qualify for Medicaid in New York?

For people ages 65 and older, there are Medicaid income tests to determine eligibility. To qualify for Medicaid, people over 65 must demonstrate that their income and assets do not exceed a specific level set by the program. Those criteria change every year to account for inflation and other economic factors. An elder law attorney can provide options to help you qualify for benefits based on current laws and adjust them if the laws change.

How Can a New Castle, NY, Elder Law Attorney Help Me?

An elder law attorney may assist you by:

  • Taking the time to understand your long-term goals and plans
  • Explaining your long-term care options
  • Reviewing how certain estate planning considerations affect taxes
  • Using strategies to help you qualify for Medicaid or related government assistance
  • Drafting a thorough will
  • Creating trusts
  • Helping you with advance directives such as a power of attorney and health care proxy
  • Discussing beneficiary designations
  • Making provisions for dependents, such as those with special needs or addiction issues
  • Facilitating discussions with family members about your wishes

Life changes, and so may your personal situation. For example, if you get a divorce, you may need to update your will and beneficiary designations so that assets no longer go to your spouse upon your death. An elder law attorney can keep your plan current to align with your goals.

The Amoruso & Amoruso LLP Difference

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, our elder law attorneys have the resources and knowledge to help every client develop a comprehensive plan that accounts for their needs. Our firm’s attorneys have received numerous accolades for our dedication to the profession.

Managing partner Michael J. Amoruso is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and past chair of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. He has been named on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Lawyers in America for Elder Law annually since 2014. Best Lawyers in America also honored Michael J. Amoruso as a 2023 Lawyer of the Year for Elder Law and Trusts and Estates. In 2009, he earned a U.S. Congressional Proclamation for his work in Elder Law and Special Needs Law.

Partner Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section. Super Lawyers Magazine named her a New York Metro Super Lawyer for Elder Law three years in a row. She is fluent in French, Spanish, and Bengali.

Contact an Experienced New Castle, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

Facing the challenges that naturally come with aging can be an overwhelming experience. However, you don’t have to do it alone.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, a New Castle, NY elder law attorney can help you plan for the future to protect your best interests and those of your loved ones. Call or contact us today to speak with an experienced and compassionate lawyer.