elder law attorney in north castle ny

Planning for retirement and long-term care are just two of many decisions you must make as you grow older. When thinking ahead, it’s wise to consider speaking with a North Castle, NY, elder law attorney who understands the complex legal issues senior citizens face. An experienced lawyer can help ensure you take the necessary steps to safeguard your assets and protect your future.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we know that no crystal ball can tell you precisely what the future holds. However, we can use elder law planning to create a sound strategy that considers all potential scenarios. Protecting your assets, financial planning, tax planning, and assessing potential long-term care needs are all part of building a comprehensive estate plan that ages with you.

Ready to learn more? Call or contact us today to discuss your needs with a trusted North Castle, NY, elder law lawyer.

What Is Elder Law?

Elder law addresses the unique circumstances older individuals may encounter in their later years. An elder law attorney may assist a client with such matters as:

  • Estate planning
  • Trusts and wills
  • Long-term care planning
  • Financial planning
  • Advance directives, such as health care proxies and powers of attorney
  • Medicaid planning
  • Guardianship
  • Special needs planning
  • Patient rights

A client may hire an elder law attorney to ensure others carry out their wishes if they become incapacitated or pass away. Elder law attorneys also advise family members on how to connect loved ones with the services they need in old age.

Why Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney in North Castle?

You may hire a North Castle elder law lawyer because you are getting older and have concerns about age-related legal issues. Hiring a lawyer to help you plan for the future could give you greater peace of mind and comfort as you age and your needs change.

While modern medicine allows people to live longer than ever before, that doesn’t mean they remain in perfect health. You don’t have to be elderly or nearing old age to benefit from an elder law attorney’s services. For example, preparing for your golden years while you’re younger allows you to specify your wishes if an emergency, such as a stroke, renders you suddenly incapacitated.

Is Elder Law the Same as Estate Planning?

Elder law services can be part of estate planning. However, elder law encompasses more than traditional estate planning. An attorney offering elder law services must address other issues relevant to seniors, such as retirement planning, housing options that allow seniors to age in place, and how to cover long-term care expenses.

An older adult’s medical needs may change over time. Their cognition can deteriorate, preventing them from making various decisions for themselves. Bad actors may attempt to take advantage of seniors experiencing such declines in the form of elder abuse or financial abuse. Elder law accounts for these possibilities, but estate planning doesn’t necessarily address them.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, elder law is a key component of our comprehensive estate planning service. While traditional estate plans help people prepare for what happens to their property after they die, a comprehensive estate plan incorporating elder law looks at essential issues to consider while you are still alive knowing that you, your family, and your assets are protected from future challenges that may arise as you age.

Can Elder Law Planning Preserve My Assets?

Yes. Your elder law attorney can counsel you on ways to protect your assets and maximize your resources during your lifetime and for your beneficiaries after you die.

For example, one way to protect your assets is to place them in trust. You can set up trusts for a variety of purposes. Some trusts allow you to place assets beyond the reach of creditors. Others can provide income for you while removing assets from your estate. Depending on the circumstances, a trust may also reduce or potentially eliminate your estate tax burden.

Additionally, placing assets in a trust allows them to transfer directly to your beneficiaries upon your death without probate, saving both time and money.

How Can I Prepare for Potential Long-Term Care Expenses?

When preparing for long-term care expenses, consider whether you prefer in-home care or to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home. The option you choose will depend on your finances, your health, and your family relationships. The costs of each option are different and can influence how you plan for the money to cover your expenses.

Some ways you can prepare for long-term care expenses include exploring whether Medicaid planning is appropriate or purchasing long-term care insurance (if advisable). Another element of your preparation is to have a candid conversation with your family. Make sure they know what to expect so there are no surprises or difficult choices for them to make for you in an emergency. An elder law attorney can help facilitate these sensitive discussions.

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid benefits can provide essential assistance to help individuals pay for nursing homes and home caregiving in old age. But not everyone automatically qualifies for assistance. If your assets are too substantial, you may be ineligible for benefits without help from an elder law attorney. An elder law lawyer can employ strategies like trusts and asset transfers to get you below the threshold without exhausting your resources.

Some people mistakenly believe they can give their assets to family members and qualify for Medicaid. Not so. For those seeking nursing home Medicaid in New York, Medicaid uses a five (5) year lookback rule to check if you made non-exempt asset transfers. In other words, New York will scrutinize your financial records over the previous five years. Any transfers or gifts made during those five (5) years could render you ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. During the penalty period, you would have to pay the full cost of nursing home care yourself.

Eligibility requirements for home care Medicaid are not as strict. Currently, New York has no lookback rule for home care Medicaid. However, a thirty (30) month lookback period will begin on March 31, 2024, unless the law is revised or repealed.

How Long Does It Take to Qualify for Medicaid in New York?

It can take months to qualify for Medicaid in New York. Certain factors may impact how long it takes your application to be approved, including:

  • Whether you’re applying for nursing home Medicaid or Medicaid home care
  • Whether New York requests that you supply additional information upon their initial review of your application
  • Whether you need to appeal a denial

Gathering documents and arranging to protect your assets so you meet the qualifications for Medicaid can be time-consuming. Although no one can guarantee you will qualify for Medicaid within a specific timeframe, an elder law attorney can help you efficiently navigate the complicated and confusing process by analyzing and organizing the required documentation, completing and submitting your application with supporting paperwork and handling any necessary appeals.

Do I Need Long-Term Care Insurance?

Possibly, but it depends on your circumstances. 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 a 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.

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

The elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP are proud to provide personalized elder law services to clients in North Castle. What we do will depend on the specifics of your situation, but may include:

  • Comprehensive estate planning
  • Financial management
  • Tax planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Medicaid planning
  • Long-term care planning, including discussion of long-term care insurance
  • Guarding against elder abuse and fraud
  • Veteran’s benefits (if applicable)
  • Planning for children with special needs

Planning for the future as a senior (or as the loved one of a senior) can seem stressful but it doesn’t have to be. By coordinating with a qualified attorney, you’ll know you’ve made thorough, reliable plans.

Contact a Trusted North Castle, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

Don’t wait until a crisis happens to address matters like qualifying for Medicaid or specifying your end-of-life wishes. Handling them right away will optimize your comfort and security now and save your loved ones a lot of heartache later.

The compassionate attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP have over 60 years of combined experience assisting New Yorkers with their elder care needs. Call or contact our North Castle, NY, elder law attorneys today to learn how we can prepare you and your family for whatever the future holds.