Elder Law Attorney putnam county

As we age, preparing for the future becomes more important than ever. This may mean establishing trusts for financial security, applying for public benefits, and granting power of attorney to trusted individuals should you become incapacitated. These crucial decisions can be made through careful elder law and estate planning, but knowing where to start can be challenging.

The Putnam County, NY, elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP have over 60 years of combined experience helping New Yorkers address the complex needs associated with aging. We combine elder law services with comprehensive estate planning to develop a strategy that safeguards your wealth and personal well-being, both now and through the years.

Making long-term decisions doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A Putnam County, NY, elder law attorney from our law firm can assist you every step of the way. Contact us today for an initial case review.

What Is Elder Law? 

Elder law is a broad category of law encompassing various issues you might address as you age. An elder law lawyer may help you make decisions regarding issues like:

  • Future healthcare planning
  • Estate planning
  • Asset protection
  • Surrogate decision-making in the event of incapacity
  • Powers of attorney and health care proxies
  • Applying for public benefits, like Medicaid
  • Guardianship
  • Special needs planning

An elder law attorney can empower you by helping you make critical decisions while you are healthy.  By planning for contingencies before they happen, you ensure your wishes are known and reduce the stress on your loved ones down the road.

Why Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney in Putnam County? 

The potential benefits of working with an elder law attorney are numerous and include:

  • Preserving assets and potentially avoiding probate through the judicious use of trusts
  • Ensuring you’re financially prepared to cover the costs of long-term care
  • Reducing the burden on your family when you grow older and can no longer make important decisions for yourself due to health or capacity issues by creating power of attorney and health care proxy documents naming agents whom you trust
  • Developing a sustainable plan to maximize your comfort and save money in retirement

Modern medicine and caregiving help us live longer than previous generations, which means our retirements are also longer. This is excellent news, but it comes at a cost: the longer we live past the point of retirement, the more we need to think ahead to ensure our continued well-being. An elder law lawyer can help you make necessary legal and financial plans that protect your assets, create viable long term care options and reduce stress on you and your family when you are no longer earning income.

You don’t need to be a senior to get in touch with an elder law attorney and begin discussing future plans. You don’t even need to be approaching retirement age. If you have a loved one in Putnam County who would benefit from speaking with an elder law attorney, consider talking with them about this option. A little encouragement from a family member or friend could get them to take action.

Is Elder Law the Same As Estate Planning?

No. Estate planning is one of many services an elder law attorney may offer, and it is one of many tasks you might have to address as you approach your senior years.

For example, if you’re a senior or close to becoming one, you may need help preserving your assets and qualifying for certain need-based government benefits. Or, you may need help establishing a financial plan to afford the cost of long-term care. An elder law attorney can assist with such tasks. A general estate planning lawyer might not offer that type of help.

Consider meeting with an elder law attorney even if you’ve already spoken with an estate planning lawyer. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we offer comprehensive estate planning services, which combine elder law with generalized estate planning to account for your needs while you are still alive and after you pass away.

Can Elder Law Planning Preserve My Assets?

Yes. Potential ways an elder law attorney may help protect your assets include:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Advance directives such as a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Tax planning
  • Crisis planning

If you already have an estate plan, it may not be up-to-date or include the protections you need as a senior. The Putnam County elder law attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can review your existing plan and make any suggestions for revisions if they are appropriate for your needs and goals.

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

Here are some practical steps you may take to prepare for the cost of long-term care:

  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance.
  • Review your long-term care options, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in-home care and decide which one you prefer.
  • Establish a thorough financial plan that accounts for the potential cost of long-term care.

The right strategy differs for everyone. It’s wise to discuss future healthcare costs with an elder law lawyer to determine what’s reasonable, affordable, and best suited to your circumstances.

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid is a government program that provides insurance for those with limited resources or income. Its coverage can be very important to affording quality elder care. But because Medicaid is need-based, you might not qualify if the value of your assets is too high. This puts many people in a tricky spot: they cannot afford elder care without Medicaid, yet the value of their assets disqualifies them from assistance.

Medicaid planning is a way to solve this problem. It involves making financial decisions in advance to take advantage of Medicaid for your long-term care needs without draining all your assets. Medicaid planning attorneys know how to use several strategies, including spending down assets effectively and establishing trusts, to qualify for nursing home or home care Medicaid .

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. The earlier you start preparing, the more options you’ll have for meeting the Medicaid requirements.

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

How long it may take you to qualify for Medicaid in New York depends on several factors, such as:

  • What type of Medicaid application you submitted
  • Whether you need to supply additional information after submitting your initial application
  • Whether New York denies your initial application

If you receive a denial when first applying for Medicaid, you can appeal the decision. An elder law attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can assist you with preparing Medicaid applications and handling any appeals you may need to file.

Should I Wait Until I’m a Senior to Meet with an Elder Law Attorney?

No. Here’s why it’s best to meet with an elder law lawyer early:

  • Our faculties can decline with age. This unfortunate reality means that explaining your wishes to an attorney could be harder if you put off your consultation too long. Meeting with a lawyer to start making future plans now allows you to address these matters while you’re still sharp.
  • Establishing plans for the future takes time. Coordinate with a lawyer now so you have the time to develop and implement plans that best serve you going forward.
  • You can spell out your wishes to spare your family difficult decisions later. Working with an attorney to make arrangements for your care, execution of your will, and other contingencies can ensure your preferences are respected and carried out.

None of this means you can’t benefit from hiring an elder law attorney at any time, including at an advanced age. Having an elder law plan in place is always better than going without one.

How Can a Putnam County, NY, Elder Law Attorney Help Me?

A Putnam County elder law attorney can help you by:

  • Discussing your goals to get a thorough idea of your wishes
  • Helping you understand and budget for long-term care options
  • Evaluating the tax consequences of estate planning choices
  • Helping you qualify for Medicaid and other government benefits
  • Suggesting non-probate options, such as trusts, to more efficiently pass on your assets
  • Ensuring you’ve granted proper legal authority to individuals you wish to have power of attorney and/or healthcare proxy powers

The best way to learn how a New York elder law attorney can help with your elder law and estate planning needs is to meet with one.

Contact a Trusted Putnam County, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

Your life circumstances can change as you age, but these  changes don’t need to negatively impact your comfort or finances or unreasonably burden your loved ones.

A Putnam County elder law attorney with Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can work with you to make solid plans for the future. The result? Greater peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Get started today by calling or contacting us online to discuss your case.