elderly law in Rockland County

Do you need a Rockland County elder law attorney? Amoruso & Amoruso LLP is a recognized leader in New York elder law and estate planning matters, and we can help you or your family members prepare for the future. We offer comprehensive estate planning services in Rockland county that integrate the crucial concerns seniors face — such as the need for financial security post-retirement, asset protection, and long-term healthcare planning services — into a lasting strategy for maximum protection, personal benefit, and the well-being of your family when you are gone.

The first step is a consultation with one of our elder law lawyers. Contact us today to get started.

What Is Elder Law?

Elder law encompasses the legal issues that aging adults face, including estate planning, capacity issues, guardianship matters, advance directives, and plans for long-term care. Whether you wish to work with us one-on-one or with the involvement of your family members, our attorneys will ensure your decisions and desires for your care and estate are established in a carefully designed, thoughtful plan.

What’s the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning?

Elder law covers a broad scope of issues the elderly population confronts as questions of asset preservation and long-term health care surface. It also includes protecting senior citizens from elder abuse and ensuring their medical needs are met.

Elder law also allows you to plan for various contingencies. Life is unpredictable. Advance directives like health care proxies and powers of attorney allow you to appoint trusted individuals to oversee your medical care, financial, and legal matters if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

In addition, elder law attorneys can assist you with Medicaid planning to help ensure you can qualify before you need it. Because Medicaid has specific income and asset tests, a successful application often requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer who can make a long-term plan that complies with Medicaid while preserving your assets.

By contrast, estate planning involves taking proactive steps regarding the distribution of your assets upon your death. If you do not have an estate plan, New York courts will dictate what happens to your property, and there’s no guarantee their decisions will align with your wishes. By establishing an estate plan, you control how and to whom the distributions will occur.

That said, elder law and estate planning often go hand-in-hand. Through elder law, you can implement a forward-thinking strategy into your estate plan so you have the resources you need in old age and leave behind a strong legacy after you pass away.

When Should I Contact A Rockland County Elder Law Attorney?

Ideally, you should contact a Rockland County elder law attorney before you need one. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we can examine your financial circumstances, goals, and desires, regardless of age. Elder law matters are not only relevant to those over age 65. Working with a lawyer sooner rather than later will give you more options for your long-term plan.

Although we recommend seeking the assistance of an elder law attorney early, we also help families with crisis planning, such as in cases where a family member suddenly requires long-term care.

How Can Elder Law Protect My Assets?

An elder law attorney can deploy various well-tested legal strategies and tools to protect your assets when planning your estate. If you retain Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we will customize our approach to your unique circumstances and goals. Some options to protect your assets include:

  • WillsA will is a cornerstone of estate planning, where you can direct asset distribution to heirs, appoint guardians for your children and dependents, and outline your final wishes.
  • Trusts – Various types of trusts may be utilized to shield your assets while allowing you to retain some control over your property and reduce tax implications.
  • Medicaid planning Your attorney can restructure your assets and income so you qualify for Medicaid without depleting your wealth.
  • Asset transfers – An elder law attorney can advise on appropriately transferring assets to family members or trusts to avoid Medicaid penalties.
  • Gifts – With the help of an attorney, you can develop a gifting strategy that allows you to properly transfer assets to your heirs or beneficiaries, while complying with Medicaid regulations as well as minimizing potential tax liabilities of the recipient.
  • Long-term care insurance – Your lawyer may recommend using long-term care insurance as a part of your plan to cover nursing home costs or other healthcare expenses.
  • Life estate deeds – You can transfer the ownership of your property to your heirs by way of a life estate deed while retaining the right to live in the property for the rest of your life. This is one way to protect your property from being used to pay your Medicaid costs.

Does Elder Law Help Me Avoid Probate?

Yes. Consulting with an elder law attorney to create your estate plan can help you avoid probate. If you die intestate (without a will) or with only a will, your estate will pass through either administration or probate before it can be divided among your heirs and beneficiaries. Through a comprehensive estate plan that uses instruments like trusts and payable-on-death accounts, your attorney can help you pass assets directly to beneficiaries without the time and hassle of a court proceeding.

What Is Long-Term Care Planning?

Long-term care planning is establishing a plan for the possibility of your care before you need it. It allows you and your family to learn about the services and facilities available in your community and their cost. If you later become seriously ill or disabled, you will have already decided what care you want and where you want to be.

For example, most people prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. However, this may also require some pre-planning for home healthcare services. If home healthcare is not an option or you need more extensive care through a nursing home or assisted living facility, you and your attorney can review options as you develop your long-term care plan.

Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

Your attorney may advise you to purchase long-term care insurance after they evaluate your financial circumstances and healthcare needs. Note that while you can apply for Medicaid benefits to cover the long-term care costs, you may have limited options for Medicaid providers. If you wish to have more options for the type of care you can receive and the medical providers that treat you, long-term care insurance offers the flexibility to accommodate you. This insurance may also avoid the necessity of selling your assets to pay for your care down the road, but it can be cost-prohibitive for some people, and exclusions may apply (e.g., pre-existing conditions, cognitive disabilities, etc.).

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid is a needs-based government insurance program that helps cover the healthcare needs of many older Americans. Unfortunately, many people earn too much to qualify for this federal assistance yet cannot afford long-term care without it. Through careful Medicaid planning, you can be eligible for Medicaid benefits when the time comes for you to receive long-term care either at home or at an assisted living facility or nursing home without divesting all your assets.

If you are 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.

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 revised or repealed.

An experienced elder law attorney can help you arrange your assets without violating Medicaid’s rules or limitations so you will qualify for benefits when you need them.

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

Amoruso & Amoruso LLP is nationally recognized for its work in the fields of elder law and estate planning. Our attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience helping clients with elder law and comprehensive estate planning in Rockland County and the surrounding New York communities.

When you come to us, you get to work with an elder law lawyer who focuses exclusively on finding the best ways to ensure your personal and financial well-being. No one’s elder needs are the same, and your plan will be tailored to fit your circumstances. Even more important, your plan will age with you. Our firm develops long-term relationships with our clients, so we can make adjustments if your situation or family dynamics change.

Our attorneys can also facilitate conversations with family members so everyone understands your final wishes. A lawyer can guide discussions over sensitive subjects with everyone present to lessen the chances of conflicts later on.

Contact a Skilled Rockland, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

Working with the right elder law attorney can provide unparalleled peace of mind as you prepare for your golden years. Reach out to Amoruso & Amoruso LLP for straightforward, top-quality legal advice today. Contact us now for an initial consultation with a NY elder law attorney.