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Why should elder law matter to everyone? Because it’s a critical tool that helps you plan for retirement. With a careful strategy, you can protect your assets to prepare for your senior years and maximize what you leave behind for loved ones. In addition, you can preserve the financial resources needed to pay for your long-term care. Elder law is also an essential component of Amoruso & Amoruso LLP’s innovative comprehensive estate planning approach.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we believe effective planning is a long-term commitment. That’s why we prioritize building lasting relationships with our clients. With nearly 60 years of combined experience in elder law, Michael J. Amoruso and Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso will guide you every step of the way. Whether you are preparing for the future or dealing with an unexpected crisis, our Westchester County elder law attorneys can provide the legal advice and support you need.

Ready to take the first step? Contact us today to learn more about what a Westchester County elder law attorney can do for you. We proudly assist clients throughout Mount Pleasant, Rye Brook, White Plains, Yonkers, New Castle, and North Castle.

When Should You Contact an Elder Law Attorney?

Elder law addresses the unique legal considerations that affect aging seniors and their families. But you don’t have to wait until you retire to start planning. An experienced elder law attorney in Westchester County can advise you on the best way to handle matters that affect you now and in the future.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we customize our services to meet your current and anticipated needs. This might include services like:

  • Long-Term Care Planning – Discussing long-term care planning with a lawyer is essential if you’re considering assisted living, home care, or nursing home options and need to finance these services without depleting your assets.
  • Estate Planning – Establishing or updating wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are components of comprehensive estate planning that can safeguard your future and ensure your wishes are carried out.
  • Establishing Guardianships – When a loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves, an elder law attorney can help you petition the court to appoint a qualified guardian.
  • Preserving Medicare and Medicaid Benefits – Applying for Medicare or Medicaid benefits can present challenges when you try to qualify. Medicaid planning can help avoid problems before they start.
  • Addressing Elder Abuse and Fraud – We can help if you suspect a family member is a victim of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse.
  • Retirement Planning – By reviewing your retirement benefits, pensions, and other income sources, we can use tools so you have optimal financial security during your golden years.

How Can Elder Law Planning Help Me Protect My Assets?

Asset protection is a cornerstone of elder law. Advanced planning with a Westchester County elder law attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can offer you peace of mind and financial stability. This includes safeguarding your assets from potential risks, such as excessive healthcare costs or predatory practices.

You can preserve your wealth and ensure a more secure future for your heirs by leveraging such specialized strategies as:

  • Trust Creation – Creating different types of trusts can protect your assets from Medicaid, nursing homes, home care agencies, creditors, lawsuits, and other financial hazards, preserving your estate for your heirs.
  • Tax Optimization – An attorney can help you understand the complexities of estate taxes, capital gains, and other financial obligations to minimize the tax burden on your estate.
  • Gift Planning – Your lawyer can recommend structured gifting strategies, which serve the dual purposes of reducing your taxable estate and preserving your assets for loved ones.
  • Durable Power of Attorney – Appointing a trusted individual to manage your financial affairs can prevent others from misusing your assets if you become incapacitated.
  • Medicaid Planning – An elder law attorney can help you plan so that your assets are protected from the costs of your care and you qualify for Medicaid benefits without losing assets.

Does Elder Law Help Me Avoid Probate?

Probate is the legal process of validating your will and administering your estate after you pass. Effective elder law planning can help your surviving family members avoid the lengthy and often costly probate process, which can take a toll at an already difficult time.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we craft comprehensive estate plans that include tools like living trusts and gift planning to bypass probate. When you transfer assets into a living trust or gift them to loved ones while you’re alive, they are no longer subject to probate in New York. This allows for a smoother transition of property and assets to your designated beneficiaries.

How Much Preparation Should I Do To Meet Long-Term Care Expenses?

The sooner you begin planning for long-term care expenses, the better. Costs for services like in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes can be astronomical and often arise unexpectedly. A solid plan should include strategies for financing these services and protecting your assets in the process.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, our signature comprehensive estate planning service addresses these concerns at the outset. We integrate long-term care costs into your overall financial and estate planning strategy. Our goal is to avoid the depletion of your assets and safeguard your financial security.

Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

Maybe. The decision to purchase long-term care insurance is personal and depends on numerous factors, including your financial situation, health, and family dynamics. Long-term care insurance can cover a significant portion of the costs associated with long-term care. This could provide you with more options and reduce the financial burden on your family if you require specialized care.

However, it’s important to carefully consider each policy’s premiums, coverage limitations, and terms. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we can help you make this decision as part of your comprehensive estate plan, weighing the pros and cons for your specific circumstances.

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning is a subset of elder law that focuses on preparing you to meet the financial requirements for Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid can cover the costs of various medical and long-term care services, but its eligibility criteria require your income and assets to fall below specific thresholds.

Through effective Medicaid planning, we can help you legally restructure your assets and income to qualify for Medicaid without depleting your hard-earned resources. This could involve using trusts, asset transfers, or other financial instruments that preserve your wealth while maintaining access to necessary support programs.

How Long Does It Take to Qualify for Medicaid?

The time it takes to qualify for Medicaid can vary based on individual circumstances, including the complexity of your financial situation and the documentation you include with your application. The look-back period and penalties for certain asset transfers can also affect the timeline.

Depending on the situation, approval could take several weeks to a few months or even longer. Proper Medicaid planning can streamline the process, but starting early is essential. Effective planning can expedite your approval and access the benefits you need.

What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

Medicaid and Medicare are government programs that serve different purposes. Medicare primarily provides health insurance for individuals 65 and older, regardless of income. It covers the costs like hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and some prescription drugs.

Conversely, Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that covers health care costs if you have limited income and assets. It covers some costs that Medicare doesn’t, like long-term care expenses. Eligibility and coverage specifics differ significantly between the two, underscoring the importance of early planning.

Should I Wait Until I Need Medicaid Benefits to Meet with an Elder Law Attorney?

No. Waiting until you need Medicaid benefits to consult an elder law attorney could leave you in a precarious financial situation. Qualifying for Medicaid requires meeting strict financial criteria, and last-minute attempts could result in penalties or delays in your receiving benefits.

Proactive Medicaid planning allows you to preserve your assets while ensuring you meet eligibility requirements when the need arises. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, our elder law attorneys can guide you through this process with confidence and provide peace of mind.

What Can a Westchester County, NY, Elder Law Attorney Do for Me?

From protecting assets to documenting healthcare wishes, we offer a range of services tailored to the unique needs of seniors and their families. If you’re planning for the future, a Westchester County elder law attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP could help you by:

  • Identifying and inventorying your assets – We can catalog all your assets, including real estate, investments, and personal property, to determine your financial standing.
  • Recommending estate planning instruments – Based on your asset inventory, we can suggest the best tools to secure your wealth, such as trusts, wills, and annuities.
  • Navigating Medicaid and Medicare eligibility – Our lawyers can evaluate your financial and medical status to help you qualify for government benefits without sacrificing your assets.
  • Drafting advance healthcare directives – We can prepare documents like a health care proxy to specify your wishes if you cannot make healthcare decisions.
  • Negotiating long-term care contracts – Before you sign any contracts with nursing homes or assisted living facilities, we can review the terms to protect your interests.
  • Investigating and addressing abuse – If you or a loved one experiences physical or financial abuse, we can take immediate legal action on your behalf.
  • Facilitating guardianship proceedings – If someone becomes incapacitated and does not have an advance directive, we can guide you through the process of establishing a guardianship.
  • Reviewing and updating your plans – As circumstances change, so should your estate plan. We will conduct periodic reviews to keep your estate plan current and valid.

Amoruso & Amoruso LLP stands out because of our comprehensive, holistic approach to estate planning. Our signature strategies combine essential life-planning elements such as elder law, wills, trusts, tax law, asset protection, and Medicaid law. With this approach, we craft a complete plan that’s right for you. Our legal team can also help with crisis planning if you or a loved one suddenly needs long-term care, which is costly in Westchester County.

The attorneys at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP have elder law qualifications that place them among the nation’s elite elder law attorneys. Michael J. Amoruso is past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and past chair of the New York State Bar Elder Law Section and Westchester County Bar Association Elder Law Committee. He holds a distinction as a 2010-2020 New York Metro Super Lawyer for Elder Law and is on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Lawyers in America for Elder Law for 2014-2023. Best Lawyers in America has also presented Michael with two high honors: 2023 Lawyer of the Year for Elder Law in White Plains and 2021 Lawyer of the Year for Trusts & Estates. He also received a U.S. Congressional Proclamation in 2009 for his work in elder law and special needs law.

Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section. For three years in a row, Super Lawyers Magazine named her a New York Metro Super Lawyer. Both attorneys are strongly involved in elder law organizations and related legal affiliations.

Contact an Experienced Westchester County, NY, Elder Law Lawyer Today

Don’t wait for an emergency to start planning for the unexpected. Secure the future you envision for yourself and your family now. Trust Amoruso & Amoruso LLP to provide personalized, comprehensive planning that fully accounts for your assets and well-being.

Reach out now to discuss your elder law planning needs with a proven Westchester County elder law lawyer.