Services :: Elder Law
Elder Law covers a wide variety of issues that deal with the Elderly. Whether it’s our parents, a close relative or a family friend, we are all touched by the need to help an elderly person in our lives.
Some of the issues that may need to be addressed in Elder Law are – Medicaid/SSI Planning, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship, Estate Planning, Social Security Disability, Government Benefits Appeals and life planning documents (Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA and Physicians Directive).
Proper Planning before an Elderly Person needs planning is always the best policy but, unfortunately, in many cases families only approach the above issues in an emergency or when a last resort is reached in taking care of a loved one.
In many cases, the government will only pay nursing home bills if the patient’s assets are below $2000 with a few exceptions such as the homestead and a vehicle. Medicare will only cover a patient for a maximum of one hundred (100) days if they even cover the patient at all. Proper planning can help elder individuals plan for the time when they will need to qualify for nursing home payments.
Elder Special Needs Planning
Planning for elder individuals should start early in their lives if they are getting government benefits. Instruments such as a Special Needs Trust or an ABLE Account can shield assets from SSI of these individuals and be within the $2000 limit of assets that SSI and Medicaid impose on individuals in order to qualify for SSI and Medicaid.
Guardianships and Conservatorship (Are they the Same?)
In Texas, these two terms are not interchangeable. Guardianship is part of the Probate Court System in Texas. An example of Guardianship is when a loved one becomes incapacitated or develops dementia and you do not have a Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney or a HIPAA Agreement. Your only alternative may, unfortunately, be filing for Guardianship of your elderly loved one. Guardianship is also needed when a disabled child who is turning eighteen (an adult in Texas) and does not have the capacity to take care of himself or herself and the Alternatives to Guardianship are not appropriate for this young adult. Guardianships can also concern a minor whose parents are no longer present.
Conservatorship is part of the Family Court System in Texas. A Conservatorship is part of the Family Court System in Texas. When going through a divorce in Texas, a parenting plan is needed when children are involved. In this parenting plan, you may have one parent being the “primary joint managing conservator” and the other parent being the “possessory conservator”.
A properly executed estate plan can be as simple as having a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA and Medical Directive. A more detailed Estate Plan can plan for Nursing Home Care, Tax Advantages concerning a beneficiary’s inheritance and can be comprised of a team of professionals like your attorney, financial planner, accountant, life insurance agent, banker and your broker.
Basic Planning Documents
You basic planning documents may be composed of a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA Agreement and Medical Directive. Other issues that may come up in Elder law are Government Benefit Appeals. Medicare Planning and Social Security Disability.
Having personal experience with many of the issues affecting Elders, Boyd Handley will explain what may been needed with your family member as he did with his own parents. Contact Boyd at 281.703.3616 or Boyd@TheHandleyLawOffice.com for an appointment.