Below are a few stories about Lamson & Cutner clients.
What should be your #1 requirement in selecting an Elder Law firm? Reliability.
When you choose an Elder Law firm to handle your Medicaid qualification and asset protection planning, you’re entrusting its attorneys with the care of vital legal matters affecting your health care and your finances, at a critical phase of life. You want a firm that has a demonstrated record of success in obtaining the results you need.
Here are stories of satisfied clients for whom Lamson & Cutner has achieved noteworthy results. Notice the broad array of circumstances the firm has successfully addressed with its proven planning approaches. The list is divided into situations involving individuals and couples.
Couples who’ve benefited from Elder Law planning
An elderly couple had a significant net worth, with assets and financial reserves worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The husband, who was approaching 90 years of age, needed nursing facility care. L & C arranged for the transfer of several properties to his wife, along with other liquid assets. The firm then filed a Medicaid application for nursing home services. The planning steps first taken allowed the man to qualify for Medicaid. Now his care is fully paid, his wife’s financial needs are provided for, and the cash and holdings they’d invested a lifetime in building are protected. They won’t lose it all through ruinous health care expenses, and his wife has the money to make his stay at the nursing home as comfortable as possible. Additionally, L & C then did estate planning for her, so that no matter what the future brings in terms of her own long-term health care needs, she’s in the strongest possible financial position.
A woman in her 80’s suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. After several strokes, seizures and other complications, she became uncommunicative. All assets were held jointly with her husband, however L & C arranged for their transfer to him. This safeguarded the money from loss by “spend down,” under Medicaid rules, which would have required the couple to use it to pay for her care. The firm prepared an application for nursing home care, which Medicaid approved. The result was that the couple’s money was protected against loss. The husband can use still use their funds on behalf of his wife, and is able retain the lifestyle he’s been used to. All of these benefits were obtained with asset protection and estate planning strategies that were implemented “at the last minute.”
A man needed 24-hour care at home, with his wife no longer able to attend to his needs by herself. Carole Lamson protected his income with a pooled income trust, and then transferred all his assets to his wife. A Medicaid application was then filed for home care assistance, and was approved. L & C recently processed his recertification. The happy outcome is that he obtained and continues to benefit from around-the-clock, fully paid care. And just as important, with the planning steps taken, this couple has been able to secure their financial future, and comfortably maintain their lifestyle and dignity.
A husband and wife both needed home care. Their main source of their income and savings was German war reparations. These are normally exempt from Medicaid regulations requiring payment towards the cost of one’s own care. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were involved. Carole Lamson first assisted them by proving to Medicaid that all of their money was from the war reparations, so they could qualify for benefits. Next, all their liquid assets were transferred to their children. With their income and assets now secure from Medicaid requirements that would force them to pay their own health care bills, the couple was able to get fully paid home care. Unfortunately, the mother subsequently needed nursing facility care. L & C then prepared a Medicaid application that allowed her to enter the nursing home penalty-free. This was possible because effective asset protection planning was done in advance. Consequently, in addition to all the couple’s medical and health care costs being fully covered, their money and assets are safely in their family’s possession, and shielded from exposure to Medicaid’s “spend down” rules.
Individuals who’ve benefited from Elder Law planning
L & C attorneys initiated a series of asset protection procedures for a widow in her 70’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems. Proceeds from an IRA and excess income from other sources were placed in protective trusts. Lamson & Cutner then prepared her Medicaid application for home care, which was approved. The end result of this planning was that she received the health services she needed, in the comfort and security of her own surroundings, and retained the benefit of her financial resources and sense of personal dignity. An additional advantage is that if she eventually needs nursing facility care, her money can still be fully protected if she remains at home during the “look back” period.
A client has a terminal illness, is incontinent and needs assistance with all activities of daily living. When she retained Lamson & Cutner, she already had a home care assistant she was comfortable with, and was paying for herself. The firm’s attorneys filed a Medicaid application for home care, which was approved. In addition, L & C was able to “vendorize” her attendant. That means the firm contacted the home care agency, and arranged for her aide to become fully certified and accepted as its employee. The benefit is that now the cost of her aide’s salary is paid by Medicaid, instead of by the client. The client also receives coverage of her other long-term health care costs.
A young man was severely injured when he was improperly shoved by a security guard. He received a substantial cash settlement as a result of a lawsuit seeking compensation for his injury. Lamson & Cutner helped his grandmother obtain a court order authorizing the creation of a First Party Supplemental Needs Trust, and then drafted the trust documents. With this approach, her grandson was able to use the money from the cash settlement for his living expenses, without losing his Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits. Consequently, effective disability planning gave him a major financial benefit he would have otherwise lost.
An 85-year-old widow had numerous investments, assets and property in Florida. L & C arranged for the transfer of everything she owned to her daughter. The firm’s lawyers next prepared a private annuity equal to approximately 50% of the value of her holdings. The income from the annuity was used to pay for her care during the “penalty period” imposed on her by Medicaid. As a result, about half of her financial resources was saved. Her daughter can now use that money to attend to her mother’s needs, making her more comfortable at the nursing home. After her mother dies, the daughter will keep whatever is left, which she would never have received without these planning steps.
Lamson & Cutner helped a middle-aged, single woman who immigrated to the United States, and was then diagnosed with cancer. She needed coverage for chemotherapy, medication, as well as for her doctor bills and the hospital. The firm transferred her assets out of her name, and filed her Medicaid application. She was then approved for a level of benefits that provided 100% coverage, and also enabled her to choose her own doctors. Without this special planning, more than likely she would only have been eligible for care that would have been the equivalent of an HMO. More severely, she would have had to liquidate her assets and “spend down” all her savings and financial reserves before receiving any benefits at all, leaving her in poverty. L & C got her the coverage she needed, and preserved her economic status and dignity.
Not everyone has positive family relationships. In the case of a woman who unfortunately had strained relations with her three children, L & C was able to protect her funds and establish her living arrangement of choice. The client entered a nursing facility for rehabilitation after sustaining a head injury, and then elected to stay as a permanent resident. Thankfully, one of the sons was very devoted to her, and she agreed to have him manage her resources. The firm moved her significant assets to a protective trust and this son was made trustee. Lamson & Cutner then filed a Medicaid application to cover the cost of her nursing home care, and obtained approval. Additional planning strategies were then implemented. The result is that her nursing facility care is fully paid by Medicaid, and a significant portion of her money has been protected. Her son can now use these funds on behalf of his mother as needed, making her stay more pleasant. After she passes on, whatever money remains can be distributed to her heirs. None of this would have been possible without L & C’s asset protection planning.
Good Elder Law firms adapt proven methods to suit each client’s individual circumstances. In representing a client in her 80’s who needed extensive and costly dental work, L & C arranged for her dentists to accept two prepaid medical caregiver contracts.
These were funded by her liquid assets. This approach covered the cost of the dental treatment, and also allowed her to qualify for Medicaid nursing home care services, which now pays all her long-term medical and health care bills. Without these asset protection procedures, Medicaid would have required her to pay for her own nursing home care, until her money was exhausted. In that instance, in addition to becoming virtually penniless, she probably wouldn’t have been able to use her own dentists, and have been forced to choose from Medicaid’s approved providers. She got a double benefit: her dental professionals of choice, and full Medicaid coverage.
The firm represented a widow residing in a nursing home on Long Island. L & C secured her assets and got her on Medicaid, to pay the cost of her care. Just as important for this client though, due to the strong relationship Lamson & Cutner has with the nursing facility staff, she was able to keep a room she loved because of its extraordinary view. It’s a great example of how a firm’s rapport with a nursing home can work to a client’s benefit.
L & C handled a Medicaid home care application for a widow, and secured home health care aides fully paid for by Medicaid by transferring her excess income to a special protective trust. Best of all, she still retained the benefit of being able to use of her money to cover her living expenses. With effective planning she protected her income, maintained her lifestyle and got the health care services she needed. Without these procedures, she’d have been forced to use any “excess income” over Medicaid limits to pay for her own care.
A client had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Lamson & Cutner believes it is very inappropriate for credit card companies to aggressively solicit elderly people who have little income or assets, and easily fall into arrears. Fortunately, the firm was able to give this client advice that rapidly resolved her debt issues.
In a disability case the firm handled, a woman was in a nursing home on Medicaid, and unexpectedly received a $1,000,000 inheritance from her sister. L & C implemented a strategy to protect the woman from losing her Medicaid benefits, andto preserve the funds for the care of her disabled son. In the absence of these asset protection steps, a significant portion of the inheritance would have had to go towards payment for her nursing home care, instead of being available for her son. The family received a major financial benefit with L & C’s asset protection advice.
An Elder Law firm has in-depth insight into the rights of senior citizens, and is able to provide the special legal protections they need. In one case L & C handled, a major bank had persuaded a very elderly client to put a substantial amount into an annuity, which was completely inappropriate for his particular financial circumstances because, the contract specified that the client’s funds could not be withdrawn for several years without incurring a significant penalty. David Cutner contacted the bank, insisted that their recommendations were improper and demanded that the money be returned without any withdrawal penalty. The bank promptly complied and gave back the client’s money.
In representing a single, middle-aged man suffering from traumatic brain injury, L & C attorneys shifted his excess income to a protective trust, so that it could still be used to pay his bills. Now qualified to receive Medicaid benefits, he was also able to be placed on the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver Program list, so that he could receive extra services for his special needs.
The most powerful benefits of asset protection strategies are obtained with advance planning, before home or nursing facility care is actually needed. In helping a healthy client who doesn’t need assistance right now, L & C attorneys transferred his house to a protective trust. If he eventually does require Medicaid benefits, his home will not be subject to a lien to reimburse the cost of his care. Also, early planning increases the chance of his moving past the “look back” period, after which the transfer will be exempt. Having taken these steps, if he does need nursing home care once he passes that milestone, the value of his home will be completely protected and fully available to his heirs after he passes on, with significant tax advantages as well.