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If you’re not satisfied, hire another firm. You need to be comfortable with the firm handling your work. After all, they’ll be devising strategies that affect your entire life’s savings and every asset you own. Your attorneys should inspire your confidence. If for any reason you don’t feel they’re the best advocates for you, find another firm. In addition to any objective evaluation you make, pay attention to your intuition.

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Not every Elder Law firm uses precisely the same methods. The firm you choose should be able to clearly explain the rationale behind its approaches. If you don’t understand what your attorney is planning to do, or if you sense you’re not receiving the kind of service you should be getting, get a second opinion and consider changing firms.

A good firm will be able to adapt proven methods to suit your circumstances. For example, we represented a client in her 80’s who needed extensive and very costly dental procedures. We worked out an arrangement with her dentists whereby her liquid assets were applied to two prepaid medical caregiver contracts. This approach covered the dental treatment, and also allowed her to qualify for Medicaid nursing home care services, which now pays all of her long-term medical and health care expenses.

Had we not used these procedures, Medicaid might have required her to use the money to pay for her own nursing home care, until her funds were exhausted. In that scenario, it’s very possible she wouldn’t have been able to use the dentists she wanted, due to being forced to choose one from providers who accept Medicaid. So we got her a double benefit: her dental professionals of choice, and Medicaid.

Here’s a critical point you should also consider. It’s to your advantage to choose a firm that has a tax attorney on staff. Anytime you do financial transactions you may be at risk of creating adverse tax consequences. The big question is: how do you accomplish the Medicaid objectives, without creating a tax liability that diminishes the benefits gained?

For example, whenever you plan to transfer appreciated property, you’ve got a capital gains tax issue to deal with. Elder Law solutions must be integrated with tax considerations. If the firm has a tax lawyer, you’ll get more sophisticated tax treatment to enhance your planning.

25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs

  1. You can qualify for Medicaid (even if you don’t think so)
  2. The “Wait and See” Approach can Result in Ruinous Health Care Expenses.
  3. Plan for Home Care and Nursing Home Facility Care while You Still Can.
  4. What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
  5. It’s NOT too Late for Effective Medicaid Planning (even if you think it is)
  6. Why Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
  7. Don’t Prepare Your Own Medicaid Application
  8. Trusts Can Protect Your Home and Your Money!
  9. Special Trusts for Specific Purposes
  10. Protecting Co-op Apartments Require Special Handling
  11. Evaluate Your 401k or IRA Carefully when Planning for Medicaid
  12. Why Take the Lump Sum Option on Your Pension or Retirement Account?
  13. Choose Your Trustee Wisely
  14. Private Annuities can Help Protect Your Assets
  15. Caregiver Agreements Help Achieve Medicaid Eligibility
  16. Keep Your Medicare Insurance
  17. The Durable Power of Attorney
  18. Elder Law and Estate Planning
  19. The Health Care Proxy vs. the Living Will
  20. How to Choose an Elder Law Firm
  21. Streamline Your Financial Affairs and Record Keeping
  22. New York State is More Generous than Other States
  23. Your Attorney can Help Find the Best Care for You
  24. Long-Term Care Insurance Won’t Necessarily Solve the Problem
  25. Compassionate Elder Law Planning Focuses on Your Future Quality-of-Life!
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