An Elder Law Attorney is going to be a very valuable ally for you as you transition into a caregiving role for an aging loved one.
The best way to explain the value of an Elder Law Attorney, if you have not already experienced it, is to make an analogy. If you needed a heart transplant, you would not go to your family practice doctor. You would go to a cardiologist, who is an expert on the matter. The same can be said of general practice lawyers and Elder Law Attorneys.
While many think of retaining the services of an attorney to be something that only the wealthy do, it is often those in the middle class who have the most to gain from retaining the services of an elder law attorney. While those who have the fewest financial resources may access Medicaid right away, and those with extensive resources may never need it, those in the middle stand to gain a great deal from early planning in terms of an eventual medicaid spend down.
In matters asset preservation, estate planning, wills trusts and probate, Powers of Attorney and Advanced Medical Directives, and Medicaid planning, the stakes are high. You may find it is worth taking the time with an Elder Law Attorney to make sure that you do not make any costly mistakes.
For example, while general practice attorneys may know their way around asset preservation, they may not be knowleagable on Medicaid laws and regulations. The result could be asset preservation that incurs penalties if you later apply for Medicaid to supplement the cost of Home Care, Assisted Living, or Nursing Care.
You can find reputable Elder Law Attorneys through the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.
If the cost of an Elder Law Attorney is outside your budget If this is outside your budget, contact your local Area Agency on Aging to findout if there are free Elder Law agencies or sliding scale firms in your area.
New Hampshire: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/beas
Massachusetts: http://www. cityofboston.gov/elderly/agency.asp