Elder Law Attorneys in Conway, Arkansas Helping Older Clients and Their Families
As we age, issues can arise that we never thought about when we were younger. How do I pay for nursing home care? Do I need to protect my assets? Who will take care of my financial affairs if I am unable? Who will make my medical decisions if I am incapacitated? How are Medicare and Medicaid different, and which one should I have? These questions and more can come up as we navigate the choppy waters of aging in America.
Whether you are an older person facing legal questions or a child trying to help your elderly parents get their affairs in order, the experienced elder law lawyers at the Dudeck Law Firm can use their extensive experience and knowledge to assist you. Call our Conway office today at 501-327-3527. We are here to help.
What Are Some of the Legal Issues Specific to Older People?
While people of any age can have situations that require the advice of a licensed attorney, there are a few situations that are specific to the legal needs of our older population. Issues surrounding long-term care planning, estate planning, asset protection, and guardianship often intrude into our lives as we or our loved ones get older. These complex topics can be difficult to tackle alone. Even more concerning issues can arise, such as medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, or elder abuse in other settings. Older people are often vulnerable, both physically and mentally, and unfortunately, there are those who seek to take advantage.
The biggest concerns we see among our clients who are either elderly or caring for elderly people are incapacity and long-term care. Many older adults are unsure that they will be able to afford the care they need or that they will be taken care of if they become unable to take care of themselves. They often fear losing their independence and do not want to leave their homes. Fortunately, there are programs to help with the cost of long-term care, some of which allow for the older person to stay at home and still get the care they need. There are legal documents to ensure that the older person can choose who will manage their financial and medical affairs if they are unable and who will receive inheritance once they pass away.
These are all issues that we focus on in our elder law practice at the Dudeck Law Firm. We have answers to some of the difficult questions that come up for older people, and we are happy to help you find peace of mind in your or your elderly loved one’s journey through old age.
What is Medicaid and is it the Same as Medicare?
Medicaid is a government entitlement program that provides financial assistance for medical or long-term care for those who cannot otherwise afford it, regardless of their age. There are income and asset limits that must be met in order to qualify for this assistance. Medicare, on the other hand, is a kind of medical insurance that every American is entitled to access once they reach the age of 65 or younger if they are disabled or on kidney dialysis. There may be some co-pays and small monthly premiums that the participant is responsible for with Medicare. With Medicaid, there are no costs to the participant.
For those who truly cannot afford the health care or long-term care that they need, Medicaid can be a godsend. Qualifying can be tricky, even for those of modest means, however, and a skilled elder law attorney in Arkansas can help. Even if you think you do not meet the guidelines for Medicaid, there are steps that can be taken to help you qualify and get the financial help you need to pay for long-term care.
What Can I Do to Preserve My Assets for My Heirs?
Another worry that we see in our elderly clients is that all of the assets they worked their whole lives to earn will be eaten up by end-of-life care, estate taxes, or other expenses. Fortunately, there are several different ways to protect assets so that they may be preserved for heirs’ inheritance. Various kinds of trusts can be helpful in this endeavor, and our attorneys have extensive experience setting up different kinds of trusts to suit our clients’ particular needs. Whether a revocable living trust, an irrevocable special needs trust, an AB trust, or some other kind of trust would be best for your particular circumstances is a question our estate attorneys can help you answer. Once answered, we can help you set up the trust that best fits your situation.
Who Will Manage My Finances and Make Decisions if I am Incapacitated?
It is an unfortunate fact of life that most of us will go through a period of illness or incapacity before we die. During this period, you need to have a designated agent who can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts, sign required legal documents, and make decisions about your medical care, among other things. For this reason, you need to have a power of attorney to name someone to manage your financial and legal affairs and a health care power of attorney to name someone to make decisions about your medical care, should you be unable to manage your finances or medical care yourself. These power of attorney documents should be part of any comprehensive estate plan, along with your will, any trusts you have set up, a beneficiary designation to name the recipients of certain assets like life insurance policies or retirement accounts, and a HIPAA authorization naming those people who may be given detailed medical information about you, and an advance healthcare directive, detailing what treatments you do and do not want in case you are unable to speak for yourself. These documents allow you to have some control over who will take care of you, manage your money, make health care decisions, inherit your assets, and know your medical details, as well as what medical treatments you will receive. In creating these documents with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can ensure that you get to choose who will fill these important roles, that you get to designate where your hard-earned assets will go after you leave this earth, and that your wishes will be known and respected in all areas covered by your estate plan. We here at Dudeck Law Firm have made it our mission to help older adults and their families as they make their way into and through old age in a country that does not always give its elders the respect and care they deserve. Let us help you today—call 501-327-3527.