Elder Law Attorneys in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Helping Seniors and Their Families
As we get older, issues come up that we may have never thought about when we were younger. Things like how to pay for long-term care, how to protect assets to preserve them for our children, whether we can keep our homes, and who will manage our affairs when we become incapacitated are not keeping 30-year-olds up at night. But once we, or our loved ones, reach a certain age, issues like these can haunt us. If you have questions or concerns about an issue concerning an older person, whether it is you or a loved one, the skilled elder law attorneys of Dudeck Law Firm are here to help. We focus our practice on estate planning and elder law and have helped older folks and their families in the Hot Springs area for years. We have the skill and experience you need to sort out the issues that come up with aging. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to discuss your options.
What Kinds of Issues Can An Elder Law Attorney Help With?
A situation that requires the help of a licensed attorney can arise at any stage of life, but there are some concerns specific to older people that fall under the heading of “elder law”. As we age, we come to the realization that some of those things we planned to get to later need to be done now. Preparing a will, choosing someone to act on your behalf in business, legal, and financial matters should you become incapacitated, deciding who will make your medical decisions if you are unable, and planning for long-term care are tasks that are easily put off. With the help of a skilled estate planning and elder law attorney, however, you can get important documents, such as a will, powers of attorney, an advance healthcare directive (living will), and other elements of estate planning such as trusts, taken care of and in place with a minimum of stress and frustration.
There are more serious and concerning issues that constitute elder law as well. Older adults are often vulnerable, both physically and mentally, and there are those who will take advantage of that vulnerability. Our experienced elder law attorneys can also help in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, financial exploitation (including scams), medical malpractice, or elder abuse in the home, for example.
How Can I Pay for Long-Term Care?
How to pay for long-term care is one of the most common concerns we see from older people and their families. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost for nursing home care in a semiprivate room in Arkansas is $6,083 a month and $6,692 a month for a private room. While some families can pay these costs themselves, many find that they cannot. Fortunately, there are a few different ways that families can get help paying the costs of long-term care. This is not a comprehensive list. To hear about all your options, speak to one of our elder law attorneys.
If you watch any late-night television, you have certainly seen many commercials advertising reverse mortgages as a way for seniors to tap the equity in their homes for the funds they need. While reverse mortgages can be a good option for some people, it is not advisable to enter into one without consulting with an estate planning attorney in Hot Springs. It probably took a long time to build equity in your home, and you don’t want to risk losing all you have worked so hard for. A reverse mortgage should be a plan of last resort, in the opinion of most financial professionals.
Long-term care insurance can be purchased to cover the cost of long-term care, but unless you buy it when you are very young and have no medical issues, it can be very expensive.
One government program that can cover costs is Medicaid. Do not confuse Medicare with Medicaid. Medicare is a government-sponsored insurance program that pays for certain medical expenses and short-term stays in a nursing or rehab facility but does not cover long-term care. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a combined federal and state government assistance program that can cover long-term care. Medicaid has strict income and asset limits; however, it is possible, with careful financial and estate planning, to become eligible even if you think you won’t qualify. Consult one of our elder law attorneys in Arkansas to find out how.
What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need?
While there are elaborate estate plans and simple ones, the basic documents everyone should have listed below. There may be other documents that would be beneficial in your particular circumstances, and an estate planning attorney can explain them to you.
- Will: Your will names an executor who will administer your estate after you die and designates who you would like to inherit your property and assets.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This document names a person of your choice to act on your behalf and make decisions in legal, financial, and business matters if you are incapacitated or pass away.
- Health Care Power of Attorney: In this document, you designate a person to make your medical decisions if you are unable to make them yourself.
- Advance Health Care Directive (Living Will): This document outlines your wishes for the kinds of treatment you would like to receive or not receive if you are gravely or terminally ill or incapacitated.
- HIPAA Release: If there are people other than your next of kin (usually your spouse or an adult child) whom you would like to be able to access your medical information and speak to your doctors and health care providers, you may list them in this document, which grants them that access.
Why Should I Hire Dudeck Law Firm?
Some law firms take any case that walks in the door, whether it’s a criminal case, a divorce, or a slip-and-fall accident. At Dudeck Law Firm, however, we focus our practice on estate planning and elder law. This gives us the experience, skill, and knowledge that you need to address any issues for you as you age or for an older loved one. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527. We are here to help.