Elder Law is a growing area of the law as many baby boomers are now aging and becoming a larger portion of the population. Elder law focuses on assisting clients with health care or financial related issues in relation to nursing home assistance or estate planning.
There are many issues that can be of importance to an individual when entering a nursing facility, or even an assisted living facility. The client, and often times their family, need to consider estate planning. Often when the client is thinking of entering a facility, it is because health or mental capacities are declining. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that estate plans are up to date. These estate plans need to include Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances and Healthcare as well as a Healthcare Directive. Other documents may be necessary depending on the individual client’s situation.
Another area of the law which elder law practitioners can assist clients with is how to conserve assets for MO Healthnet otherwise known as Missouri Medicaid. There are two types of clients that I see in my office. Those that come in ahead of time and wish to conserve assets before entering the nursing home or assisted living facility and those that are already in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The clients that are already in a facility have a much tougher road ahead of them in terms of conserving assets because they are going through assets on a daily basis. It is much easier to conserve assets ahead of time. Often the date that one enters a facility can be hard to estimate but it is something to speak to your elder law attorney about.
The Haggerty Law Firm does not recommend gifting away any assets without speaking to a qualified elder law attorney. There are many penalties that can be imposed on the individual if not done properly. In Missouri, the penalty period for gifting is 60 months from the day the Medicaid recipient otherwise qualifies for Medicaid. Therefore, it is extremely important to speak to a qualified elder law attorney before any gifting strategy is done. At The Haggerty Law Firm we would be happy to speak with you about Medicaid and how it may affect your assets.