The Elder & Estate Planning Law Firm is committed to helping the elderly, the disabled and their families resolve their unique legal problems and concerns. The Elder & Estate Planning Law Firm can assist you with a variety of issues, including the following:
We solve problems for seniors. Each client has a unique set of needs that we address with a variety of traditional elder law practices such as estate planning, Medicaid planning, divisions of assets, VA benefits, and asset protection.
Additionally, we often assist and guide families with placement of a loved one in long term care, provide guidance for family members, assist with the sale of real property and the liquidation of assets.
The core of our firm’s services revolves around the practice of estate planning. Basic estate planning documents including but are not limited to powers of attorney, healthcare declarations, wills, living trusts, and/or irrevocable trusts.
Establishing estate planning documents can prepare a family for situations that could arise in the future, namely situations related to incapacity. These documents help eliminate the need for a court-ordered conservatorship and/or guardianship.
When permanent long term care is necessary for a client, the need to address the issue of Medicaid qualification is a primary interest. Our firm has built tremendous expertise in the area of asset protection in Medicaid situations.
Additionally, the issue of gifting is a huge concern. If the client has made a large gift prior to entering care, it is vitally important to address that issue immediately upon its discovery. We have several solutions that can eliminate gifting as a problem. Also, we process Medicaid applications on a regular basis.
Division of Assets
Division of assets applies only to married couples. The intent of the law was to change the eligibility requirements for Medicaid where one spouse needed nursing home care while the other spouse remained in the home.
A division of assets protects a determined amount of the couples assets from being spent on the institutionalized spouse’s nursing home care costs. Our strategies protect more of a couple’s assets than what is routinely determined by the state.
There are many avenues to legal asset protection. Two of the areas that the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm recommends are Medicaid annuities and irrevocable trusts.
Each situation is unique and while there is no blanket recommendation to protect assets, the Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm is well versed in applying solutions that help our clients legally protect their property.
Trust Administration is the process of distributing assets of a decedent to that individual’s beneficiaries who are identified in his/her Trust. In order for assets to be transferred under this process, the asset has to be titled in the name of the Trust.
When an asset is not titled in the name of the Trust, Trust Administration is not possible, and the asset will need to be probated.
Special Needs Planning
A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust specifically designed for individuals with disabilities or special needs that do not affect an individual’s eligibility for benefits such as SSI or MO HealthNet (Medicaid) Benefits.
The requirements for these trusts are very technical; you should not enter into one of these trusts without
proper guidance from a licensed attorney.
Probate is the legal process used to assemble and transfer a decedent’s assets to the intended beneficiaries and settle a decedent’s outstanding debts. In St. Louis County, Probate typically takes nine months to one year. Our office only uses probate when absolutely necessary.
If an asset is not transferred into a Trust or does not have a “Payable on Death” designation, then the asset will most likely need to be probated.