Finding an Elder Law Attorney to be Your Medicaid Advisor

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Medicare, Medicaid, Elderlaw AttorneyMany Medicaid advisors are elder law attorneys. When your parent owns property and has investments then a Medicaid advisor can guide you and your parent through options to preserve your parent’s estate.  In a recent post, I discussed the importance of planning for your parent’s smooth transition to Medicaid.

A Medicaid advisor will guide you through Medicaid approved methods of protecting your parent’s estate and prevent you from making mistakes that would delay your parent becoming eligible for benefits.  An elder law attorney can help your parent establish legal tools that convert “countable” assets (assets that Medicaid considers when determining eligibility) to “exempt” assets.

Ideally long term care planning starts well before your parent becomes ill or needs help with basic living skills.  A well prepared retirement and estate plan includes how your parent will pay for care. In reality, most of us wait until long term care is upon us before we consider how we will pay for it.

Find an elder law attorney who specializes in Medicaid planning:

  • If your parent currently lives in a nursing home, you can ask the social worker for a referral to an attorney.
  • If you or your parent has a financial advisor or estate planning attorney, they may have referrals for you.
  • You can also check with your local senior center to ask for a referral.
  • If you don’t have personal referral that you are confident about, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a good place to start your search for an attorney.  Through their website, you can find an attorney in your local area.

After you narrow your search down to two attorneys, schedule a consultation.  Come to the meeting with a list of your questions and any special circumstances that you feel will impact your parent’s situation.  Your parent should attend the meeting unless health concerns make it impossible.

At the consultation:

  • Ask for references you can call to help you determine if the attorney is experienced and successful.
  • Get a complete schedule of fees and services that the attorney offers.
  • Do you feel that the attorney is approachable and answered your questions completely

Did you use an elder law attorney for Medicaid planning?  Share your experiences with us.

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--Janice Wallace

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