If you only paid attention to the sheer volume of laws that our society has passed in an attempt to protect the interests of older Americans, then it might be easy to assume that those interests could never be at serious risk. Unfortunately, those laws are only useful if they are used, and many of them are too complex for seniors and their families to navigate on their own. And when average Americans try to navigate the many laws and regulations that are currently on the books, it is all too easy to make costly mistakes. To avoid those mistakes and effectively protect their interests, seniors need the help of an elder law attorney in Indianapolis.
Elder interests are threatened every day on a variety of different fronts. From the high cost of nursing home care to the need for incapacity planning, protection from abuse, and sound estate planning, it sometimes seems as though seniors face an endless series of challenges. An elder law attorney can help families to make sense of these challenges and implement strategies that can provide the peace of mind and security that every senior deserves.
Nursing Home Costs
Nursing home costs represent one of the most severe challenges any senior can face. Costs have skyrocketed in recent decades to the point where many seniors have no options other than to rely on government benefit programs to pay for their care. The problem with that strategy is that those seniors can only qualify for programs like Medicaid if their income and assets are low enough to fall within the allowable limits.
That means that seniors have to spend almost all of their savings on care to qualify for benefits or use available asset protection strategies that can help them to avoid impoverishing themselves in this manner. An elder law attorney can help seniors plan for Medicaid eligibility to ensure that they can receive those needed benefits if and when the need arises. Using a variety of legal tools and strategies like trusts and gifting, seniors can often preserve a portion of their assets even as they ensure their eligibility for critical Medicaid benefits.
Everyone understands that the health concerns of a senior change with age. One of the most overlooked concerns, however, is the possibility that a senior will suffer from a temporary or sustained loss of competence. When such incapacitation occurs, families can be thrown into turmoil and are often forced to seek guardianship from the courts. With incapacity planning, seniors can ensure that incapacitation due to illness, disease, or injury don’t prevent their interests from being properly protected.
An elder law attorney can help seniors develop a sound incapacity plan that includes key documents like a living will, financial power of attorney, and advance directive for health care. This plan can ensure that a senior’s wishes about health care are known and observed, while his or her chosen agents are empowered to make critical financial and medical decisions. Even seniors who have no other form of estate planning in place should have these critical documents.
Across the nation, states have enacted one law after another to guard against elder abuse. Like other laws, however, these protections are meaningless without the means and will to enforce them. Even today, many thousands of seniors suffer abuse, fraud and neglect on an ongoing basis. Some are victimized by unscrupulous guardians. Others are neglected by family or nursing home personnel. And many others fall prey to scam artists who specifically target the most vulnerable among us.
In many instances, seniors are either too embarrassed to report these events, or are unsure about how they can secure justice. An elder law attorney can often help these seniors obtain the protection they deserve and ensure that the appropriate authorities are alerted to the problem. Seniors and their families should never just accept this type of treatment, no matter how commonplace it might be in society today. With the right lawyer’s help, they can resist the abuse, fight back against fraud, and end the neglect.
Seniors have a wide range of concerns dealing with end-of-life issues. In addition to Medicaid planning, many require assistance with the creation of sound estate planning strategies that can help to secure their legacies for their loved ones. After all, that’s why so many seniors have saved and invested throughout their lives: to enjoy their retirement years and perhaps have something to leave behind for those they love. Estate planning is a complex process, though, and is best done with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Elder law attorneys often have extensive experience with estate planning as well, since the strategies and concerns involved in both areas of practice are often closely related.
With estate planning, you can provide protection for your assets even as you help them to grow in value over time. For smaller estates, this planning can help to maximize the benefits provided by those assets. For larger estates, a sound plan can minimize concerns about the estate tax, and use trusts and other tools to ensure that estate assets are managed in accordance with the senior’s wishes after death.
Don’t Delay; Get the Help You Need Today!
For residents in and around Indianapolis, there is no denying the very real benefits that an elder law attorney can provide. At Frank & Kraft, Attorneys at Law, our experienced elder law professionals can help guide seniors and their families through many of the most complex issues facing the elderly population in Indiana. We help clients throughout the Indianapolis area obtain the representation and counsel they need to protect both their assets and their interests, with comprehensive solutions tailored to their individual circumstances and unique needs. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one safeguard your interests, contact us at our website or call (317) 684-1100 today.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.