When Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

When Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

Many believe that you only need an elder law attorney when you are over the age of 65. However, an individual must begin planning early for his or her future.

An experienced elder law attorney can provide important legal counsel to help individuals to protect their assets from long term care costs, provide valuable counsel when planning for long-term care for aging individuals, and provide guidance and strategies for minimizing inheritance and estate taxes.

With age, the physical and cognitive health of an individual deteriorates, and crucial decisions need to be addressed. Therefore, it is imperative for individuals to have critical legal documents developed, such as a Will, Durable Financial Power of Attorney, and Medical Directives, before they reach the age of 65.

Navigating Medicaid

Medicaid is an excellent government benefit, but the application process can be complicated and confusing. An elder law attorney can guide an individual through a Medicaid application and protect as many assets as the Medicaid laws permit.

For instance, to qualify for Medicaid in New Jersey, an individual can only possess $2,000 in assets. An experienced elder law attorney can create a strategy to transfer an individual’s assets to his or her spouse or a loved one, or provide counsel on how to spend down his or her assets in order to qualify for Medicaid, while also helping an individual avoid potential tax issues or financial penalties.

Planning for Long-Term Care

As individuals age, they may seek out an elder law attorney to help them with long term care. An attorney can create a comprehensive plan that addresses the needs of individuals as they age and help them to protect assets and make important decisions regarding their future.

If not planned adequately and well in advance, long-term care can be very costly. A knowledgeable attorney can help individuals make wise decisions to ensure individuals are equipped for what is ahead.

Minimizing Death and Estate Taxes

An experienced elder law attorney can also advise aging individuals on ways to minimize inheritance and estate taxes. Estate taxes, if applicable, are assessed on an estate based on the value of the estate. Inheritance taxes are assessed based on the relationship between the decedent and the beneficiary. Thus, it’s important to understand how Estate Taxes and Inheritance Taxes may be assessed on your estate.

If you have not yet set up a robust estate plan or consulted with an elder law attorney and you are over the age of 65, now is the time. Contact our office to set up a consultation and learn how we may be helpful to you at 856-782-8450 or [email protected].

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