What Is Elder Law?
The practice of elder law encompasses estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, and, in Los Angeles County, Medi-Cal planning. As we and our family members age, there comes a time when we must decide to consult with a life care attorney so that we can begin to make the important plans for what will happen to our children, spouses, and assets after we pass away or become unable to handle our own affairs.
Probate is the court process of sorting through a deceased person’s estate, establishing heirs, distributing assets, and paying off debts. When a loved one dies, there are options for avoiding the costly and timely process of probate, but only if proper estate planning takes place well before death. A life planning and elder law attorney can advise you and your loved ones on the use of trusts and other instruments to avoid probate and eliminate some of the stress that your family will have to go through after you are gone.
At a certain point in life, many people find themselves in a situation where their loved one is in need of long term nursing home care. The average cost of nursing home care in California is $8,000 per month. Therefore, many California residents require the help of Medi-Cal coverage to finance this type of long term care. However, Medi-Cal sets forth a list of very strict income and asset limitations that you must comply with, in order to qualify for the program.
If you or your loved one has not properly planned for the day when Medi-Cal coverage and nursing home care is required, you may not qualify for Medi-Cal or you may find yourself losing most of your assets in order to qualify. This does not have to be the case. The Medi-Cal planning and elder law attorneys at The Estate Planning Law Center in Los Angeles County can help you set up your assets and income far in advance, so that you can qualify for Medi-Cal while still preserving as many of your assets and as much of your income as possible.
Do I Really Need An Elder Law Attorney?
Probate and elder law are extremely complicated areas of law with incredibly precise and inflexible rules and regulations. In many jurisdictions in California, it is not even permitted for a person to attempt to file a probate case without an elder law attorney due to the amount of timely mistakes that are unavoidable for any person without proper legal training.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of facing a loved one’s urgent need for nursing home care and you can’t afford to spend $8,000 on it each month, you need professional help. The ins and outs of Medi-Cal planning, especially when it has not been handled far in advance, require a very skilled California elder law attorney. The fact is, you are very unlikely to be taken seriously by a nursing home or by Medi-Cal without one.