Many people who call our office want their problems solved immediately. This isn’t uncommon for lawyers. Typically people call us when the level of crisis in their life has reached a point where they need help, and they need help now.
And that’s why I wrote this article – to help you understand our process and the timeline you can expect for us to be able to help you.
The primary aim of most of our clients is to protect their life savings because someone in their family is either already in a nursing facility, or will be entering a nursing facility in the very near future. This person could be a spouse, parent, or sibling.
They might have $50,000 that they want to protect, or several million that they want to protect.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter how much money the client has… the process we follow is the same for all of our clients.
Here is that process in a nutshell.
Step 1: The Meet and Greet
This is the first step of the process. It’s a 30-60 minute meeting for us to sit down and get to know one another. We will determine whether we can help you in your situation, and you will determine whether you like us. If there is a fit, we will explain our process and the next steps.
During this meeting, we will answer basic questions about how we can protect your assets, but we typically will not have enough information to answer substantive legal questions. The legal issues surrounding this type of planning are complicated and very fact-dependent. If we have incomplete or bad information, it would cloud our advice at this point.
Step 2: Information Gathering
Assuming there is a good fit and we decide to work together, the next step is to gather all the information we will need to provide you with a substantive analysis of your situation and corresponding legal recommendations and advice.
If this is a crisis planning case (i.e. someone has already entered a nursing home or will be entering a facility within 90 days), then we will work with you to expedite this part of the process.
The information we require to complete this step of the process typically includes:
- A completed financial worksheet and questionnaire from our office
- A full list of bank, investment, and retirement accounts
- The past five years of bank statements (crisis planning only)
- Current income information and your most recent tax return
- Information concerning your real property holdings, including current valuations and mortgage debts
This list is just a start. Once we are hired, we will provide you with a full list of required documents.
Step 3: Analysis and Recommendations
Once we have enough information to adequately assess your case we will review this information and provide you with an in-depth family asset protection letter.
This letter will contain detailed information about all of your current income and assets, relevant personal information, your budgeting needs, our analysis of your situation, and finally, our legal recommendations.
We will then schedule a follow-up meeting to review our analysis and recommendations. At this meeting, we will begin to discuss the next stage of the process, implementation of the recommendations.
Step 4: Implementation
At this point, we will begin to implement the plan. For crisis planning cases, this means that we will make sure that all appropriate recommendations have been followed, and then we will prepare and file a Medicaid Application on your behalf once your loved one meets the financial requirements to get approved.
In proactive planning cases, we will begin to design and draft all required documents to implement our recommendations. This typically takes approximately 4 weeks between designing the plan and signing the final documents.
In very rare cases, a guardianship may be necessary before any implementation can be undertaken. If this is the case, we will discuss that during the initial meet and greet meeting.
Step 5: Follow-Up and Review
Once we have implemented the plan, that is just the beginning of our relationship with you. In the coming months and years, we will stay in contact with you and provide ongoing legal advice and guidance, depending on your needs and personal situation.
Feel free to use this link to schedule a no-risk phone conference with our office. During that call, we will talk about your needs and let you know whether we can help you. Alternatively, you can call us directly at (919) 460-5422.