Elder Law

Why Should You Hire an Elder Law Attorney?

Why Should You Hire an Elder Law Attorney_

Why should someone hire an elder law attorney is a question that I get with a great deal of frequency. Many prospective clients want to know what benefit they will get by hiring an elder law attorney, and whether the cost to do so makes it worthwhile. This is a completely valid question and we try to be as open and honest as we can with our clients about the benefits and drawbacks of engaging a lawyer to assist with elder law needs. But before we get into those needs, it’s really important for people to have a full understanding […]

What is the Timeline to Apply for Medicaid and Spend Down Assets?

timeline to apply for medicaid

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “what is the timeline to apply for Medicaid and do the spend down?” In other words, once we have a plan in place, how does this whole process work? There are basically 5 stages to the process of applying for Medicaid. Here’s a quick overview: Pre-planning Find and move into a facility Begin spending down assets Apply for Medicaid Get approved Clients who come to see us for what we call “crisis planning” are typically in one of the first 3 stages, although it’s possible and highly likely that they […]

6 Things to Know before you Submit an Application for Medicaid in North Carolina

application for medicaid

Do you have a parent or spouse who may need to enter a nursing home within the next five years? If so, you need to read on to prepare yourself for helping them to possibly submit an application for Medicaid in North Carolina. What’s the big deal you ask? An application for Medicaid is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks simple, but if you don’t know what you are doing and you don’t understand the rules, it could quite literally eat you alive. Here are six things you need to be aware of before submitting your application for Medicaid […]

What is a Wealth Preservation Trust and Why is it Important?

wealth preservation trust

One of the greatest tools available to estate planning and elder law attorneys is the irrevocable Wealth Preservation Trust. If you are like me when I first heard about this type of trust, you are probably thinking “that sounds cool, what is it?” Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what an irrevocable Wealth Preservation Trust is, let’s take a minute to go over who could most benefit from using a trust like this as part of their overall estate plan. Who Should Consider Using a Wealth Preservation Trust? If I’m meeting with a new potential client and […]

What is the Cost of Failing to Plan?

failing to plan

Yesterday I met with a client who had hired me to help him to determine how to navigate the minefield that is Medicaid Planning for his mother. I had already drafted a family asset protection letter for him, outlining the specific facts of his mother’s situation and providing various strategies for him to consider. It was interesting to see the lightbulb come on somewhere in the middle of this meeting as I was explaining my recommendations. The reason I say that is because at the very first meeting I had with this individual, he was adamant that he didn’t want […]

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina

Paying for Nursing Home Care

One of the harsh realities of life is that if you live long enough, at some point you may need move into a long-term care facility, otherwise known as a “skilled nursing facility”. The cost of these facilities can be downright crippling to most families. At a typical cost of between $6,500 to $10,000 per month ($78,000 to $120,000 per year), a lifetime of savings can be lost in just a few short years at one of these facilities. As a result, one of the most common questions I get from potential clients and my trusted referral partners is simply […]

What is a Ladybird Deed?

Ladybird Deed in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows individuals to use Ladybird Deeds to protect their personal residence. But what is a Ladybird Deed anyway, and how do you know if you need one? One of the best ways to explain a Ladybird Deed is to use a simple hypothetical. The Story of Bill and Mary Bill and Mary are an elderly couple. Bill is 75 and has survived several heart attacks. Mary is 77 and has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many years ago, Bill and Mary drew up what are commonly called “sweetheart wills”. This […]

What are the Different Types of Senior Care Communities?

senior care communities

As people age, they aren’t always able to stay in the home they’ve lived in for many years. It could be that their home is too big, requires too much maintenance, or has just become too expensive to live in. Or perhaps they decide to move closer to children or other family members who can provide them with much-needed help and assistance. When we are talking to our clients about the different types of senior communities, there are four main types of communities available to our senior population. When making a decision to help a loved one move into a […]

The Importance of Planning this Holiday Season

The Importance of Planning this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. Between spending time with my family and friends, eating some good food, enjoying a nice glass of wine and maybe even watching some football, it really doesn’t get any better for me. Here is a quick video I did today to talk more about why I love Thanksgiving, and why the planning that we do to prepare for this holiday makes it flow so smoothly. For those of you that would rather read, here is the full transcript! Why I Love Thanksgiving… Hey everyone. Jim Hart here, and today I want to […]

5 Things You Must Do if You or a Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Disease

diagnosed with alzheimer's

During the past several weeks, I’ve received several calls from prospective clients who have been thrust into the role of caregiver for a family member that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My experience with Alzheimer’s Disease is limited – my family has primarily been the target of cancer, so Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are not something I have first-hand experience with. However, during college, I did work as a nurse’s aide at a nursing home for several years. Honestly, this was some of the most rewarding work I ever did as an undergraduate. I assisted and got to […]