Should You Pay a Lawyer for an Initial Family Law Consultation?

initial divorce assessment

You will be hard pressed to find a lawyer that doesn’t charge for an initial divorce consultation, or initial divorce assessment as we call it. And there is a simple reason for that – first, if we didn’t charge for this meeting our days would be spent meeting with lots of prospective clients that are looking for free legal advice, but have no intention of actually hiring a lawyer. Second, many spouses would meet with every lawyer in their area in an attempt to “conflict out” any lawyer their spouse would try to go visit. So yes, most family 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 […]

2018 North Carolina Medicaid and Special Assistance Rates

Here is a quick rundown of the current Medicaid and Special Assistance Rates in North Carolina as of January 1, 2018. Some other areas of this website may provide different numbers – these are the current and updated rates as of May 2018. Thank you to Bob Mason for compiling this information in this original post. Medicaid Monthly divisor: $6,300 (eff 12/1/11 – remains effective as of 1/1/18) Community Spouse Resource Allowance (effective 1/1/18) Minimum $24,720 Maximum $123,600 Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (effective 7/1/17) Base $2,030 Shelter Standard $609 Standard Utility Allowance $374 Dependent Allowance $677 Special Assistance Base […]

Will Medicaid Count My IRA as an Available Asset When Applying for Long Term Care Benefits for My Spouse?

medicaid count retirement

A frequent question we get is to what extent Medicaid will count retirement accounts, such as IRA’s and 401(k)’s when one spouse is applying for long-term care benefits on behalf of their spouse who requires skilled nursing care. The simple answer is that yes, Medicaid does count your retirement account assets when you are applying for benefits on behalf of your spouse. However, there are some (rare) exceptions to this rule. Here is what the NC Medicaid Manual says about how to count retirement assets: “Exclude a retirement account if the funds cannot be withdrawn in a lump sum payment. […]

How to Pay for an Assisted Living Facility in North Carolina?

assisted living facility in North Carolina

While many North Carolina Seniors cannot live independently at home, they still do not need the round the clock care that a skilled nursing facility provides. For these individuals, an assisted living facility may be the best option. An assisted living facility will allow the residents to live independently, but still provide some assistance where necessary. The typical cost of an assisted living facility in North Carolina is anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, which is much lest than the average cost of a skilled nursing home. However, even though assisted living is not as expensive, Medicaid will not pay for […]

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 […]

Do You Need an Estate Plan?

do you need an estate plan

It’s been awhile since I wrote about a question as simple as “do you need an estate plan?” However, yesterday I received a call from a potential client who was frustrated because his wife of 40 years needed to be hospitalized and the doctors and staff at the hospital would not provide him with any information about her condition. The problem was that even though they were married, his Wife hadn’t signed a healthcare power of attorney or a HIPAA release authorizing this man to review any of his Wife’s medical records or even talk to her doctors. Because he […]

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 […]