In recent decades, the population of older adults in the United States has grown dramatically. That increase created the need for a new area of the law that specifically addresses the legal needs of the elderly and those who care for them. A primary focus of elder law attorneys is making sure people plan for the high cost of long-term care. Frequently, that means incorporating Medicaid planning into an estate plan because Medicaid will help cover the expenses associated with long-term care. At Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC we understand the unique needs of older adults and caregivers as well as the importance of planning for Medicaid eligibility.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder law is a relatively new area of the law that evolved to meet the legal needs of the elderly and their caregivers. Instead of focusing on one narrow area of the law (such as divorce or criminal law), an elder law attorney focuses on the unique way in which a variety of legal issues impact the elderly. Examples of legal issues for which you might seek the assistance of an elder law attorney include:
- Estate planning
- Petitioning for, or objecting to, guardianship
- Retirement planning
- Housing discrimination
- Applying for, or appealing a denial of, veteran’s benefits
- Preparing advance directives
What Is Medicaid Planning?
In the United States we can all look forward to living much longer than our ancestors did just a few generations ago. The longer you live, however, the better the odds are that you will eventually need long-term care. If you do not plan for the high cost of that care, your assets could be at risk if you do end up in long-term care. As a senior you will probably depend on Medicare to pay for the majority of your healthcare costs; however, Medicare will not cover long-term care expenses. If you continue to benefit from private health insurance as a senior, you will likely find that it also excludes long-term care costs. Fortunately, Medicaid does cover expenses related to long-term care, but you must first qualify for benefits. Medicaid looks at both your income and your “countable resources” when determining eligibility. If your resources exceed the limit (often as low as $2,000) your application will be denied. Medicaid planning uses legal tools and strategies to protect your assets while also making sure you will be eligible for Medicaid if you need it in the future.
Medicaid and Elder Law Resources
Texas Health and Human Services – Programs for Seniors and Aging
Your Texas Benefits – Apply for Medicaid and other programs
Texas Health and Human Services – Nursing Facilities (list of accredited facilities)
Texas Health and Human Services – Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The Medicaid and elder law planning attorneys at Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC look forward to helping you with your elder law & Medicaid planning needs. Contact our office today by calling 512-258-9455 or filling out our online contact form.