Like many Fra Noi readers, my parents came from Italy (Rende, Calabria). When I was growing up, I was surrounded by parents, grandparents, and many uncles and aunts. This is a privilege that few cultures cherish as much as the Italian Americans.
Because respect for elders was something that was impressed upon us at such a young age, it was not very difficult to feel responsibility for the seniors in our family as we all grew older. I suspect that has a great deal to do with why I find myself in the practice of elder law today, or as I call it “senior estate planning” or “longevity planning”.
As an attorney and CPA with a master’s in taxation and a significant background in trusts and estate law, tax law and public benefits knowledge, I have found that the one area in which I can bring all of those skills to bear is in the area of elder law.
The challenges facing our seniors right now are many, and knowledge of these are critical to assisting our seniors in aging gracefully and in peace as long as possible. Our passion as elder law attorneys is providing a law practice that creates solutions for senior citizen taxpayers to enable them to avoid the devastating cost of long-term care late in life.
In our current practice, we address the three phases of life: maturing years, senior years and post-death years for all of our clients. We do traditional estate planning, senior estate planning and Medicaid asset protection planning for nursing home long-term care, as well as post-death trust and estate administration (i.e. probate). We like to refer to ourselves as Lawyers for Life’s Phases.
Unfortunately, some seniors make the mistake of assuming that it is either too early or too late to plan for long-term care. Nothing could be further from the truth. In any of life’s phases, there is always planning that can be done.
In future columns, I will discuss how planning in your senior years breaks down into three types: proactive planning, wait-and-see planning and crisis planning. Even if you are not a senior, you probably have a family member or friend who is.
In my forthcoming columns for this wonderful publication, I will share with you some of the “secrets” that we use at my law firm to allow our clients, most of whom are seniors, to stay at home longer, remain with family and eventually obtain some governmental assistance for care, often without having to lose their home and leave their family without a dime.
We will provide you with guidance on what you are to do during the three phases of your life and the three phases of your senior years.
We will also talk in future columns about the following topics:
- What to do when your loved one exhibits signs of dementia.
- Steps you must take to minimize the devastating costs of long-term care.
- How to obtain VA benefits for your aid and attendance if you are a veteran.
- How to select an in-home caregiver.
- How to select an assisted living facility or independent living facility.
- How to select a nursing home.
- Steps you must take to protect your assets from nursing home spend down.
- How to deal with the new and tougher federal and state rules regarding taxpayer-public benefits.
- Qualifying for governmental benefits that can keep you at home longer and eventually allow you to get the skilled care that you may need without losing your home, going broke and leaving your family without a dime.
- The wisdom of long-term care insurance and what you should know about it.
It’s a privilege for me to join the other columnists who have graced these pages in sharing ideas with you. I hope you look forward to reading my columns as much as I look forward to thinking about them and writing them!