The term “Elder Law” generally refers to a variety of legal issues that commonly affect the elderly. Clients seeking an Elder Law attorney are often looking for someone to help them plan for disability and subsequent nursing home care, including planning for Medicaid or VA benefits. Those seeking help from an Elder Law attorney may also be facing legal issues involving estate planning, asset protection, guardianships and conservatorships, and even elder abuse.
Long Term Care Planning
Planning for long-term care can be stressful—especially when it becomes clear that you or a loved one is going to need long-term medical care in the immediate future. Whether you need immediate assistance obtaining nursing home care, or you are proactively planning to ensure you have access to quality care in the distant future, the Elder Law attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group can help you understand your options.
For many elderly individuals, Medicaid benefits may be available to help cover the costs of long-term care. In Arizona, those benefits are administered through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), specifically through a program called the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). To be eligible for ALTCS benefits, an applicant must meet both financial and medical criteria. Understanding these criteria—especially for financial eligibility—can be very confusing. In some cases, simple transfers, such as gifts to family members, can cause significant delays or “penalty periods” before an applicant is eligible for ALTCS benefits. The Elder Law attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group are familiar with these rules and can help you plan ahead before you apply for ALTCS benefits.
Additionally, those who have served (or spouses of those who have served) in a branch of the U.S. military, may qualify for long-term care benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In many cases, even those who are not otherwise eligible for a VA pension, may still be eligible for long-term care benefits. If you have questions about whether you or a loved one might qualify for VA long-term care benefits, the Elder Law attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group can help you understand your options.
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Estate Planning & Asset Protection
Regardless of whether or not you will be seeking government benefits as a means of paying for long-term care, it is important to consider estate planning and asset protection options when planning for the future. Everyone should learn about the best ways to ensure that their assets are protected for themselves and their loved ones for future generations.
Asset protection strategies often include the use of Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Wills, Business Succession Plans, Limited Liability Companies, Family Limited Partnerships, and more. The Elder Law attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group can help answer questions and provide sound advice on the best ways to implement these kinds of strategies into your estate plan.
For more information about our Estate Planning services, click here.
When a person is no longer capable of taking care of himself or herself, a court can appoint a Guardian and/or Conservator to act on behalf of that person. Guardians and Conservators have a legal duty to act in the best interest of the incapacitated person (generally referred to as a “ward”).
A Guardian is specifically appointed to look after and make decisions for the individual ward—including decisions on ward’s living arrangements, medical care, and general well-being.
A conservator is specifically appointed to look after and make decisions in connection with the ward’s assets.
There are a variety of factors that the courts will consider when appointing a Guardian and/or Conservator—but the most important factor is always the best interest of the ward.
If you have any questions about Guardianships and Conservatorships, the attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group can help. You can also learn more about Guardianships and Conservatorships by clicking here.
Sadly, Elder Abuse is a common problem in Arizona. Although Elder Abuse can take many forms, it is always a serious issue. In many cases, the law provides special protection for elderly individuals who suffer abuse. To understand your options, it is important to talk to an attorney.
Sometimes caretakers, friends, and even family members steal or embezzle funds from vulnerable adults. Other times, elderly individuals are pressured to make decisions that are not in their own best interest. These cases almost always cause significant emotional distress and financial strain, and sometimes the abuse can be physical, too.
If you or a loved one has experienced elder abuse, you should contact an attorney immediately. Where abuse has already occurred, and especially if it is continually occurring, an Elder Law Attorney can help you understand your options and may be able to help resolve outstanding issues. For example, if a vulnerable adult is being pressured into making financial decisions that are not in that adult’s best interest, it may be necessary to appoint a Conservator to help manage assets. Similarly, if the vulnerable adult is suffering because of a lack of proper care, it may be possible to appointed a Guardian who can help make important medical and/or nursing home care decisions. In some cases, it may also be necessary to bring a law suit against the perpetrator of any abuse.
It is also important to keep in mind that certain planning strategies can help eliminate the potential for future abuse.
To learn more about these options, or if you have any questions about the elder abuse, please contact the attorneys at the Gunderson Law Group.
1400 E. Southern Ave. Suite 850
Tempe, AZ 85282
Office: (480) 750-7337
3960 Howard Hughes Parkway #500-A
Las Vegas, NV 89169