When do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

When should I begin looking for elder law services and Medi-Cal planning? It is never too early to begin Medi-Cal planning for your future or that of a family member. In fact, if you postpone planning for too long, then it may be too late. Laws may take effect in the future that can prevent you from effective long term care planning. Medi-Cal may not be in existence once the baby boomers reach nursing home age. The sooner you consult an elder law attorney the better!

Just What is Elder Law?

Elder law is a relatively new term that has only been around approximately 25 years. Some may think they know what it is, others have never heard of an elder law attorney, so let us discuss the definition and explain what benefits an elder law attorney offers.

Elder law in California is a general term for the many legal areas regarding senior legal services and the elderly or senior population. An elder law attorney in California is a lawyer who specializes in the following:

  • Advanced planning to protect assets, primarily real estate and financial investments that a person has earned, so that these assets do not prevent an aging individual from qualifying for benefits.
  • Understanding and implementing the best possible services available for an aging or incapacitated person.
  • Successfully guiding one through elder law services and navigating the Medi-Cal long term care system to qualify the person for benefits.
  • Sheltering assets, minimizing taxes, preventing Medi-Cal recovery that could result in a forced sale or loss of home equity due to the government lien.

Expert Elder Law Services

As an experienced Los Angeles California elder law attorney, Alice Salvo provides senior legal services to help you protect your loved one. The firm is also one of the best providers of senior legal services if you are considering a San Fernando Valley attorney for elder law. Ms. Salvo holds many impressive credentials and was past President of Southern California Council of Elder Law Attorneys. She also held a very important position on the Gray Squad Advisory Board to the Los Angeles Police Department Van Nuys Division. Many other excellent accomplishments can be seen on our attorney’s page.

An elder law attorney may reposition assets or utilize court proceedings to help a family qualify for long term care in a nursing home while minimizing or eliminating medical bills and expenses, which can otherwise cost around $8,000/month.

When hiring a lawyer, one of the primary goals is to protect the assets of the patient, mainly the home, from a Medi-Cal claim by the State of California after the death of the surviving spouse.

An attorney for elder law may qualify people for Medi-Cal long term nursing home care in these types of situations:

a) 87 year old mother diagnosed with dementia and currently in the hospital. She ownsa home worth $600,000 and has $8,000 in savings. Immediately consulting with a lawyer can protect most of the $608,000!

b) 72 year old mother currently in a nursing home and diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The family needs help and desperately needs to support mom. Mom own a home worth $521,000 and has $282,000 in savings. Elder law services can save most of this family’s $803,000!

c) 81 year old father is in a hospital with terminal cancer. The family’s wish is to have dad be in a long term care facility (nursing home / skilled nursing facility) so dad will get proper care. Father owns a home worth $515,000 and has $38,000 in savings. Using an attorney for elder law prevents this family from losing as much as $553,000!

d) 77 year old mother residing in a Ventura facility. Her daughter would like to move her closer to her near Calabasas. Mother owns a mobile home worth $95,000 and has $115,000 in savings. A lawyer providing senior legal services may save this family up to $210,000!

Don’t get stuck paying a nursing home! In the above examples, our elder law services can save these families thousands of dollars. If you have a similar situation and need elder law services please call today for a free consultation 818-676-9572.

Why Do I Need Medi-Cal?

Usually a person or a family does not want to pay for the stay in a nursing home. At a monthly cost of around $8,000, a nursing home can be a tremendous fiscal burden. To alleviate this situation, you need an experienced elder law attorney. Owing to the complexities of the relevant law, you want someone who’s an expert in elder law; not just a general attorney.

Medi-Cal is the only government program that covers the cost of long term care in a nursing home (also called a skilled nursing facility or SNF). However, after your loved one passes away, Medi-Cal can go after their home and assets to recoup the costs of medical care. An elder law attorney can help you protect your assets from Medi-Cal.

Protecting Your Home

Medi-Cal is a state program paying for nursing home care, hospital, doctor bills, prescriptions and additional medical care. A fact that seniors generally don’t know is the State of California can recover against an estate for all services provided. Even many lawyers that are not elder law attorneys are not aware of this fact. DHCS, an abbreviation for Department of Health Care Services, has an accounting record of all services paid by the Medi-Cal program. After the Medi-Cal recipient dies, the state will go after payment for the price of all services received. DHCS seeks repayment of all expenses. While the person is alive, and either going to a skilled nursing facility or already in the skilled nursing facility, it is urgent that you call an attorney for elder law and learn about elder law services and what to do immediately. Waiting or hesitating can reduce options and be an expensive burden on the family. It can also result in loss of inheritance to adult children.