Lawyers who concentrate on legal issues that affect the elderly practice elder law. The primary purpose of elder law planning is to ensure seniors have financial freedom and autonomy through financial planning and the consideration of long term care options. Elder law attorneys are advocates for the elderly and their loved ones.
Like many things in life, Elder Law was born of a specific need and has now become a specific legal area as the average life span and number of senior citizens continues to grow. In fact, there were almost 48 million people over the age of 65 in the U.S. in 2015. Those numbers are estimated to grow to 98 million by 2060.
Aging tends to bring a number of issues to many, and while friends and family can be helpful, having an attorney in your corner who deals specifically in Elder Law and is cognizant of the many challenges faced by seniors, should be considered a wise investment.
Your New York Elder Law attorney can assist you with issues such as long-term care planning, retirement, Medicaid, and health care, as well as other equally important matters. An elder law attorney, by virtue of training, skills, knowledge, and experience, is simply better equipped to handle the financial and emotional needs of the elderly.
At Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC, you will receive insightful, experienced, dedicated counsel on elder law issues, with individualized attention given to each and every client. We craft your solutions carefully, based on your unique situation, using concrete legal strategies to not only help you solve real-life situations but also to give you peace of mind. Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC will ensure your custom legal plan comprehensively addresses your individual situation.
What Does Elder Law Cover?
Generally speaking, elder law covers four concerns which affect the elderly and disabled:
- How senior health issues can affect personal affairs;
- Estate planning and estate administration;
- Long term care issues, including how nursing home care, assisted living, or home health aides will be paid for, should the need arise, and
- Special needs planning.
More specifically, the following are some areas an experienced elder law attorney can help you with:
- Estate planning, including preparation of wills and trusts;
- Probate issues;
- Making decisions on behalf of an elderly loved one;
- The creation of a Durable Power of Attorney as they relate to a senior citizen or disabled individual;
- Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other government benefits;
- Long term care planning issues;
- Medicaid applications for home care and nursing home care;
- Health care;
- Housing opportunities for the elderly;
- Inheritance, administration and general management of a decedent’s estate;
- Taxes which can affect senior citizens, including estate taxes, real estate taxes and gift taxes;
- Disability benefits;
The Cost of Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care
No one ever wants to think about the possibility of having to live in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, yet more than half (52 percent) of those turning 65 will need some level of long-term care services during their lifetime. High net worth people will likely self-fund the costs of long-term care, while those without significant financial assets will rely on Medicaid to provide long-term care. In between these two groups are those with some financial assets, but likely not enough to fund long-term care outlay at the end of their lives. This group could find their available long-term care choices limited—and rather unappealing. Traditional, long-term care insurance could be purchased, although premium hikes are likely as we age.
This is likely due to better health care among the more affluent, as well as better nutrition. According to the New York Department of Health, the annual estimated average nursing home rate in 2018 was $156,636 on Long Island, and $147,828 in New York City. Home health care in the state of New York is also expensive, with the average cost in 2011 at $20 per hour; today the costs are even greater.
The Many Ways Planning Can Make a Difference in Your Future
It is important to note that these numbers are not nearly as frightening when you have made solid plans for your golden years! There are a number of ways that allow you to protect your assets in the best way possible. There are also additional ways to pay for nursing home, assisted living, and home care.
When you have an experienced New York elder law attorney by your side, he or she can help you determine the extent that government programs, such as Medicaid may be able to defray the costs associated with your future care. You may also be able to place your assets where they are protected and can help you set up alternative plans to pay for your future care.
Should your health deteriorate to the point that you are incapable of managing your own affairs—financial, legal, or business—you will also take comfort in having a plan in place which allocates that responsibility to a person of your choice—someone you trust. An Elder Law attorney can help you prepare a Power of Attorney that will authorize a person of your choice to assist you with legal and financial matters when you have difficulty managing your own affairs.
A Power of Attorney prepared by an Elder Law attorney will include additional specific provisions that will enable the person of your choice to proceed with planning that will preserve your assets while accessing benefits to cover your long-term care needs. Finally, your Elder Law attorney can assist you with the entire estate planning process, and assist you with a will, a trust, or a health care directive, a Power of Attorney, and additional documents that may be needed in your plan.
How We Can Help You with All Your Elder Care Needs
For many, the time to begin planning for your future is now—it is impossible to know where our lives will take us, and what we will need in our senior years, but comprehensive elder planning can take into consideration a number of possible scenarios. Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC, is one of the top-rated law firms in the state of New York, serving Long Island residents, as well as all five boroughs of New York City.
Home visits and evening appointments are available when you choose Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC; when you make that first call, an intake team will obtain some preliminary information about your particular issue, then will set up a consultation. When you meet with Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, more information will be gathered, relevant documents reviewed, and a recommendation will be given, taking into consideration your specific objectives. Contact Esther Schwartz Zelmanovitz, PLLC, today for an evaluation of your future needs.