Why Would an Elder Law Attorney Tell You not to Protect Your Assets from Long-term Care?

Finding the right elder law attorney in Michigan can be a difficult task because each elder law attorney has a different approach to planning for long-term care and the devastating cost of nursing home care.  It is important to work with a Certified Elder Law Attorney that will present ALL the options of planning for the second half of life, not just Medicaid Crisis Planning (there’s more than just tomatoes when it comes to planning for long-term care).

Very early in my practice as an elder law attorney, we focused on Veterans Benefits and ways to keep people out of a nursing home versus most of the elder law attorneys at the time really only helped families engage in Medicaid Crisis Planning, meaning they wouldn’t help a family until a loved one was in a nursing home.Our practice grew quickly because most families didn’t want to be “shoved into a nursing home” like many of the elder law attorneys were advocating. Instead we would focus on keeping people out of the nursing home, utilizing tools like the VA Benefit to pay for care at home. Many of the other elder law attorneys were sticking to their guns of only doing Medicaid Crisis Planning (which we also do), but they were blind to the asset protection strategies that could be used for home care, assisted living and pre-planning for needing nursing home care.

Asset Protection Planning at The Elder Care Firm

In our office, we focus on the Elder Care Journey where families start out needing care at home, then care in independent or assisted living, then nursing home care. Then we find ways to plan for and protect there resources whether they are needing care now, or in the future.

Our goal for clients is to “have your ducks in a row” because trying to operate from crisis and do things at the last minute only benefits the “Crisis Planning Attorney.” Why? Because the Medicaid Crisis Planning Lawyer can charge fees ranging from $12,000-$25,000! That is quite a bit of money, I am not saying it’s a bad investment, but if that fee can reduced with a better outcome, doesn’t it make sense to explore planning ahead of time?

My clients are savers and planners. They don’t want to need nursing home care, or any form of long-term care, but they are not going to put there head in the sand and ignore the fact that they may need long-term care and that long-term care may include nursing home care. They would rather plan and protect their assets, than rely on the state’s loopholes at the last minute and pay a Crisis Medicaid Lawyer 1-3 times the cost of a nursing home in fees to protect maybe half of the assets.

That said, we do Medicaid Crisis planning. We have too. There are people who do not plan ahead.

Elder Law Lawyers that Focus Only on Medicaid Crisis Planning

In fact, we’ve had to do Medicaid Crisis Planning for clients who had met with an elder law attorney 5 years prior and only updated their powers of attorney. When the clients asked “why didn’t the elder law attorney recommend a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust” that could have protected the family, I had to share that not all attorneys are created equal and that some elder care lawyers have different approaches.

So, instead of advising a client on the pre-planning options and possibly setting up a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (maybe the attorney doesn’t know how to do this in a way that offers flexibility…) the family ends up having to engage in messy Medicaid Crisis Planning where only 50% of the assets are protected instead of 100% of the assets if they had utilized a trust.

Let me reiterate that point one more time. BECAUSE THE FAMILY DID NOT PRE-PLAN FOR LONG-TERM CARE THEY LOST 50% OF THEIR ASSETS WHEN THEY COULD HAVE PROTECTED IT. Because the elder law attorney they worked with initially focues entirely on Medicaid Crisis Planning (tomato), the clients were not even aware that they could engage in pre-planning.

It’s all about presenting all the options and giving clients options when it comes to estate planning, elder law, and long-term care planning.

Estate and Elder Law is Confusing, We Offer Guidance

The rules for estate planning and elder law can be confusing. Throw in Medicaid and Veterans Benefits and Tax Rules and Gifting Rules and Retirement Planning Strategies…..woooo.

At The Elder Care Firm our focus is on education. We want our clients well educated as they make choices as they plan for their second half of life. For that reason we offer weekly LifeCare Planning Workshops where clients can plan for their second half of life, whatever that second half of life might hold.

Medicaid Crisis Planning Lawyers Hide The Ball

Medicaid Crisis Planning lawyers typically are the opposite where they “hide the ball” so-to-speak. They won’t help families plan for or protect their assets until they are in crisis, where clients won’t bat an eye paying two-three times the cost of a nursing home to try to protect half of their assets through using the loop holes and last minute planning strategies of the Medicaid rulebook.

Typically, Medicaid Crisis Planning Lawyers will not know much about Veterans Benefits because they are too focused on Medicaid Crisis Planning and they do not fully understand the use of trusts and the planning possibilities that involve qualifying for the VA Benefit and pre-planning for Medicaid.

Instead of helping clients get their ducks in a row and putting together a true plan for the second half of life, they wait until the clients are in a long-term care crisis, then they can swoop in save the day (at a hefty fee).

What is a True LifeCare Plan?

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A real LifeCare Plan is PLAN for your second-half of life and a plan that protects against the threats to a safe, secure retirement…including long-term care costs. In our weekly workshops we talk about what happens if you pass away and what happens if you don’t, continue to live, and face all the issues that go along with it.

We try to educated our clients on ALL of the options, not just telling them to contact us in a Medicaid Crisis.  Don’t just be force fed a tomato, when there are more vegetables out there.

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