Serving Clients Across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
Elder Law is an aspect of estate planning focusing primarily on the needs of families and individuals as they age. A Certified Elder Law Attorney can help clients plan and qualify for VA Pension to help offset the cost of assisted living or memory care services and Nursing Home Medicaid if long-term nursing home care is needed. Other Elder Law needs may include Advance Directives, Guardianship, and Trust Planning.
Attorneys practicing Elder Law can earn Certification from the National Elder Law Foundation.
Senior Housing & Long-Term Care Options
The Long-Term Care Dilemma
As our population ages, more and more of us confront elder law-related issues, whether for ourselves or our loved ones. One of the most pressing issues is finding and paying for quality long-term care, which is not covered by traditional Medicare. Last year, the average cost in Dallas, Texas for a private room in a skilled nursing facility was $108,405. The average length of stay is slightly more than two years for men, and over 3 and a half years for women. The cost of Assisted Living and Memory Care is close to, and sometimes exceeding that cost. Most people end up paying for nursing home care until their personal (or family) assets are depleted, then they may qualify for Medicaid to pick up the cost.
Careful planning can help protect your assets, whether for your spouse or for your children. The belt-and-suspenders approach is to purchase long-term care insurance while you are healthy enough to qualify, and to make sure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled under Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program subject to certain federal requirements. Each state implements its own regulations on how the program is managed. In Texas, Medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care for those who qualify, but provides very little coverage for in-home care or assisted living care. Qualifying for Texas Nursing Home Medicaid can be extremely difficult. But paying for a nursing home without it could be all but impossible.
We assist seniors and their families in making the tough decisions regarding long-term care planning, including whether Medicaid eligibility may be an option.
The Veteran’s Administration has a program for war-time veterans who meet certain criteria, which provides a monthly pension to help offset the cost of personal care assistance. The veteran must have served during a “period of war” as defined by the VA, and can not have been dishonorably discharged. The veteran must need regular assistance with at least two “Activities of Daily Living” – bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, or walking. The veteran must also meet income and asset limits. Certified Elder Law Attorneys are knowledgeable about the specific requirements of this program and can help applicants qualify.
Another area where Elder Law Attorneys can be especially helpful is in avoiding Guardianship. Whether from dementia, stroke, brain injury, or other causes, there can be serious consequences when someone lacks capacity to make important decisions.
A Certified Elder Law Attorney can put a plan in place in case of incapacity. This may include:
- a Durable Financial Power of Attorney naming an Agent to make financial decisions,
- a Power of Attorney for Healthcare naming an Agent to make medical decisions,
- a Living Will or Directive to Physicians indicating your care wishes,
- a General HIPAA Authorization allowing your medical team to speak with those you choose, and
- a Trust, or Trusts, depending on your circumstances.
Contact our office today to ensure you have the right plan to address these Elder Law issues.