About the Practice

Elder Law and Special Needs Planning–

Are you prepared?

The first role of an Elder Law and Special Needs Trust attorney is that of counselor-at-law.  In the “old” days, Attorney and Counselor-at-Law was the common moniker for lawyers.  The title emphasized the need to adequately and appropriately evaluate each client/family situation before options were identified.  Elder Law and Special Needs Planning includes public benefit qualification, especially planning for Medicaid eligibility; planning for incapacity, including documents needed during the client’s lifetime in the event of incapacity (these would include a Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters; a Power of Attorney for Medicaid Care, a/k/a “Advance Directive”; pre-need guardian designation and other related documents).  We must evaluate the need for traditional estate planning, too:  Last Wills and Testament, Revocable Trusts, Deeds, existing Marital Agreement, whether pre or post-nuptial.  The next step in planning is implementation:  drafting documents, reviewing information, consulting with the clients to assure that everyone is on the same track.

The goal:

Creation of a plan with an identifiable result which reflects the known wishes of the client – public benefit eligibility, financial protection of family members with disabilities, guardianship, grants of authority to others to make financial and/or medical decisions in the event of incapacity, educating first families and blended families (as appropriate).

The tools:

  • Medicaid asset and income adjustments
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Revocable and other trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Matters
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Medical Decisions/Advance Directives
  • Pre-Need Guardianship Designations
  • Letters of Intent
  • Representative Payee designations
  • Beneficiary designations on life insurance polices, retirement accounts, and other contractual documents
  • Supported Decision Making Agreements
  • Public Benefits 
  • Deeds of real property (Lady Bird Deeds, Warranty Deeds, Transfer on Death Deeds)

It’s important to understand each aspect of a client’s plan, and for the clients to review documents, consider the choice of decision makers, think through his or her current financial situation and ultimately to tie all of this together into a lifetime plan.  After death, implementation of the client’s wishes continues as the terms of Wills, Trusts and Deeds are implemented.