Schedule Your FREE Estate Planning Consultation OR "Don't Go Broke" Strategy Session

Do I Need a Caregiver Agreement?

By Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Lawyer Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw. 

Familial caregivers are typically compensated according to what the state along with your attorney determines to be “Fair Market Value”.  This may prevent transfers of money from one family member to the next from being counted as gifting or Medicaid spend down, when substantive caregiving services were rendered.

Once your elder law attorney has provided an evidentiary basis to prove that the transfer of assets were for fair market value, they still must demonstrate that the transfer of assets was made for reasons other than to qualify for Medicaid or that the elder receiving the caregiving services intended to pay for the services.

Simply providing verbal assurances that seniors were not considering applying for Medicaid when they transferred assets to the caregiver child is not sufficient proof that the assets were transferred for a reason other than to qualify for Medicaid.

It is important to recognize that anyone applying for nursing home Medicaid benefits is burdened by the presumption that any transfer of assets for less than fair market value is deemed to have been motivated by an intent to impoverish oneself to qualify for Medicaid benefits. While the presumption is rebuttable, those who sit in judgment of the evidence are the employees of the state Medicaid department who do not often rule in favor of the Medicaid applicant. The senior needs to have a written personal-care agreement and extensive supporting documentation.

However, even though the parties to the personal-care agreement may have anticipated being forced to use nursing home Medicaid when and if the senior’s assets become exhausted, that does not preclude them from giving “reliable proof” that the senior intended to receive valuable services in exchange for the transfer of assets.

Hearing officers and judges will examine the senior’s personal-care agreement, looking for reliable proof that the assets were exchanged for valuable services. There is some disagreement as to how specific the written agreement must be, but it is best to make the agreement as specific as possible.

In some states, it may be essential that the personal-care agreement be entered into prior to services being rendered. In other states, those reviewing the contract will be looking for specifics such as how long the services will last, how many hours per week, what standards of services are being provided, and what, if any, provisions provide for a refund.

In some cases, those reviewing the contract may investigate whether the services mentioned in the agreement were actually the services that were performed. Thus, while a valid, written caregiver agreement is a necessity, it is difficult to find a universal standard for what must be included in the agreement.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Our Mission at Law ElderLaw

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the multi-generation law firm Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL. 

Are you aware that a catastrophic illness could wipe out virtually all your financial resources?  What will happen to you if you outlive your money?  You can learn how to protect your life savings and your legacy during our free vision meeting.  Call our office at 800-310-3100 to ask for more information or set up an appointment.

At Law ElderLaw, our mission is to help seniors protect their assets from unnecessary taxes, legal expenses, and the devastating cost of catastrophic healthcare or long-lasting nursing home fees.  Our goal is to make sure your assets will last you a lifetime, and passed on to your loved ones in the most timely and cost-effective manner.

You may be surprised to find that elder law attorneys are of a different breed than other lawyers.

Not only are we familiar with professional resources for you and your loved ones, but we are also ready to provide you with many community resources to help meet your family’s needs.  Serving over 400 Illinois families every year, we have walked this difficult road before and we understand the delicate situations that surround end-of-life planning.

Come in and talk to us, we can help you along this path.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Probate is Pricey – But Can You Avoid It Altogether? Part 2

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the multi-generation law firm Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL.  

In my last installment of this blog, you learned a little about what probate is – and why you’ll likely want to avoid it at all costs!

As you might imagine, if your family is forced to deal with probate for months or years, it can become extremely costly. In addition, what passes through probate is made public record… meaning all your laundry is aired, for better or for worse.

In my office, I have seen too many people fail to plan properly. Unfortunately, the person who failed to plan has not only passed their estate to their loved ones, but they have also passed a huge burden onto their children and/or spouse.

The good news is, with proper documents in place, you can avoid putting that load on the ones you love after you pass.  With planning that is right for your unique situation, you can put your mind at ease that your family will have the best possible outcome when you die.

Always be sure you talk to a qualified Elder Law attorney before you take any steps.  While probate can be expensive and inconvenient, for some it is the best option.  Every person’s circumstances are different.  Make sure you’re making the right choice for your family before you put anything in place.

Call my office at (630) 585-5200 to find out what’s right for your situation.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


A Death Plan vs. a Life Plan

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL.  LEL is a multi-generation law firm.

There are countless lawyers who can help you draw up a will and other papers to tell the courts what to do with your assets when you die.  Just about anyone who has passed the bar exam can write you up a “Death Plan.”  The problem is just that – a will only comes to life after you die.  You need an estate plan that ensures your quality of life while you are still alive.

There are very few attorneys who focus on just how to give you or your loved one a “Life Plan.”  What Law ElderLaw specializes in is not just how to divvy out your assets when you’re gone, but how to make sure those assets remain intact while you are alive so you have a legacy to leave to your loved ones.  With the cost of nursing home care averaging $6,000 per month, a lifetime of savings can be wiped out in a matter of months.

Law ElderLaw works to protect your assets, legally, and assure you that you will not be left out of money, out of options, and robbed of dignity.    You don’t have to outlive your money or your assets.

Rick Law has organized Law ElderLaw to provide the answers that “throw a lifeline” to individuals in danger of sinking under the weight of a long-term nursing care burden, or those who want to make sure they are never faced with that crisis situation.   

Call LEL toll-free at 1-800-810-3100.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Why We Practice Elder Law

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL.  LEL is a multi-generation law firm.

Dementia and chronic illness can be one of the most devastating experiences a family can face.   Rick Law, through both his family and friends, has experienced that devastation and responded to it by founding Law ElderLaw.

LEL is a firm dedicated to helping victims’ families not only cope with their grief and confusion, but discover how they can save the assets their loved one has worked a lifetime to achieve.

Rick has seen the incredible burden that is borne not only by the families of his clients, but has  been affected within his own family. He has watched as family members have exhausted their own health and emotional resources by being sacrificial caregivers. This sacrifice is a major motivator that has caused us to develop the services and systems of Law ElderLaw. We are dedicated to protecting and serving the elderly and those who love them.

Rick began his work in the area of Elder Law in 2000, when he received a frantic call from friends that began with a panic-driven question, “Rick, my husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Am I going to lose my house?  Everything we’ve worked for?  What can I do?”

At the time that Rick received this question, he responded, “I don’t know.” Even though Rick did not know the answer, he did not let that stop him from setting out to help his friends. He embarked on a mission to find the answers for this aging couple, and others in distress. That phone call led Rick to discover the answers to questions that families in crisis ask, and desperately need to have answered. He learned quickly that almost no one seemed to know how to advise clients in this type of crisis.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Is It Too Late To Right the Ship?

By Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw.  LEL is a multi-generation firm serving seniors and their families in Aurora, IL just West of Chicago off of the I-88 tollway.  

An all too familiar phone call came into our office the other day: “My mom is elderly and ailing, and my siblings and I need advice on how to help her.  Our folks have a decent monthly income and assets, but the nursing home costs are three times that much! Nobody made any plans for this. My parents never expected to live this long. We don’t know what to do.  I can’t have them live with me. Help me, please!”

Nobody enjoys the feelings of hopelessness and impending doom brought upon by this kind of situation. But “We don’t know what to do!” is just the beginning of the journey for the concerned family.

Often we get this phone call from the child or spouse caretaker because the person in need of care isn’t ready to admit yet that they need help.  We can’t force a parent to get assistance, but we can be the “voice of authority,” to tell them when it’s time to start letting go and facing reality.  It is our job as elder law attorneys to help our senior clients–and those who love them–make those tough end-of-life and long-term care decisions

The call from the kids has several possible motives, and more specifically, several underlying emotions:

  • Love and responsibility: to provide the best care for mom or dad with the least destruction of their assets during their lives.
  • Seeking relief: the need to lift the care and cost burden off the caregiver, who may be the caller himself or another loved one.
  • Fear of loss: the desire to conserve the benefits of the parental assets, either during the parents’ lives or at the time of their deaths.
  • Greed: the desire to get access to the parents’ assets so the assets will not be “lost.”
  • Confusion: Looking for a source of care and comfort at a time of great emotional and financial stress.
  • Guilt: for not being able to do more for a needy parent, spouse, or other loved one.
  • Shame: one man recently said to us, “I just can’t believe that I have to put the love of my life in a nursing home.”
  • Anger: “Why did my parents not plan better?” “Why me? My siblings never help me take care of dad.” “I wish he would just die.”
  • Frustration: over conflict with declining parents.
  • Self-preservation: worry about how much of their own limited resources must be used to provide parental care.

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


The Love and Protection Trust, Part 2

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL.  LEL is a multi-generation law firm.

A Love and Protection Trust can be used to help safely provide for:

  • A loved one with a drug or gambling addiction
  • A child with a controlling spouse or partner
  • A child who has failed to launch
  • Those who will simply never be able to handle money, for any reason
  • An unemployable person
  • Someone who is at risk of being taken advantage of by creditors or predators
  • A loved one who makes poor life choices
  • Any loved one who is vulnerable

A Love and Protection Trust is designed to be a legal tool that can provide protection, motivation, and encouragement for an adult child who is unable to make careful and supportive decisions with his or her money. The LPT works to make certain that your investment in your adult child is used to further your caring purposes, positive values, and enduring concerns for his or her well-being.

The way this works is that a trustee will use your written trust instructions to help safeguard your property in order to benefit your child. Trained investment professionals will defend the money and work to maximize a reasonable and profitable return on the assets that you have left. By law and by the trust document itself, the trustee must make wise and intelligent decisions to protect your child and your trust.

Unfortunately, it happens all too often that adult children squander their entire inheritance – unless you take control by making a gift of love and protection by using a lifetime trust. The LPT prevents an adult child from foolishly spending, wasting, and losing your hard-earned estate. Your investment in your child is protected from creditors, failed marriages, and other predators.

Some adult children are extremely vulnerable to creditor lawsuits and many other types of legal claims. An LPT can be designed to discourage substance abuse and to provide for the special needs of your adult child. You can and should build protective walls around the legacy that you have chosen to leave your loved one.

You can truly build a fortress with this trust. At its most basic, a love and protection trust will be there for your child long after you are no longer able to be directly involved. Your legacy of love, protection, and sound investments will give your adult child the best chance to have money still available if and when he or she eventually chooses to seek help to make a positive life transformation.

Call our office to discover more about how you can help rescue your vulnerable child for their whole lifetime.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


The Love and Protection Trust, Part 1

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL.  LEL is a multi-generation law firm.

In the last few blog posts, you’ve learned about some options for your child with a disability.

But what if your child or grandchild doesn’t have a clearly defined disability, but a pattern of poor choices or simply a vulnerability to predators?

A number of times I have had clients tell me that they love their vulnerable adult children, but they have a child who has chosen a destructive lifestyle. Sometimes it’s a mental health issue, a drug problem, a controlling partner, or simply a matter of making very bad choices.

These parents do not want to abandon any of their children — but they also don’t want the money they provide to fuel the fire that is consuming their child. They come to me and ask me what to do.

Since this child is not someone with a legally defined disability — but the parents know the child will squander all of their inheritance… unless they find a way to provide “lifetime love and protection” using their estate’s assets. The answer is what I call the Lifetime Love and Protection Trust (LPT).

Follow along in our next installment to discover more about the love and protection trust.  An LPT can be used to help safely provide for:

  • A loved one with a drug or gambling addiction
  • A child with a controlling spouse or partner
  • A child who has failed to launch
  • Those who will simply never be able to handle money, for any reason
  • An unemployable person
  • Someone who is at risk of being taken advantage of by creditors or predators
  • A loved one who makes poor life choices
  • Any loved one who is vulnerable

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine for the past 8 years in a row. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


When the Indispensable Caregiver Is the Abuser

By Elder Care attorney Rick Law. Rick is the founder and Managing partner of the multi-generation law firm of Law ElderLaw, and was selected as the top Elder Law attorney in Illinois for 2016 by Leading Lawyers Magazine.

Linda Voirin, LSW, is the victims’ advocate for the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Unit, Office of Joseph H. McMahon, Kane County (Illinois) state’s attorney. During a recent interview, she outlined the difficulty in prosecuting senior financial exploitation and elder-abuse cases.

We spoke with Linda about being a victims’ advocate for over 10 years in the state’s attorney’s office. She deals specifically with seniors and persons with disabilities. Her is her description of her role as it relates to the whole team:

“We have some attorneys who have been specifically trained in dealing with the issues of abuse and the needs of the elderly, as well as attorneys who are trained specifically for the crimes that are committed against the elderly, such as financial exploitation. In addition, there is the concept of aggravated theft or aggravated assault.

So as a victims’ advocate, we are helping the elderly victim to understand, first of all, what’s happening in the court system, being in communication with them as to court dates, and what’s happening in meetings with the attorney.

Often, if they have been victimized, it’s a sign that there are other areas in their life that need looking at. Maybe they were particularly sought out as a victim because of a weakness that they had.

Maybe they need extra care. So we try to assess their situation and then get them tied into services. We don’t actually provide those services; rather, we make referrals.”

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Moving Beyond Financial Exploitation

By Elder Law attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw, Senior Advocates and Guardianship attorneys in West Chicagoland in Illinois.

As more people are made aware of the widespread financial exploitation against seniors, more states will address these serious crimes.

For instance, Illinois recently amended its criminal code by making the “financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability” a felony.

The section reads in part:

A person commits financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability when he or she stands in a position of trust or confidence with the elderly person or a person with a disability and he or she knowingly and by deception or intimidation obtains control over the property of an elderly person or a person with a disability or illegally uses the assets or resources of an elderly person or a person with a disability.

A person is in a position of trust when (s)he

(i) is a parent, spouse, adult child or other relative by blood or marriage of the elderly person or a person with a disability,

(ii) is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the elderly person or a person with a disability,

(iii) has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the elderly person or a person with a disability

(iv) is a financial planning or investment professional, or

(v) is a paid or unpaid caregiver for the elderly person or a person with a disability.

Subsection (v) above was added effective January 1, 2012. From looking at the Illinois Criminal Code and the definition of a person in trust, it gives hope that the task of protecting seniors, especially seniors suffering from dementia, from financial exploitation may get easier.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!