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Choosing a Nursing Home

by Rick Law, founder of Law ElderLaw, Estate, Asset & Retirement Tax Attorneys in the West Chicago suburb of Aurora in Illinois.

Recent studies reveal that nearly 70 percent of those 65 and older will eventually need some sort of long-term care assistance. When a family reaches the point where it becomes necessary for an affected loved one to enter a nursing home, it is one of the most difficult decisions they will ever have to make. When Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point where the affected loved one can no longer live alone, or when the primary caregiver can no longer provide the level or expertise of care that is necessary, a move to a nursing home is the next stop on the Alzheimer’s care journey.

As always, having a plan and knowing the right questions to ask beforehand provides invaluable help to those in need.

I counsel my clients to visit several different nursing homes before narrowing down their choices. Within urban areas, there are companies that specialize in connecting prospective nursing facility residents with facilities. One nationwide organization is called A Place for Mom (www.aplaceformom.com). This type of organization is compensated by being paid a commission from the long-term-care facility.

Because the organization is paid on commission, they may not have listing contracts with all facilities; therefore, one may not be shown the entire panorama of options. This statement is not meant to be critical, but rather to express the possible limitations of such services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rates nursing homes. The system is called the Nursing Home Compare. It includes ratings of nursing homes based on quality measurements, staffing ratios, and health inspections. The website is www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare.

Once clients have found a few facilities that look like good options, they should visit each one several times, preferably at different times in the day and at least once during a meal.

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 8 times as 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


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!


“Outmoded Medicare”

By Rick Law, Elder Law Attorney at the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw.  The multi-generation law firm of LEL serves seniors, boomers, and their families in Kendall, Kane, DuPage, Will, Cook and other counties in Illinois.

The world was different in 1965.

I remember most of the aged poor of our community went to the county home for the aged and infirm. Most men died before the age of 65, and women before the age of 70. There were few long-term care facilities, because few were needed. Today we have millions of people with long-term care needs.

Many US citizens assume that Medicare is their right. They assume that the health reimbursement program provided by the United States government on behalf of persons who are over the age of 65, blind, and/or disabled has always been there, and always will be.  But this is not the case.  

Instituted in July of 1965, The Medicare-Medicaid Act was part of a number of reforms implemented by President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic majority, marking a major shift in our societal view of who should carry the cost of providing medical care for senior citizens.

President Johnson stated:

“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles and their aunts. And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

Medicare was built on a 1965 acute care model, designed to provide healthcare for the individual who has a probability of recovering from his or her disease. Medicare is not designed to pay for long-term care. Medicare was designed to ‘care’ about acute medical care; heart disease, gall stones or cancer. Medicare does not ‘care’ about diagnoses such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or long-term mobility problems. If you need long-term care, then you have lost the “diagnosis lottery”.

If you need care in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, your care is not acute but long-term, and Medicare stops ‘caring’ about you. As soon as Medicare stops ‘caring’, you are on your own! You will need to have a substantial long-term care insurance plan, a deep pocket-book, or become impoverished. If you are impoverished as defined by the Medicaid program, then you will meet Medicare’s ugly sister, Medicaid.  And that is a whole other story.

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!


The Slippery Slope of Memory Loss

By Rick Law, elder care attorney and estate planner at the Estate Planning Center of Law ElderLaw in Aurora, serving Kane, Kendall, DuPage, Will, Cook, and other counties in Northern Illinois.

Almost every day I learn more about the subtleties and surprises within the elder care journey. At Law ElderLaw we often work with families who have a loved one affected by some type of dementia.

About 7 years ago, I had the opportunity to hear University of Pennsylvania neurologist Dr. Jason Karlawish speak to a group of lawyers about clients who may have Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia.  As we non-medical people observe folks with memory loss, we assume that the individual is losing his or her memory on a constant downward sliding path.  According to Dr. Karlawish, however, that is not the right way to think about memory loss.

Dr. Karlawish taught me that I need to change the way I look at memory loss.  He helped me understand that different brain functions are affected with differing rates of decline.

“Attorneys are linear thinkers. You are trained to think in a linear and logical fashion, and so you believe that if your clients can give the correct answer to a fact based question, then they are still capable.  You assume that if they know that 2+2=4, then they are capable of managing their affairs.” He shook his head and stated, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

It turns out, someone who is suffering from dementia can retain their linear thinking, but lose their ability to comprehend the consequences of what that answer means.

As I listened to him speak, it hit me that this was exactly what was happening with one of my clients. This client was responsibly caring for his wife, but the family was continually calling to tell me that “Bill” was making foolish decisions with money, and it was running out at a frightening rate. But when Bill came into my office, nothing seemed to be wrong; he drove himself, he brought his accounting books and we would go over his records together. He seemed capable of handling all his affairs because he gave me all the right answers.

Nonetheless, within the next day or two he would do something as bizarre as hiring an $800 ambulance service to get his wife to her weekly hair appointment. Suddenly I realized that although Bill was able to tell me how much was in his bank account, he could no longer understand the meaning of those numbers.

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 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!


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 True Cost of Long-Term Care

By Rick Law, J.D. founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw.  Rick and daughter/attorney partner Diana Law are part of the caring team at Law ElderLaw. Serving seniors, boomers, and their families in West suburban Chicagoland in Illinois.

It is not uncommon, when talking to a man about the possibility of old age decline, to have him say things such as:

  • “My dad died at sixty of a heart attack–I’m sure I’m not going to live any longer than that.”
  • “I won’t rust out, I’ll burn out.”
  • “Before I’ll go to a nursing home I’ll put the muzzle of a gun in my mouth!”
  • “I’m gonna keep going until one day I just drop in the harness.”

According to a survey conducted by the New York times, nationwide evidence tells us that the long-term care burden overwhelmingly falls on the women of the family.  In their youth men are generally physically stronger than women, but as they age they decline more quickly.  Compounding the problem, men often cling to a machismo that causes them to deny their own mortality and to under-appreciate the catastrophic burden that old-age frailty will place on their wives or children.

It seems to be a natural part of being male to assume that bad things happen to other people, not to yourself.  The result of this attitude is that the women of the family are faced with caring for more and more frail men who have either refused to purchase long-term care insurance, or refused to modify their lifestyles to minimize the possibility of chronic illness.  Women are forced to exhaust their own financial and physical resources to care for their men.

By the time the first spouse dies, the caregiver spouse is often depleted both physically and financially.  She has no reserves as she faces her own long-term care crisis.

As elder law and estate planning attorneys, we strive to help rescue the embattled caregiver.  Survivor spouse preservation is one of our key goals when working with a couple to plan ahead, and those who are already faced with nursing home challenges.

At Law ElderLaw, we recognize the contribution of the women who carry the burden of their own parents, their husbands’ frail parents, and/or their own husbands.

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!


Bookkeeping by the Caregiver

By Elder Law Attorney Rick L. Law. Rick is the founder of the multi-generation estate planning and elder law  office of Law ElderLaw, serving Kane, Kendall, and DuPage counties in Illinois.

The caregiver’s bookkeeping service is an invaluable tool that can help ensure that the caregiver is able to accurately record time and expenses. It is a good idea to have the caregiver come in after a month to review the logs.  This will also help to ensure that that the caregiver is keeping proper records.

If the personal care agreement is later challenged in court, the caregiver’s logs will need to be reasonably precise, accurate, and timely.  Better safe than sorry, right?  At least in this instance, there is someone there to do the work for you, and provide another set of checks and balances so you can rest knowing that your loved one is getting the best possible care.

At some point after a personal-care contract has been created, people receiving care will continue to decline as they move through the Alzheimer’s care journey.

Unfortunately, the majority of those individuals will exhaust their personal resources and be compelled to apply for nursing home Medicaid benefits. The Medicaid application process will include the state agency questioning the payments that were made to the caregiver.

If the personal-care agreement is not drafted correctly, or proper records were not kept, clients could end up with costly penalty periods of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits during which they need to pay for care. Without appropriate evidence, which usually is provided by contemporaneous logs of daily caregiving services, a caregiver could be accused of being an elder abuser.

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 2008-2016 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!


Personalizing the Care Contract

By Estate Planning Attorney Rick Law.  Rick and his daughter Diana are the lead attorneys at Law ElderLaw in the West Chicagoland suburb of Aurora, IL, just off of the Farnsworth exit of the I-88 tollway.

A qualified and experienced elder law attorney will customize a personal-care agreement for your loved one as much as possible to make it a powerful document that will stand up to potential legal challenges.

A generic contract that simply states that the elder is being provided care is not going to stand up to the scrutiny of either the state’s Medicaid department or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The affected loved one may need to qualify for public benefits; therefore, compliance with the often unfathomable regulations of the Medicaid department and Veterans Affairs must be taken into consideration.

This includes specific items to clearly demonstrate what activities of daily living are being provided. Personal-care agreements should incorporate the elder’s answers to questions like, “What do you like to eat? What do you hate to eat? Would you like to rise early or sleep in? How often do you wish to have your hair done?” This level of personalizing the care contract can give a much more persuasive argument if the contract is later challenged.

Sample daily log sheets so that the caregiver can record activities on a daily basis should be included by your attorney. Refer the family to a bookkeeping and payroll service to handle the appropriate and timely employment and tax-return filings.

On occasion the affected loved one has an adult child who is a nurse, occupational therapist, or other licensed health-care professional who is legally qualified to do more health-care than a typical layperson. In those situations, it is important to draft those health-care details into the agreement so as to provide a legal and contractual basis for a higher level of compensation than could be paid to a nonprofessional.

The typical nonprofessional caregiver will be compensated based on the normal regional private-pay rate for a non-skilled in-home care provider. A professional may be compensated at a professional rate for performing a care service within that person’s scope of expertise. It will always be necessary to keep proper records noting the hours worked, as well as the type of care given during those hours.

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 from 2008-2016 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!


Drafting a Powerful Personal-Care Agreement

By Elder attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw, a multi-generation law firm serving seniors and their families in the West suburbs of Chicago, IL.

Drafting an interfamilial care agreement is not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter task.

Similar to creating an estate plan, simply pulling out a standard, generic employment agreement and changing the names will not do in this situation.

After meeting with the client and family, the next step in the process involves obtaining a personal-care plan. A personal care plan can be initiated by a telephone conference involving the client, the family, and the affected loved one’s personal physician. A personal-care plan is the foundation upon which the personal-care agreement is built.

In addition, it provides written evidence of the health condition that necessitates and justifies in-home personal care. This is vitally important when defending payments being made between family members.

For people with Alzheimer’s, the care plan recommendation will state that the caregiver is needed for health care, hygiene, welfare monitoring, nutritional management, and assistance with various activities of daily life. The recommendation will typically end with the statement that “without this care, the patient would require care in a nursing facility.”

Most family members are not licensed health-care professionals. A licensed health-care professional, such as a medical doctor, physician’s assistant, or other qualified individual, needs to be in charge of the case management and serve in an oversight capacity.

An alternative method of creating a care plan is to hire a licensed geriatric care manager to go to the person’s house and do an assessment of the person’s needs. The geriatric care manager is trained to do a survey of the physical environment within the home and an inventory of all resources available to the individual.

After completing the assessment of the individual, the environment, and the resources, a personalized care plan is created. With the assessment in hand, the lawyer will be able to draft a customized personal-care agreement. The agreement is tailored around what the care manager has identified as necessary care and other circumstances.

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 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!


Escalation of Care Required

By Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw.  Rick Law and daughter attorney Diana Law are the lead attorneys at the multi-generational law firm of Law ElderLaw. Serving seniors and their families through elder law services, estate planning, guardianship, probate, wills and trusts, and much more in Kane, Kendall, DuPage, Will and Cook counties in Illinois.

A client walks into a lawyer’s office and says, “I have been going over and taking care of my elderly mother for the past few months for a few hours a day. Now she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and this is going to take up a lot more of my time and energy. I may need for her to move in with me and my husband, and I am going to need to start charging her. I want to set up a personal-care agreement for her.”

In this situation it is not too late to create a valid personal-care agreement even though care has already been provided for free, because at this point the client is saying that the care needs have intensified and it’s time for them to start being paid.

The key for Medicaid eligibility is that someone can never be compensated for care that was being provided gratuitously. In the Medicaid context, care provided without a properly drafted and medically justified personal-care agreement is presumptively gratuitous. For example, the parents lived with their son for two years and he did many things for them gratuitously, and then suddenly he says he wants to receive payment. He says that not only does he want to receive payment going forward, he wants to be compensated for all that previous care.

That will be a big issue for Medicaid eligibility for the affected loved one, because a retroactive payment will be viewed as a gift and could create a substantial period of ineligibility for the person needing Medicaid.

The reality is that a lot of times people incrementally get into these situations. So if you the individual seek out lawyers early in that process, your lawyer would probably want to have them set up a low-level personal-care agreement.

As the care increases, so would the amount that caregivers are being paid proportionally to the amount of hours they’re working over time. An elder law attorney will have ancillary documentation in place to validate the changes of care level needed.

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!