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Rick Law of Law ElderLaw Speaks at Kane County Forum on Aging & Disability Issues

On December 10th, 2012, Elder Law Attorney Rick Law spoke on “Affordable Healthcare in a Bankrupt State” at the 24th Annual Kane County Legislative Forum on Aging and Disability Issues.  Rick discussed how the Deficit Reduction Act and the SMART Act will impact access to long-term care for seniors in Illinois.

Elder Care resource providers in attendance included the Elgin Senior Provider Network, the Kane County Senior Resources, and Area Agency on Aging – Northeastern Illinois.

In addition to seniors and their families, many high-profile legislators were in attendance, including Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, Senator Linda Holmes, Senator-elect Karen McConnaughay, State Representative Bob Pritchard, State Representative Keith Farnham, staff members of Representative Kay Hatcher, and Senator-elect Jim Oberweis.

To learn more about how the Deficit Reduction Act and the SMART Act may affect you, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.

Diana Law Appointed To Office Of Public Guardian Of Kane County, Illinois

What do you do when you’re not busy helping seniors and their families at a bustling western suburban elder law office? 

The answer is simple – add yet another spoke to your philanthropic wheelhouse just as elder law attorney Diana Law of Law Elderlaw in Aurora, IL has done.

Law, a managing partner of Law ElderLaw, replaced the  former Kane County Public Guardian.  Since her appointment last year, she has since helped to bring new credibility and breathe new life into the program.

A recent interview with the Sun Times’ Matt Hanley revealed much about Law’s time in office.  “It’s all part of the new procedures that have been put in place since April, when Law was appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn as Kane County’s new public guardian, entrusted with protecting residents who have no one else to help them. The county’s public guardian is appointed for people with more than $25,000 in assets, but a judge has deemed them incapable of managing their physical or financial affairs. Often, the wards are completely or nearly alone.”

In just nine months, she’s recovered over $100,000 for 23 wards and found state programs and stock benefits that had gone unclaimed.

Mrs. Law loves that she can move beyond some of the “white glove” aspects of estate law and gets to know these clients. She thrills at hearing about stories about growing up in the Depression. Her two children sometimes tag along to the nursing homes, when she stops by to drop off a favorite meal.

“I love it because it brings out my social work side,” Law said. “Their lives are fascinating. That’s part of the job I love.””

Well said!  We’re sure the clients whose lives she’s impacted are glad to have her as well.

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!


Rick L. Law, Attorney and 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,, 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.  Appointments available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

Why are VA benefits so confusing and difficult to apply for? | By Rick Law, Elder Law Attorney & Estate Planner

When my friend came to me in need of help with veteran’s benefits, I realized how little I knew about the complicated VA benefit process.  What a horrible feeling, not being able to help someone I care about when they needed me most.  What’s worse, I didn’t know any lawyer who knew enough about veteran’s benefits to give my friend the help she needed.  Telling my friend I couldn’t help was not an option. I had to find the answers that would help my loved one.

So why are VA benefits so confusing and difficult to qualify for? Part of the reason is that our Congress has erected a wall around VA benefits.  The first thing to know is that the only folks who are legally authorized to provide information to veterans about benefits are:

1. Federal Veterans Administration employees and employees of State Departments of Veteran’s Affairs;
2. Authorized representatives of Veterans Service Organizations like the VFW and American Legion, among others; and
3. Attorneys licensed to practice law in the veteran’s state and accredited by the VA.

That’s right! You’ve got just three options to get the info and calling a lawyer is one of them. That being said, federal law prohibits a lawyer from charging a fee to actually assist a veteran with the claim for VA benefits.

So why did Congress set it up this way?  Theoretically, lawyers are not allowed to charge a veteran to help with a VA benefit claim form because:

– There are plenty of capable and trained VA employees available to help vets fill out VA claim forms for free;
– There are plenty of capable and trained volunteers available at the various Veteran’s Service Organizations to help fill out VA claim forms; and
– Veterans should be protected from attorneys who would overcharge them for doing something as simple as completing and submitting a VA claim form.

Like many of our government’s plans, this works much better in theory than in practice. If you have not already tried to get help from either the Veterans Administration or a Veteran’s Service Organization, then I highly recommend that you do try that first. And please, do it immediately. Like everything else pertaining to elder care, planning early – before emergencies begin to occur – is the best way to avoid catastrophe!

The folks at the Veterans Administration and the Veteran’s Service Organizations truly do want to help you. Unfortunately, because of their limited staff and hours, sometimes there’s simply not enough help to go around. 

Many of you have already tried to find help, but still need more.  If you are confused, have been denied benefits, or still have questions, then it’s time to give us a call at 800-310-3100.   

Rick Law
Elder Law Attorney at Law ElderLaw, LLP

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,, 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.  Appointments are available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

The maze of Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefits| by Elder Law Attorney Rick Law

Life is going along and suddenly, your parent, spouse or other loved one is diagnosed with a chronic disease.  Or maybe memory and mobility issues have crept slowly into their life.  Before you know it, you are thrust into a new chapter in your life and things will never be the same again. When this common situation happened to a friend’s mother, I got started in the maze of VA benefits.

Someone I cared for was a living widow of a wartime veteran and she needed help to pay for the long term care expenses she would soon be overwhelmed by.  I vaguely knew that there were some type of veteran’s benefits available, but I didn’t know exactly what it was or how to get it. I am a full-time lawyer. I spend every day keeping up with the ins and outs of senior’s issues, yet I felt virtually clueless as to how to help her get VA benefits.  For my clients, I was used to being able to help with Medicaid benefits. Anything she might have needed help with her estate planning, I’ve got that covered. Disability issues: double-check. Yet here I was, feeling out of my element with veteran’s benefits and flooded with emotions that were tied to the fact that I wasn’t ready to fully take care of her the way I needed to be. I needed help.

The truth is, I had actually attempted to tackle VA’s Aid & Attendance benefit, but I had been frustrated at the amount of time and energy that it would take me to become professionally able to use the skill. Quite frankly, I needed to pay attention to the work I already knew how to do to help my clients.

Then one day all that changed and I had a rude awakening! By the time I got that call from my friend who needed veteran’s benefits to pay for care, I had gone to several educational classes about VA benefits, yet I still didn’t know how to get that pension. This is not easy stuff to get through, even for an Elder Care attorney!

I was not going to stop until I conquered this thing and learned everything I could. Let me tell you, I definitely “paid the price” in time, money, and effort to learn the little-known VA rules for nursing home benefits for the over-65 wartime veteran and/or veteran’s survivor spouse. Now I am happy to say I can help you and your family as well to understand when and where those VA benefit are available to help with long term medical care expenses.

And as for my friend I wanted desperately to help?  I was able get my friend a widow’s pension of $1,094 per month to help her pay for her $4,000 per month assisted living fees. With that, she was able to afford several more months of private-pay nursing home care and the dignity that comes with it.

Diana Law Named Kane County Public Guardian & Administrator

Law ElderLaw is pleased to announce that partner Diana M. Law has been appointed as the Kane County Public Guardian by Governor Pat Quinn. This impressive honor will give Ms.Law the opportunity to serve and stand up for those in Kane County who are not able to do so for themselves. Law ElderLaw proudly congratulates Attorney Law on her appointment.

Attorney Zach Hesselbaum Named Vice President of ESSE

Attorney Zach Hesselbaum has been named vice president of the Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly board.

ESSE has  three locations within DuPage County and are adding a fourth location in Gurnee. They will be celebrate their 30th anniversary on May 11, 2012 as an adult day care and are registered to provide care under the Community Care Program.

Congratulations Zach!

Law ElderLaw hosts Mental Health First Aid Training

Law ElderLaw hosted the mental health first aid training seminar that is taught by mental health professionals from Linden Oaks hospital located in Naperville, Illinois.

Over 20 professionals attended the 3 four hour course. Professionals from Illinois Math and Science Academy, Senior Services from Dekalb, Kane and Kendall Counties, Kane County States Attorneys office, and the Larkin Center were some of the individuals that attended the sessions.

Basics in mental health were covered along with learning how to deal with individuals who were in crisis.  After completion of the class, the professionals were certified as first responders to mental health crisis.

12 continuing education units were offered for social workers and nurses when the class was completed.

Rick Law Speaks to Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on their website titled “The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die”. Attorney Law provided information regarding the importance of not only a will, but of a revocable trust. “Every will is like a compass that points toward the closest courthouse,” he says in the article.
He goes on to explain the in’s and out’s of sharing bank account information with loved ones before death. “If nobody ever takes any more out or puts money in, it becomes a dormant account and then becomes the property of the state,” he says.
Due to his expertise in the area of Estate Planning, Rick Law was sought out by the Journal in order to clear up these important questions regarding ‘end of life’ planning.
Rick Law Quoted in the Wall Street Journal

Diana Law Admitted to Bar of U.S. Supreme Court

Attorney, Diana Law, was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in a ceremony held at the Supreme Court courtroom in Washington, D. C., on Monday, June 6, 2011.

Ms. Law was part of a group of 45 Illinois lawyers organized by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). The Honorable John G. Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, granted the motion.

Admittees must complete an application with an endorsement of two sponsors and present a “certificate of good standing” from their local jurisdiction to confirm they have been a member of the local bar for at least three years.

A reception was held for the lawyers, their family and friends at the historic Willard Hotel.

Pictured is Ms. Law meeting Justice Ginsberg in Washington D.C.

Law ElderLaw Attorneys Invited to Kansas Elder Law Convention

Attorneys Rick Law and Zach Hesselbaum are invited to speak at the Kansas Elder Law Convention this October. They will present on the topic of “VA LTC benefits: Client-Focused Solutions”.