ELDER LAW

The critical issues that we, as human beings, face are our physical and financial health.  A serious life event can wipe out a lifetime of savings. There are strategies we can help you employ to avoid the potentially devastating effects of unavoidable nursing care.

Guardianship

In the event you have a serious illness or accident, who will take care of you?  If you planned ahead, you will likely have someone trustworthy designated as your agent under a Power of Attorney, for both property and healthcare.  However, if you failed to do so in the past, we can repair this situation and assist you by naming a trusted loved one as your guardian. 

Medicaid Planning

The cost of long-term care, especially a nursing home, can devastate even a well thought out retirement.  Nursing home costs, which can range from $7,000 to $12,000 per month, are too much for a regular middle-class family to handle. There are a number of tools you can use to efficiently and straightforwardly plan for unforeseen or unexpected events. 

First, although most people do not have this type of insurance, there is long-term care insurance. 

 

Second, Social Security and pensions may be available to pay these expenses. Regrettably, this is often not enough to cover such high expenses.

Third, there are family members that may be able to help take care of your needs. This is the most common form of care for the elderly. Sometimes even the members of a large family may not be consistently available or the level of care required is more than a family can handle.  Frequently, clients report that they want to care for their loved one in a home/family setting, but the doctor instead ordered institutional care.

A fourth area of support is government benefits – sometimes referred to as Medicaid.  Medicaid is public assistance which only allows a limited amount of assets.  For example, if you are unmarried/single, the limit is $2,000.  (The reason for such a low limit is that the government wants individuals to deplete their own assets before they will step in and provide them with financial support.) 

If you are married, you are allowed a spousal allowance of $109,560 of assets to avoid Spousal Impoverishment.  Some of the planning we do converts assets to exempt assets, as well as establishing time-tested gifting strategies to help your estate qualify for benefits.

Elder Abuse

There are many circumstances where elder abuse can occur, many of which can blend and overlap in unique, distressing ways:

(1) Physical Abuse

(2) Psychological Abuse

(3) Financial Abuse 

(4) Neglect

Although, even when reported, elder abuse may continue without a proper and complete resolution for weeks, months, and even years.  An effective pre-emptive strike is naming a trusted loved one as guardian.  Once named, we can use legal authority given to the courts to do a detailed investigation.  Further, you will have the power to place your loved one in the optimal environment for them. 

Probate & Trust Litigation

Despite the many nuances that can arise in probate and trust litigation, in reality, there are only two types of administration: uncontested and contested.  In an uncontested administration, the family gets along and the goal is to get transfer assets quickly and to address tax events as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

When faced with these types of administration, our team at Correa Law relies a great deal on our paraprofessionals to satisfactorily complete every estate detail cost-effectively and in a timely manner.  While attorney overview is an ever-present part of your estate administration, we work synergistically with our paralegals, who accomplish much in the way of research and investigative detail. 

Nevertheless, Contested Cases, whether in probate or trust administration, are a completely different process. 

Contested Cases are unique and are governed by special rules.  The Contested Process often involves the following phases:

1st: Plead the Allegation.  Here, we raise the issue regarding the any wrongdoing.  Note: if your family is challenging a will or trust, there is a brief window of time in which to raise the contest – 6 months from the admission or denial of the will, but no later than 2 years from date of death, inclusive of that date.

2nd: Discovery Phase. Here, we find out and assess all relevant information. 

3rd: Pretrial Phase.  During this phase, we can attempt motion on the pleadings, motions concerning the admission, and the non-admissibility of evidence.

4th: Trial.  For most estate administration cases, the trial will be a Bench Trial, but sometimes, in a will or trust contest, the parties may elect a jury trial.  This election for a jury trial shall be made at the onset of the proceeding.

5th: Appeal.  Any appeal must be made, if at all, within 30 days of a final order.

In addition to trial, there are multitude of contested hearings that may take place. These include the following:

  • Hearing on Heirship

  • Citation to Recover Assets

  • Action for Accounting by Fiduciary

  • Citation to Discover Assets

  • Citation to Remove Administrator or Executor

  • Pleading to Remove Trustee

  • Motion for Declaratory Judgment