Hickory NC Elder Law Lawyer

Elder law is a broad practice area dedicated to meeting the legal needs of seniors and persons with disabilities. Encompassing a variety of matters, elder law addresses the financial, health care, and related concerns of people as they grow older. If you or a loved one have questions about the topics described below, reach out to Patrick, Harper & Dixon, LLP today.

What Is Elder Law?

An individual’s legal concerns change as they age. Elder law is devoted to handling the unique needs of senior citizens and the disabled, especially concerning government benefits, health care, and financial matters. Some issues, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, are separately addressed by estate planning[CP1]. Our firm approaches five specific areas under the umbrella of elder law:

Elder Law: Medicaid Planning To Help With Your Long-Term Needs

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that assists low-income individuals with meeting their long-term health care needs. Our Medicaid planning lawyers are able to work with you through all aspects of the application process. We can assist you with collecting documentation and submitting your Medicaid application. Or the work might be more complex, including restructuring an applicant’s finances to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria.

Applying for Medicaid can be difficult. But even more challenging is making sure the applicant meets the strict income and asset eligibility rules. An individual who earns or owns too much, or who gives assets away, won’t qualify for Medicaid. With proper Medicaid planning, we can help individuals qualify for benefits while protecting and preserving assets for their spouse and children

Here are some of the ways a Medicaid planning lawyer can help you:

  • Collecting the necessary documents to apply for Medicaid
  • Preparing and submitting the Medicaid application
  • Implementing strategies to protect your residence and other real estate
  • Establishing Medicaid-compliant asset protection trusts
  • Helping you and your family prepare for long-term health care costs

Special Needs Trusts For All Ages

Individuals who want to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability need to be careful in doing so. Without proper planning, these assets could jeopardize the government benefits to which these individuals are entitled by violating the income and asset limits for those programs. Fortunately, special needs trusts can be established to avoid this problem.

Rather than leaving property directly to a disabled person and risking the loss of disability or Medicaid benefits, you can establish a special needs trust to which you leave the assets. You can select a trustee who will have control over the property and spend money on behalf of the person in need. An attorney will work with you to create a trust, explain how the funds can be used, and help you take care of your loved one into the future.

Additionally, we can assist disabled persons under age 65 who receive an inheritance, settlement, or other money or property establish a self-settled special needs trust so that they can maintain their benefits eligibility.

Elder Law: Legal Assistance With Guardianship And Incompetency Proceedings

If a loved one is no longer able to care for him- or herself due to advanced age or disability, it may be time to consider whether that person is incompetent and in need of a guardian.

A court hearing will be necessary to determine an individual’s incompetency and whether you should be appointed as that person’s guardian. You will have to file a Petition for Adjudication of Incompetence and Application for Appointment of Guardian or Limited Guardian asking the court to declare your loved one incompetent. The petition will explain the specific reasons you believe the person is incompetent and in need of a guardian.

From there, a hearing will take place to consider your request and evaluate the person’s medical and psychological condition. It is not always readily apparent that someone is incompetent, and he or she may retain an attorney to counter your petition. If the court declares the individual legally incompetent, it will appoint a guardian and define his or her duties and powers.

Our firm is experienced with guardianship and incompetency proceedings and can help with:

  • Filing your petition and arguing it in court
  • Presenting the evidence and arguments necessary to support your petition
  • Calling upon expert witnesses who can testify in court
  • Explaining to the court why you should be appointed as guardian

Contact Our Hickory Elder Law Attorney

The elder law attorneys of Patrick, Harper & Dixon are experienced in helping seniors and persons with disabilities obtain the necessary resources to plan for their long-term health care and financial needs. Contact us to get started today.