A family-centered practice addressing the goals of each generation
When planning for your future and the future of your loved ones, you deserve peace of mind throughout the process. At the law office of Bluegrass Elderlaw, PLLC, we listen carefully to your planning goals and equip you to approach your future with confidence. Our goal is to address the needs of each individual family member with an emphasis on the oldest generation. Our focus is on the financial security and the necessary end of life property transitions of our clients and their families.
Our areas of practice include:
- Asset Protection and Estate Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Medicaid and Veterans’ Benefits Planning
Asset Protection and Estate Planning
Asset protection is a process of acquiring the necessary plans and documents to manage your estate through the end of life, and estate planning involves structuring the transfer of these assets upon death. I hold an in-depth consultation with my clients to determine what plans are necessary to best suit their needs.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you name authority to act on your behalf in certain circumstances.
There are two basic types of Powers of Attorney:
- Health Care Power of Attorney – a Health Care Power of Attorney gives a trusted person the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This is different from a Living Will that outlines under what circumstances you want to receive life-sustaining procedures.
- Financial Power of Attorney – a Financial Power of Attorney authorizes someone to make financial transactions on your behalf. You can tailor your Power of Attorney to give your representative broad or narrow power.
o General Power of Attorney – gives extensive power to act on your behalf including: borrowing money, buying or selling real estate, and conducting bank transactions.
o Limited Power of Attorney – gives narrow power to conduct a specific financial action at a specific time on your behalf.
It is very important to choose someone you trust deeply to act on your behalf. Think carefully before choosing the person you are entrusting with you money and/or your very life. Given the stakes, it is important to have a licensed attorney prepare your Power of Attorney.
A will is a document that allows you to direct where the assets you hold in your own name will go when you die and who will administer the distribution of those assets.
A trust can be created during your life or upon your death. Living trusts, if funded before death, pass to the beneficiaries without the assistance of the Probate Court. Trusts have many forms and reasons for creation. Consulting an experienced attorney is important so that you can use this tool to your best advantage.
When a person becomes unable to care for herself, it may be necessary for a loved one to seek guardianship for her. A guardian is a court-appointed fiduciary who makes decisions, be they personal or financial, for a person who can no longer make these decisions on her own.
Also, as special needs children transition from childhood to adulthood, they mature into adult responsibilities that they may not be able to face on their own. Handling their finances, filing taxes, making decisions related to food, clothing and shelter may leave them quite vulnerable.
The courts may require the guardian to make yearly reports to insure they are doing their best to care for the individual while also protecting the individual’s autonomy.
Bluegrass Elderlaw PLLC is highly experienced in the establishment of guardianships and can help make this difficult process as manageable as possible for you and your loved ones.
Probate and Estate Settlement
A loved one’s passing is always difficult, but trying to navigate the court system on your own can make it much more complicated. I help executors and administrators make sense of the probate process by filing court documents, counseling on the proper distribution of assets and explaining transfer upon death tax structure.
VA Pension and Planning
Unfortunately many of the brave men and women who have served our country often do not realize that they qualify for a veteran’s pension. Contrary to popular belief, in order to meet the requirements to receive a veteran’s pension you do not have to be a wounded or disabled veteran, you do not have to retire with the military and you do not have to serve in combat or in a combat zone during a time of war.
Further, veterans or their surviving spouses are who are eligible for veteran’s pension benefits that are also housebound or require the attendance of another person may be eligible for additional monetary payments in addition to their base veteran’s pension. Receiving these benefits could make it possible for you to afford home health assistance and stay in your own home as you age.
To be eligible for a veteran’s pension:
- You must meet the minimum service requirements, which are 90 days of active duty service with at least one day during a wartime period. (If you are on active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full term of service). Qualifying wartime periods:
World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
- Also you must be one of the following:
- Age 65 or older, OR
- Totally and permanently disabled, OR
- A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
here is an income and net worth ceiling but it is calculated much differently than Medicaid Benefits [link to Medicaid webpage]. There is no asset ceiling and recurring non-reimbursable medical expenses are deductions from the total.
There are a number of exceptions to these eligibility standards so it is always worth exploring with a VA accredited Bluegrass ElderLaw PLLC attorney.