Take a look around! People are growing older throughout Alabama. In fact, the “over 80” portion of our population is the fastest-growing segment!
As the population grows older, many people hope to enjoy their golden years in Alabama. While this can be a time of leisurely travel and taking delight in grandchildren, these years often present difficult challenges, including health issues, declining physical and/or mental capacity, long-term care expenses, and other financial concerns. The practice of Elder Law is dedicated to helping seniors (and their adult children!) meet these challenges and encompasses all aspects of planning, counseling and advocating for clients.
Located in Birmingham, The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC is devoted exclusively to elder law and estate planning. We are committed to helping our neighbors in Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Blount and nearby counties manage the complexities of growing older. While it may be your first time dealing with these issues, we do it every day.
The majority of our elder law clients are introduced to our firm by their adult daughter because she understands that she doesn’t know it all and she doesn’t have a spare 40 hours per week to devote to learning everything she needs to know. The essential questions we ask her are these:
If you could protect your loved one’s life-savings from the devastating costs of nursing-home care, wouldn’t you want to?
If you could allow your parents the freedom to remain in their home for years longer than otherwise, wouldn’t you want to?
If you could remain in charge of their care and finances and keep the government out of their business, wouldn’t you want to?
Long-term Care Planning
One of the most pressing challenges for seniors and their families is the high cost of long-term care, including services related to medical and non-medical needs. Care for elders often involves providing nonskilled care to assist with the tasks of daily living such as dressing, feeding, shopping, caring for pets and housekeeping. Long-term care can also involve skilled care provided at home or in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Homecare can cost up to $20 per hour. Skilled care in a nursing-home easily exceeds $7,000 per month. These expenses are not covered by Blue Cross, Tricare or Medicare! They come out of their income and if that is not enough, out of their savings!
By failing to plan ahead for these needs, many seniors find themselves ill-prepared to handle the cost of long-term care, which can easily deplete their savings. The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC routinely helps clients explore options such as long-term care insurance, selecting the right long-term care facility and qualifying for public benefits such as Social Security, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits.
In addition to self-funding or obtaining long-term care insurance, another option to cover the costs of long-term care is Medicaid, a federal program run by the states that provides assistance to individuals who are 65 or older. While Medicaid is the largest payer of nursing home care in the country, qualifying for these benefits can be difficult as many seniors have resources above the eligibility threshold or they have made transfers to other people that create a penalty period.
Our experienced elder law attorneys have thorough knowledge of Medicaid eligibility requirements in Alabama and can advise you on how to protect your home and your assets by establishing an irrevocable trust also referred to as a Medicaid Trust.
WORD OF CAUTION HERE:DO NOT ACCEPT JUST ANYONE’S OPINION OF MEDICAID AS FACT. ACTING UNDER THE WRONG ADVICE CAN COST YOU DEARLY!
Elder abuse, whether physical, or emotional is a growing problem that causes inexcusable pain and suffering. Financial abuse occurs when an individual or entity takes or keeps an elder’s property for a wrongful use, or with the intent to defraud. To learn how you can prevent elder abuse, whether physical or financial, call us. We are zealous advocates of elders in Alabama and will strive to ensure that your rights are protected.
Advising the Caregiver
Caring for the family caregiver is also what we do!
There are three components to caregiving. One is of course the healthcare component- making sure that the senior is receiving proper care, taking their medications and observing healthy living habits. This is the one most people consider, but the other two are just as important.
The second component is financial management. It is vitally important that caregivers gain a firm understanding of the senior’s income and assets because elder financial abuse is real and affects 6% of the senior population every year. As a senior ages, they sometimes lose interest in or the ability to manage their bills, so the caregiver needs to become involved in this task as soon as possible.
The third component is legal. This is the area that is most often neglected by both caregivers and the seniors. From the basics, such as having a comprehensive Power of Attorney and Healthcare documents, to having estate-planning in place, possibly using trusts, to qualifying for important government benefits such as Veteran’s Benefits and Medicaid- these are often neglected until too late to act. It doesn’t have to be this way, and yet, many caregivers don’t know where to turn for help.
The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC is a niche law firm that focuses on seniors. We don’t handle the vast majority of legal issues most people are aware of. We don’t handle bankruptcy or criminal defense or divorce or personal injury. All we do is work with seniors and their families to create a comprehensive plan, a life-plan, for the client. This life-plan analyzes their income and their life-savings and takes into account their current and projected living expenses. We then make specific recommendations, all of which are designed to give you peace of mind.
Serving Elders in Birmingham
At The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC we recognize that many seniors have never visited with an attorney and have mistaken impressions. Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible for you. We don’t charge a consultation fee so your only “cost” to meet with us will be your time.
Our priority is to put the needs of elders first, regardless of the demands and expectations of their children. Our goal is to preserve your independence, protect your assets and explore your options. If you need help with estate planning, long-term planning, Medicaid planning or any other matter related to Elder Law, contact our Birmingham office today at (205) 390-0101 for a free evaluation.