Elder Law / Medi-Cal Planning

Elder Law

Perhaps you are wondering what the term Elder Law actually means. Unlike some areas of the law, which are defined by technical legal distinctions, Elder Law is defined by the types of clients an attorney serves: the elderly, people with disabilities and other special needs. To best serve this clientele, an elder law attorney must use a wide range of legal tools and strategies, including general estate planning, long-term care planning, Medi-Cal planning, special needs planning and many more. In addition, elder law attorneys often help clients determine an appropriate level of care, find that care, and utilize a combination of private and public resources to help pay for it.

You may also wonder what it means to be a Certified Elder Law Attorney. Only an attorney who satisfies the strict rules and regulations outlined by the National Elder Law Foundation can be certified as an elder law attorney. The certification process includes passing a rigorous examination designed to demonstrate special knowledge and skills, as well as demonstrating extensive personal experience in handling a breadth of matters essential to the practice of Elder Law. Our firm's founder, Martha Patterson, is one of the select few Certified Elder Law Attorneys.

Medi-Cal Planning

With Americans living longer than ever before, many elderly people eventually require long-term or nursing home care. Unfortunately, nursing home care is very expensive, averaging anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month, depending on what part of California you reside in. To make matters worse, Medicare will not pay for it. The result? Two out of three families run out of money within the first year of a prolonged nursing home stay.

Does this mean you are destined to go broke if you require long-term nursing home care? Not necessarily. At Geisler Patterson Law Firm, we can help you qualify for assistance from Medi-Cal, without spending down all your income or giving up most if not all of your assets. We can also use a number of legal tools and strategies to prepare financially for the possibility of a nursing home stay, including promissory notes, life estates, annuities and trusts, to name a few.

You should know that the further you plan ahead, the more options we will have to protect your assets from the high cost of nursing home care. But even if you or a loved one is already in a nursing home, or have been informed that a nursing home stay will be required in the very near future, we still may be able to protect your assets.

A Medi-Cal Crisis

When an individual has either been admitted to a nursing home or is about to be placed in one, and has been told that he or she has too much money/assets to qualify for Medi-Cal, the situation is often referred to as a Medi-Cal Crisis. Why is it called a crisis? Because the family is dealing with long-term healthcare costs that range from $5,000 to $10,000 per month, and the only source to pay those expenses seems to be the family's life savings.

It is important to note that even the most well-intentioned people, including social workers, Medi-Cal workers, nursing home intake staff and medical professionals, often give a family incorrect advice regarding their ability to qualify for Medi-Cal. Why? They simply do not know the subtle nuances of Medi-Cal eligibility like we do at Geisler Patterson Law Firm. We are aware of at least 30 money-saving strategies to assist a single individual and more than 60 strategies for married couples. Martha Patterson understands the legal rules to help qualify a loved one for Medi-Cal, and preserve the maximum amount of money and/or assets permissible. She regularly saves clients between $100,000 and $500,000 of their life savings.

If you call Geisler Patterson Law Firm and provide some basic information regarding your income and expenses, we can tell you promptly how much of your money we can save and when your loved one can qualify for assistance from Medi-Cal. It is never too late to call, unless all of your assets have already been spent.

Non-Crisis Medicaid Planning

Non-crisis Medicaid planning is for people who are currently healthy but want to ensure that if they do become incapacitated, they will be prepared and able to protect their life savings. We have designed numerous estate plans that allow individuals and families to protect their assets and adequately manage their personal and financial affairs in the event of incapacity. It is extremely important that a firm focusing on elder law prepares your estate plan. Having a well-drafted plan in place not only ensures you will be well cared for if you become incapacitated, it can help you enjoy greater peace of mind.

To learn more about Medi-Cal Planning, click here for access to Martha's Medi-Cal Guide.