The attorneys in our firm have acquired and maintained the specialized knowledge required to address the increasingly complex legal issues facing senior clients and their families. Legal representation provided by our attorneys includes matters such as protecting vulnerable seniors from financial exploitation, obtaining court appointments as conservators and guardians for incapacitated adults, and planning for Medicaid eligibility for payment of the costs of long-term health care.
One key aspect of elder law is Medicaid eligibility planning. This involves the preservation of assets in the face of impending long-term health care expenses for a loved one. Our services can range from an office consultation on the available options under Medicaid asset transfer rules to active representation before an administrative hearing officer or a court to rectify an erroneous denial of Medicaid benefits. Our goal is to explore the applicant’s family and financial circumstances and develop optional strategies for preserving assets and income while establishing or maintaining eligibility for applicable government benefits.
Another aspect of elder law involves special needs trust planning. A special needs trust is an asset management trust designed to provide for the quality of life of a beneficiary who is or will be receiving government aid, while preserving those trust funds from the typical “spend-down” requirements. Federal and state laws require compliance with very technical rules if such a trust is to achieve the purpose intended, so the planning process requires careful analysis in order to prevent the inadvertent loss of eligibility for benefits. Special needs trust may be created by a third party (such as a parent or grandparent) or by the disabled person (usually through a legal representative), and the permissible distribution terms for each will vary significantly. Our attorneys are well versed in special needs planning.
Guardianships and conservatorships are often a component of elder law planning. A guardian is a person appointed by the court to manage the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, while a conservator is an individual (who may be the same person as the guardian) appointed to manage financial affairs for the person adjudged to be incapacitated. Our attorneys can advise you of the need for a guardian or conservator and assist in every aspect of the process.
Unfortunately, the elderly are vulnerable targets of financial exploitation. Our attorneys are equipped to address legal problems whenever they arise in the context of senior clients and their families, including the abuse of powers of attorney, the exertion of undue influence in the execution of estate planning documents, and the unauthorized access to the often limited resources of the elderly individual.
BOB PRIOR is a Partner with Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire, LLC. Bob, a Madison native, is a 1982 graduate of Morgan County High School. He received an appointment to the United Stated Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and graduated from Annapolis in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.