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Committed to Serving Pennsylvania Seniors and Their Families
As individuals age or face the responsibility of caring for aging parents, numerous legal questions arise. How does one navigate the complexities of Medicaid? What happens to their property and assets during their lifetime? And what estate planning arrangements should be in place for when they pass away?
At Keystone Elder Law, P.C., our experienced New Kingstown elder law attorneys are here to help you find answers to these and many other pressing questions. Our Pennsylvania estate and long-term care planning law firm is dedicated to addressing the unique legal challenges faced by seniors. Whether you are seeking guidance in settling your own affairs or require assistance with a parent or elderly relative’s legal situation, we are ready to provide support.
How Our Kingstown Elder Law Attorneys Can Assist Your Family
Elder law in Pennsylvania encompasses the diverse legal issues affecting older adults in the Keystone State. While some may believe that elder law only pertains to seniors with substantial wealth or complex family situations, the reality is that everyone is impacted by elder law at some point in their lives, whether through direct personal experience or while assisting a family member facing these challenges.
At Keystone Elder Law, P.C., our attorneys can provide guidance in the following areas:
- Estate Planning: An estate plan is essential for individuals of all financial backgrounds, not just the wealthy. Beyond a will, an estate plan includes documents such as a power of attorney and others that direct the management of an elder person’s financial and personal affairs while they are alive.
- Long-Term Care Planning: As health declines with age, many individuals require some form of long-term care. This can involve residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility or receiving in-home assistance. We can assist you in developing a personalized long-term care plan that best suits your needs.
- Medicaid Asset Protection: Medicaid often becomes necessary to cover nursing home care costs. However, for seniors who own property or assets, applying for Medicaid raises concerns. Special measures must be taken to protect assets during the Medicaid application process to avoid potential legal complications in the future.
The Importance of Working with a New Kingstown Elder Law Attorney
The complexities of the legal system often leave seniors and their families feeling overwhelmed. Many individuals believe they must navigate long-term care expenses or estate planning matters on their own. However, you are never alone. Our Kingstown elder law attorneys are here to guide you through every step of the process. We will attentively listen to your story, address your legal concerns, and assist you in determining the best options for you and your loved ones.
If you are in need of an experienced and compassionate estate planning attorney, don’t hesitate to contact Keystone Elder Law, P.C., today to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation. We proudly serve clients in Kingstown and throughout Silver Spring Township, offering our unwavering support during your elder law journey.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney can be used to give another person the right to sell a car, home, or other property in the place of the maker of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney might be used to allow another person to sign a contract for the maker of the Power of Attorney (the person who makes a power of attorney is called the “principal”). It can be used to give another person the authority to make health care decisions, do financial transactions, or sign legal documents that the principal cannot do for one reason or another. With few exceptions, Powers of Attorney can give others the right to do any legal acts that the makers of the Powers of Attorney could do them themselves. A General Power of Attorney gives the “power of attorney Agent” or simply “Agent” (the legal name of the person who is authorized to act for the principal) very broad powers to do almost every legal act that the principal can do. When Elder Law Attorneys draft general Powers of Attorney, they still list the types of things the Agent can do but these powers are very broad. People often do general Powers of Attorney to plan ahead for the day when they may not be able to take care of things themselves. By doing the General Power of Attorney, they designate someone who can do these things for them.
Normal Powers of Attorney terminate if and when the principal becomes incompetent. Yet many people do Powers of Attorney for the sole purpose of designating someone else to act for them if they cannot act for themselves. It is precisely when persons can no longer do for themselves that a Power of Attorney is most valuable. To remedy this inconsistency, the law created a Durable Power of Attorney that remains effective even if a person becomes incompetent. The only thing that distinguishes a Durable Power of Attorney from a regular Power of Attorney is special wording that states that the power survives the principal’s incapacity. Even a Durable Power of Attorney, however, may be terminated under certain circumstances if court proceedings are filed. Most Powers of Attorney done today are durable.
Yes. At the time the Power of Attorney is signed, the principal must be capable of understanding the document. Although a Power of Attorney is still valid if and when a person becomes incompetent, the principal must understand what he or she is signing at the moment of execution. That means a person can be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or be otherwise incompetent sometimes but as long as they have a lucid moment and are competent at the moment they sign the Power of Attorney, it is valid even if they do not remember signing it at a later date. At the time it is signed, the principal must know what the Power of Attorney does, whom they are giving the Power of Attorney to, and what property may be affected by the Power of Attorney.
Any competent person eighteen years of age and older can serve as an agent. Certain financial institutions can also serve. There is no course of education that agent must complete or any test that Agent must pass. Because a Power of Attorney is such a potentially powerful document, agents should be chosen for reliability and trustworthiness. In the wrong hands, a Power of Attorney can be a license to steal. It can be a big responsibility to serve as an agent.
Medicare is health insurance and covers medical services such as physician appointments, therapy, blood tests, x rays, medical procedures and hospitalization. Medicare will sometime pay for rehabilitation in a long-term care facility for a period of 20 to 100 days, but not longer. In long-term care, Medicaid covers the cost of ongoing support services for daily functioning, such as room and board in a nursing home.
Medicaid is a federal program that is overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In Pennsylvania, Medicaid is called Medical Assistance and is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
In Pennsylvania, Medicaid funds are not available to pay for assisted living or personal care.
For Medicaid to pay for care in a nursing home, an individual recipient must be determined to need a nursing home level of care by a physician and the local Office of Aging. An individual whose income is not greater than three times the poverty level may keep up to $8,000 of total resources, but may otherwise keep only $2,400. The cash value of life insurance counts as a resource, but one car and a residential home does not count as a resource.
Empowering Clients with Holistic Planning at
Keystone Elder Law
At Keystone Elder Law, we believe that the physical, social, legal, and financial considerations of our clients all intertwine. We utilize an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate each area, which allows for the creation of a plan that addresses the concerns of the individual as a whole as well as the family. To this end, our model of practice includes a Care Coordinator (usually a nurse or social worker), whose expertise complements our team of attorneys.
When the road of life is smooth, decisions about legal and financial matters are easy to push aside for “a rainy day.” Planning ahead, however, will allow for more options as you view the map of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Don’t let a crisis limit your choices or derail your plans.(717) 697-3223