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Elder Law vs. Estate Planning

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Almost everyone knows what you mean when you mention estate planning. Even if they feel they don’t have much, they know they need a will. Maybe they even have a trust. After COVID, some people are even aware of documents such as healthcare directives and power of attorney. 

But if you ask the same people about elder law, they will say the same thing. “Isn’t that estate planning?”

In short, that answer is wrong. 

This blog is here to help you get the basics of elder law and find out how it can work for you.

What is Elder Law?

First off, elder law is not estate planning. Estate planning is what happens when we die. It is how you decide who is getting the house. Or who will be in charge of your will? Ultimately, estate planning decides who will get your stuff. 

Elder law is what you use to plan for your golden years. As we continue to get older, we need more care. Elder law is how you plan for that care as you age. This includes assisted living, long-term care, and short-term care.

Why would I need Elder Law?

Most people don’t just walk out the door and drop dead in their tracks. Some of us will gradually decline in health as we age. As such, we will need end-of-life care. This is what elder law plans are for.

You have the opportunity to plan out what your life will look like during this period. Don’t waste this chance. Elder Law is life care to take control of how you will live for the remainder of your life.

What do you mean “life care”?

Elder law provides a proper legal plan for your care as you age. Without a proper legal plan, your family may end up in court arguing over who should care for you. They also make go broke trying to care for you due to a lack of planning on your part. 

Choose who you will take care of you, how you want to live, and how you want your money spent while you are alive. Without an elder law plan in place, important decisions may be out of your hands.

What Kinds of Decisions Are Made with Elder Law Plans?

While elder law is not estate planning, it does have some estate planning qualities. Elder law is a financial planning tool to help to protect your assets from tax penalties. It is the plan you would use to help you qualify for Medicaid without you going broke. It also protects your loved one’s inheritance from unnecessary taxation.

How does Elder Law Help Me?

When you work with an attorney to create solutions for your golden years, you are in control. You are the one calling the shots about how you will spend your future, not someone else.

In addition, should you need to use Medicaid for long-term care, you can plan for that in advance. Medicaid has a five-year look-back provision that often causes problems for elderly persons with substantial assets. You can avoid losing all your assets, or your children’s inheritance with elder law planning.

Florida provides many legal options to avoid having to “spend down” to your last dollar to qualify for Medicaid. But these options require time and appropriate planning to be effective. Trying to quickly “spend down” assets may cause your disqualification from receiving Medicaid and suspected of fraud. Be proactive in your planning to avoid costly mistakes. By choosing to speak with an elder law attorney, you are taking the right steps in securing your future. 

Learn more about the benefits of elder law planning in my blog How to Spend Down to Get the Most Medicaid Coverage. Meet with The Law Office of Lori Vella to draft your Medicaid plan today. 

Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!

Disclaimer: The Law Office of Lori Vella’s website contains general information directed to Florida residents. This firm does not intend to give legal advice through its pages and/or blog. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to find an attorney licensed in your state. This language on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this firm.

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