If someone you love needs Medicaid to help pay for long-term care in a nursing home, one Google search will reveal that there’s no shortage of traditional elder law attorneys who are ready and willing to help. But is a traditional elder law attorney, one whose practice focuses solely on getting older adults qualified for public benefits, really the best choice if your loved one needs long-term care? The Life Care Planning Law Firms Association posed this question to our associate attorney, Matthew Bravette.
According to Mr. Bravette, it may not be. Mr. Bravette says that the holistic approach employed by Life Care Planning Law Firms is often the better choice for families. “Health problems that create the need for long-term care certainly create financial problems because care is so expensive, and people are desperate to find a way to pay for it,” Matthew explained. “What people don’t realize is that an elderly loved one’s illness or disability creates a whole lot more problems that a traditional elder law attorney can’t help you solve.”
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Most families ready to visit an elder law attorney have reached a crisis point. “Imagine you’ve been married for 50 years and your spouse is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” Matthew said. “Eventually, they stop recognizing you and their care needs increase to the point where it’s too much for you. Where do you go from there? How do you decide what to do next? What kind of care does your loved one need? Which facility should you choose? How will you advocate for quality care? How will you know that you’re making the right decisions? What will you do if there are problems? A traditional elder law attorney is only set up to help you answer the questions related to paying for care. That attorney can’t answer any of those ‘what comes next’ questions.”
A Life Care Planning Law Firm, on the other hand, is equipped to help families answer every question from well before an older adult’s elder care journey starts until the very end. Matthew suspects that’s why more and more families are choosing to work with Life Care Planning Law Firms. “Some families are waiting until they reach that crisis point to come to us,” he said, “but others will come before the crisis because they want to protect assets for their kids, a healthy or “community” spouse, or possibly even to set aside money for their own long-term care and costs not covered by public benefits.”
Families working with Life Care Planning Law Firms get much more than help solving the financial problems created by the high cost of care. “Nobody ever wants to need a lawyer,” Matthew admitted, “but it’s different when you’re working with a Life Care Planning Law Firm. Our families get a team of attorneys, elder care coordinators, public benefits professionals, and others who are guiding them every step of the way. They don’t have to make any decisions on their own. We are walking beside them during an emotionally trying and exhausting season of life. We are with them the whole time, even after their loved one passes away, when we help them wrap up their loved one’s final affairs. I can’t think of anything better than being able to work with these families from start to finish. That’s what makes Life Care Planning so unique.”