In recent years a number of non-lawyers have started businesses offering Medicaid and VA Pension planning services to seniors. While using one of these services may be initially cheaper than hiring an attorney, the overall costs may be far greater.
If you use a non-lawyer to do these types of planning, the person offering services may not have any legal experience or training. Bad advice can lead seniors to purchase products or take actions that won’t help them qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits and may actually make it more difficult. The consequences of taking bad advice can include the denial of benefits, inappropriate annuity purchases that have costly penalties to get out of, a Medicaid penalty period, or tax liability. This can cost seniors and their family thousands of dollars and results in worse care.
In response to the complications arising from non-lawyers offering Medicaid planning services, some states, and most likely more to come, have issued regulations or guidelines providing that Medicaid planning by non-lawyers will be considered the unauthorized practice of law. For example, in these states a non-lawyer may not render legal advice regarding qualifying for Medicaid benefits, draft a personal service contract, determine the need for or execute a trust.
Applying for Medicaid is a highly technical and complex process. A lawyer knowledgeable about Medicaid law in the applicant’s state can help applicants navigate this process. An attorney may be able to help your family find significant financial savings and better care for you or your loved one. This may involve the use of trusts, transfers of assets, purchase of annuities or increased income and resource allowances for the healthy spouse.
There are numerous benefits for hiring an attorney that is experienced in qualifying individuals for Medicaid and VA Benefits. An accredited attorney, needs to know how to meet the needs of their clients to protect their assets. This requires someone who has gone through these processes before and is up to date with changes in regulations and the law. Ensuring there are enough funds to cover living expenses and medical costs takes a comprehensive approach and a close relationship between an attorney and beneficiary. Knowledgeable and Pro-Active planning are key to affording the care you want.
Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been serving Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Council with Proactive Solutions. Call us today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.