Elder Law Planning in Buffton, SC
Elder Law is a critical field that addresses the unique legal needs and challenges faced by seniors and their families. As the population ages, understanding and navigating the complexities of elder law, from estate planning to long-term care and Medicaid planning, becomes increasingly important for ensuring a secure and dignified future.
At Montgomery Law Firm, LLC, we understand that planning for the later stages of life can be overwhelming and sometimes daunting. Facing the financial, medical, and legal challenges that come with aging is not easy, and it’s natural to feel uncertain about the future. Our South Carolina elder law attorney is here to support you in developing a plan that not only secures your future but also aligns with your personal wishes and preferences. We know how important it is to have peace of mind, knowing that if you ever become incapacitated, your assets will be safeguarded, especially if assisted living or nursing home care becomes necessary.
It’s a hard truth that 70% of Americans face financial difficulties within just one year of entering a nursing home. The thought of being in such a vulnerable position is unsettling, and without proper legal guidance, anyone could find themselves in this situation. Consider that nearly 75% of people over 65 will require long-term care, and in Bluffton, SC, the costs are substantial – averaging $7,200 per month or $86,400 annually.
Our elder law attorney, Hunter Montgomery, is deeply committed to helping you avoid these stressful financial burdens. He’s here to guide you through creating a protective plan for you and your family, shielding you from unexpected and burdensome long-term care costs. If you’re in or near Bluffton, SC, and feeling anxious about these possibilities, please reach out to us at (843) 815-8580 or visit our contact page. We offer a free initial consultation to start easing your concerns.
Elder Law in Bluffton, South Carolina
During the period between 1944 in 1964, an unprecedented number of babies were born. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “baby boom.” If you do the math, you can see that these people are attaining senior citizen status.
The Social Security Administration has stated that they are receiving an average of 10,000 applications for benefits each and every day. They expect this volume to continue into the foreseeable future.
An Elder law attorney is legal professional that focuses on the needs of senior citizens. Since so many people are entering this category, our services are particularly relevant.
Long-Term Care in South Carolina
Without question, the most pressing elder law issue that we are facing is the matter of long-term care. The vast majority of senior citizens will qualify for Medicare when they reach the eligibility age. This government health insurance will provide a strong safety net, but there are out-of-pocket costs.
In addition to the premiums, copayments, and deductibles for products and services that are covered, there is the gaping hole in the Medicare framework. This program will not pay for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and it does not pay for in-home custodial care.
If you are not too concerned because you think that it is likely that you will never need living assistance, you are in for an unpleasant surprise.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, seven out of every 10 seniors will require help with their activities of daily living. About 35% of them will ultimately reside in nursing homes.
It is not easy to get out a checkbook and pay for nursing home care on your own. The costs are rising year-by-year, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000 for year in a private room in a nursing home. These expenses can be doubled for married couples.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
What’s the solution? For many, it is Medicaid eligibility. This jointly administered federal/state government health insurance program does pay for the custodial care that you would receive in a nursing home.
You are probably aware of the fact that Medicaid is only available to people with very limited financial resources. There is a Medicaid asset limit of just $2000, but there are some things that do not count, including your home.
Other non-countable assets include one vehicle, wedding and engagement rings, heirloom jewelry, personal effects, and the items that you have around the house. You can have up to $1500 of whole life insurance and unlimited term life insurance.
Prepaid burial plots are perfectly okay, and the program will not preclude you from eligibility if you have $1500 or less set aside for final expenses.
It should also be noted that a healthy spouse is entitled to certain property rights. There is a Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance that gives the independent spouse the ability to keep half of the shared countable assets up to a limit.
The healthy spouse can also continue to receive income that is brought in by the institutionalized spouse if it is needed to maintain a minimal standard of living. This is called the Medicaid Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance.
When it comes to the assets that are counted, you could engage in a process called a Medicaid “spend down.” You could actually spend your assets yourself, but most people that take this route give loved ones their inheritances in advance.
Timing is key when you are spending down, because there is a five-year Medicaid look back period. You are penalized and your eligibility is delayed if you give away assets within five years of your application submission.
To explain the penalty through the use of a simple example, if you gave away enough to pay for two years of nursing home care, your eligibility would be delayed by two years. This is why it is important to plan ahead in advance with the benefit of legal counsel.
Can the Montgomery Law Firm Help Me Apply For Medicaid?
We recognize the complexity and timing of Medicaid applications – they can only be made when it’s medically necessary, which often adds to the stress. Hunter Montgomery is not just a Medicaid planning attorney; he’s someone who understands the importance of securing your finances with a thoughtful long-term care plan.
When it’s time to apply for Medicaid, the groundwork we lay together can significantly shorten the processing time, which typically takes about six months. Having a Medicaid asset protection lawyer by your side means you have a plan ready for when you need it, ensuring you can access Medicaid benefits promptly when the need arises.
You can also read more on elder law attorneys and what they do on our estate planning blog.
Contact Us for Help with Elder Law & Medicaid Services
We are here to help if you would like to take steps to protect your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones with future nursing home costs in mind. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 843-815-8580.
Our Estate Planning Lawyer is located in Bluffton, SC near Hilton Head Island, proudly serving clients from Pritchardville, Okatie, Brighton Beach, Windmill Harbor, and all of Beaufort County.