Elder Law

Seniors often face their biggest challenges when they are least able to handle them.

With aging come complex legal, financial and family issues that often require urgent and emotional decisions. We are here to help – whether it’s preparing for an uncertain future with thoughtful estate plans or assisting elderly clients and their families as they tackle the intricacies of Medicaid and the costs of nursing home care. Our sensitive and practical approach offers you access to attorneys who assist with a range of needs related to wills and trusts, real estate, taxes, family law and more. We’re here for you to clarify confusing laws and regulations, empower you to make momentous decisions confidently, and do everything possible to give you and your family peace of mind.

SOME OF THE WAYS WE CAN HELP YOU
My spouse now lives in a nursing home. Do I have to spend all of our assets to pay for it?
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No. There is a lot of myth and misinformation about how you pay for nursing home care. One way is to use your assets to pay for the nursing home every month. But you might also apply for Medicaid or for Veteran’s Benefits (if you are a veteran or the widow of a veteran).
When and why should I get help with Medicaid planning?
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Anyone over the age of 60 should think about having this conversation with an attorney. It is a lot easier and less stressful to plan when there is no emergency, rather than at the moment when a spouse is being transferred from rehab to a nursing home. Many people do this planning because they know someone who spent all of their assets on a nursing home.

If you are in any of these situations, it would also be wise to talk to an elder law attorney ASAP:
• There is a dispute between family members on where your parent should reside.
• You or a loved one was diagnosed with early onset dementia.
• Your spouse is going into a nursing home.
• You just found out that a loved one is being involuntarily discharged from a nursing home or
assisted living facility.
• A parent has moved into an adult child’s house or an adult child has moved into the parent’s
home.
Is it as difficult as I’ve heard to apply for Medicaid?
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Anyone can apply for Medicaid, but you have to know and understand various Federal and State laws and regulations. Completing the application is a time-consuming process. Some families decide not to apply because the process can be so burdensome; you must provide five years of tax returns, income statements for annuities and pensions, and statements for all assets (among other requirements). If you forget or overlook any of the necessary documents, the application may be delayed for months. If you don’t understand and satisfy all of the rules, you may cost the person in the nursing home tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary penalties.
My dad doesn’t have an estate plan. Now he has Alzheimer’s and is no longer competent. How can I make decisions for him?
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As you probably know, families can avoid the problem you are having if Dad has Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives in place. When that’s not the case, you may have a few options. If you are a signer on the checking account or if you have a joint bank account, then you might be able to continue to pay bills and make financial decisions. Depending on the family situation, you might be able to make medical decisions for him, too. In Maryland, if you are next of kin and the family is in agreement then you probably will be able to make his medical decisions. On the other hand, in some situations, no one can pay their loved one’s bills or make medical decisions. In those types of cases, you might need to petition the Court to be Guardian of your father to make his financial or medical decisions.
How old do I have to be to consult an elder law attorney?
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You’re never too young. Elder law isn’t just about the elderly. One of our major priorities is to prepare you in advance for the unique challenges that can arise as the years add up. Estate planning is key. We can also advise you on the ins and outs of long-term care insurance, as well as other proactive steps that can have huge impact on your future quality of life.
How much does a nursing home cost in this area?
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One long-term cost-of-care study in 2016 found that the median cost in Maryland is $9,444 per month. Our experience is that costs are between $10,000-$15,000 per month in Montgomery County.
MCMILLAN METRO OFFERS YOU EXPERTISE IN:
  • Preservation of Assets to Avoid Spousal Impoverishment
  • Medicaid Pre-Planning and Crisis Planning
  • Planning for Disability or Incompetency
  • Conservatorships and Guardianships
  • Estate Planning
  • Assistance with Court Reports for Personal Representatives or Guardians
  • Administration and Management of Trusts and Estates
  • Long-term Care Placements in Nursing Homes and Life Care Communities
  • Nursing Home Issues
  • Elder Abuse and Fraud Recovery