Elder Law Attorneys in Virginia Beach
The “graying of America” has made Elder Law a burgeoning area of need and importance. Elder Law encompasses many aspects of the law as it applies to seniors. In addition to traditional estate planning, Elder Law services we provide include:
Long-Term Care Planning
The skyrocketing costs of long-term care must be considered in anyone’s estate plan. For 2018, the average cost of long-term care across Virginia (except for northern Virginia) is $6,422 per month. Medicare pays a portion of the first 100 days in a long-term care facility. After that, the expenses of long-term care are covered by private payment, long-term care insurance, Veterans benefits, and/or Medicaid.
We can assist with your long-term care planning in a variety of ways:
- Analyze your long-term care insurance policy and explain its provisions.
- Break down the complex resource and income rules of Medicaid for clients in need of assistance in paying for long-term care.
- Provide recommendations for converting existing assets to exempt resources for Medicaid qualification purposes.
- Advise the “Community Spouse” who wishes to preserve assets for his or her own future needs while the “Institutionalized Spouse” is in a long-term care facility and receiving Medicaid assistance.
Guardianship and Conservatorships
Adult guardianships and conservatorships are the only mechanisms by which a party receives authority to make decisions for an incapacitated person who did not plan for his or her incapacity by preparing a power of attorney or a trust. (In some cases, where families are in conflict or a named agent under a power of attorney has been grossly negligent or engaged in misconduct, a guardianship and/or conservatorship is unavoidable even if estate planning documents are prepared.)
Guardians are appointed by the circuit court to make health care, living and well-being decisions for an incapacitated person. Conservators are appointed to make financial decisions and manage the assets/property of an incapacitated person. The process of being appointed a guardian and/or conservator can be lengthy. It involves procuring a physician’s evaluation that the appointment is needed, a guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed by the court to ensure that the guardianship and/or conservatorship is in the allegedly incapacitated person’s best interests, and a hearing where a judge hears evidence and determines whether to appoint the guardian and/or conservator and what powers they should hold.
We can guide parties who need to be appointed as guardian and/or conservator of a loved one through the steps of the appointment process and advise them of their duties and reporting requirements once appointed.