Financial & Estate Planning

Wills / Living Wills | Financial & Estate Planning | Powers of Attorney

Nursing Home Planning

We Assist Clients Protect Their Assets From Being Used for Nursing Care Bills

Nursing home care and in-home nursing care are necessities for many people who have become incapable of caring for themselves on a day-to-day basis. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the impact of eventual nursing care on your assets and your family.

If you do not have long-term care insurance and do not qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid, nursing care can put a major dent in your assets. My main goal when a client retains me to assist with nursing home planning is to prevent this from happening.

  • If you think you may need nursing care in the future, it is never too early to take financial planning steps. By updating your estate plan and doing some gift planning, We may be able to help you preserve your assets and take full advantage of government benefits.
  • If a loved one needs to go into a nursing home now, there may be steps I can take to protect his or her assets from being taken to pay nursing care bills. At this stage, it is important to get independent legal advice and not rely on advice from the nursing home.

We understand that the need for long-term nursing care — now or in the future — can be an intimidating and emotional prospect. We can offer compassionate guidance and assistance with all aspects of the nursing care planning process to reduce the stress on you and your family.

You can rely on us for personal attention and prompt responses to your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office at 724-770-1040, or by e-mail.

Comprehensive Medicaid Planning in Pennsylvania

The high cost of nursing home care has made long-term planning a critical issue for nearly all middle class seniors and their families. With nursing home room rates around $10,000 a month, a senior’s savings can be depleted very quickly, leading to financial crisis. One way to address these kinds of concerns is through proper Medicaid planning with the help of an experienced lawyer.

Medicaid is a health insurance program funded jointly by the federal and state governments. To be eligible, you must be 65 or older, blind or disabled, have less than $2,000 of assets and little to no income.

Elderly people are often placed into a nursing home rather suddenly. These elderly people usually have a certain amount of assets, enough to prevent them from qualifying for Medicaid right away. That means the family is faced with paying thousands of dollars a month out of pocket. This is a crisis situation, requiring immediate attention from a lawyer. There are last-minute Medicaid planning tools that may be used to:

  • Protect some of the elderly person’s assets
  • Create protection for a healthy spouse

It is critical to avoid making moves with assets and property that could jeopardize the right to Medicaid coverage. Similarly, it is very important to use estate planning techniques that give assets to the healthy spouse and shield those assets from potential legal claims made by the nursing home or by Medicaid itself.

Many people are surprised to hear that Medicaid places a lien against the estate of the nursing home resident, hoping to get back some of the money they paid. I help clients reduce or eliminate the lien through proper planning.

Why Hire an Elder Law Lawyer?

Practically speaking, when an elderly loved one enters the nursing home, that expense becomes the largest expense your family has. For most middle class families, any money in any account would eventually be used to pay for care. The cost of hiring an attorney is far less than the potential cost of paying for long-term nursing home care. The cost savings, coupled with the peace of mind you get from knowing that your loved one is protected by an experienced lawyer makes it well worth it to seek representation. In most cases, the cost of an experienced elder law attorney is paid from funds earmarked for the nursing home.

You can rely on us for personal attention and prompt responses to your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office at 724-770-1040, or by e-mail.

Medicaid Trust Planning is an Effective Way to Plan for Nursing Home Care in Pennsylvania

One of the primary requirements to qualify for Medicaid is that the applicant must have virtually no assets or income. In an attempt to qualify, many people will transfer assets to others soon before applying to the program. Simply put, that does not work. The law requires asset transfers to be complete at least five years before applying for Medicaid.

Advanced Medicaid planning is an excellent opportunity to take the steps necessary to qualify for Medicaid without incurring the legal penalties. A Medicaid trust is a very useful tool for divesting yourself of assets and making yourself eligible for Medicaid.

The Benefits of an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust

If a person has money in bank accounts but they have no real plans to spend it, then that person may want to consider an irrevocable Medicaid trust. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Placing the assets in the trust means you do not have to deplete (“spend down”) those assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. The trust owns them, not you.
  • If you survive for at least a year after creating the trust, there will be no inheritance tax assessed on the trust fund.
  • The assets placed in the trust do not go through probate.
  • The trust can hold any kind of asset, not just cash.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

The main drawback is that the Medicaid trust has to be irrevocable. That means the creator must give up control of the assets. There are also some special tax considerations to take into account with Medicaid trusts.

Talk to an Attorney About Irrevocable Medicaid Trusts — Free Consultation

We ready to sit down with you and your family to evaluate whether a Medicaid trust could benefit you.  You can rely on us for personal attention and prompt responses to your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office at 724-770-1040, or by e-mail.

Probate & Estate Administration

The loss of a loved one is a difficult time for any family. The last thing you should have to worry about is how and when the legal necessities will be taken care of. The assistance of an experienced lawyer can help you ensure that the estate is administered properly and promptly.

Moving Your Case Efficiently Through the Probate Process

Estate administration, also known as probate, is the process of wrapping up the affairs of someone who has died and who has not placed his or her assets into a trust. The administration of an estate typically involves multiple steps, including the following:

  • Opening the estate and having an executor appointed
  • Settling any outstanding creditor claims against the estate
  • Setting funds aside in an escrow account to pay any final bills
  • Distributing the assets according to the will or the intestacy laws

When you retain Us to handle your case, you can be confident that we will not drag out the administration of your loved one’s estate for years over issues that could be resolved quickly. If a will contest or other dispute arises, we will take action to pursue a positive resolution.

If your loved one had a trust, you may also need assistance with trust administration. Under the new Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act, it is inadvisable to attempt to administer a trust without the assistance of a lawyer.  We can guide you through the trust administration process.  You can rely on us for personal attention and prompt responses to your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our office at 724-770-1040, or by e-mail.

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At Santillan Law Firm, P.C. we can assist you with Wills, Estate Administration and Estate & Financial Planning ‑ CALL Attorney Felicia E. Santillan today at 724-770-1040 or Contact us online