What is Elder Law?

Elder law focuses on the legal needs of the elderly.

What are some of the legal needs of the elderly?

The legal needs of the elderly can be divided into three distinct areas: 1) the present; 2) the future; 3) and after passing.

What are some issues that an elder law attorney can help a person with in the present?

People, whether they are elderly or not, require security in their income, assets, home, and health. The elder law attorneys at Law Group of Iowa help elderly clients and their families figure out the best formulation for protecting their assets in case of medical emergencies, illness, or other unforeseen events. In addition, we evaluate your needs to see how to maximize your opportunity for living your best life. Perhaps, you are eligible for VA benefits; perhaps there is a better Medicare supplemental plan available; or maybe there is an annuity that would better help to increase your income.

What are some elder law issues to consider for your future?

Let’s define the future a bit more clearly—in terms of elder law, the future means what happens after you reach a point where you require a material change to your living situation. What would be an example? The most common example is when you begin to require assistance for things like getting your groceries, maintaining your home, paying for power bills, driving with difficulty, or any other measurement of senility. This is not something to be ashamed of, but rather something to be planned for in advance. We all age and there is nothing we can do to hold off ALL of the ravages of time. But, with some good planning, we at Law Group of Iowa, can help your transition to a nursing home, specialized care facility, or even home-based community services, as easy as possible.

What are Home Based Community Services?

Home Based Community Services [HBCS] is an alternative to moving into a traditional nursing home. Rather than moving to a nursing home or specialized institutional facility, you can stay inside your home and receive services in the comfort of your own home. This is a fantastic option for someone that wants to remain in their home, they are able to take care of themselves for the most part, and they only need supplemental services such as prescription oversight or snow removal.

Do you have to be elderly to go to an elder law attorney?

Absolutely not. Whether you are seeking out advice and counsel for yourself, your special needs child, your parents, or whomever may need guidance, the attorneys at Johnston Martineau can help you.

How can an elder law attorney assist a young couple with a new baby?

If you are a young couple with a new baby, you have a lot of things on your plate. While figuring out disposable versus cloth diapers, remember that your baby’s future starts today. An elder law attorney can help both the parents and the child to start their futures on the right foot. For example, will the baby require a special needs trust, a college fund, life insurance, specialized medical care, etc.? Have the parents planned for what happens in the case of their deaths or incapacitation? Does the couple need life insurance, a trust, a specialized method for protecting the equity in their home from liability? Will their home be covered by flood insurance?

An elder law attorney can help this couple figure out all of those issues.

How can an elder law attorney help a mid-career professional?

You’ve made it, you’ve established yourself, and you don’t want to risk your future—that set of feelings is a great indicator that you need to see the elder law professionals at Johnston Martineau. The services we provide for those that are millennials, Gen Xers, and other working age generations, we call life or future planning. We fully understand—you’re not elderly and you still have a lot of living to do. So how can we help you? Mid-career, you have accumulated assets, like a car, or a home; you’ve put away money into savings, and perhaps a retirement account; and your parents are starting to get older and you’re not sure will happen as they age. We can help to evaluate your assets and see how best to protect them from liability. We can look at your savings and see if you are doing all that you can to prepare for retirement. We can also help go over the steps for assisting your parents and loved ones.

How can an elder law attorney help someone approaching retirement?

There is a lot of work to prepare for retirement that raise a lot of questions. For example: What age should I retire at? When can I retire? How can I figure out if I have enough saved for retirement? IS it too late to take out life insurance? Do I need to invest more aggressively? Should I start looking at nursing homes? How do I prepare for a nursing home? Are there alternatives to nursing homes? Does Medicare pay for nursing home care? Does Medicaid pay for nursing home care? Do I need long-term care insurance? How do I get long-term care insurance? Can I pay someone to monitor my different accounts?

We will work with a team of experts to assess, plan, and execute everything necessary for you to achieve your goals. We have experience working with accountants, financial planners, Medicare experts, long-term care experts, and many other professionals.

How is Law Group of Iowa different from other elder law practices?

We pride ourselves on working with reputable and well-established professionals. You are welcome to instruct the attorneys to work with any financial planning professional of your choosing. But, many people don’t have a dedicated accountant, financial planner, long-term care specialist, or Medicare expert. In that case, we will introduce you to a variety of professionals and make sure our office is a one-stop shop for your retirement planning. We don’t employ any other professionals, rather, we have created a flexible working environment to facilitate professional collaboration.

What’s the alternative to our one-stop shop?

Unfortunately, Iowa has very few elder law and Medicaid planning attorneys. This type of law also requires an enormous amount of collaboration among non-legal professionals. Therefore, to help you on this journey towards retirement security, we bring a variety of professionals to you at our office. In accordance with Iowa State Code, we do not have an exclusive agreement with any single non-legal professional. So how do we get everyone to the table on the same day? That’s the magic of the experienced professionals at Law Group of Iowa. We know how hard it is to plan for the future and we wanted to make your experience as painless as possible.

What can an elder law attorney do once it’s time to enter a nursing home?

We help people become Medicaid eligible. Nursing homes are astronomically expensive. Self-pay can approach $20,000 per month. Self-pay means 100% of the cost of the nursing facility would come out of your pocket. To avoid that, we assist individuals and family members to become Medicaid eligible. Is this ethical? Very! In fact, the State recommends working with a professional to plan for such an eventuality. Over 75% of women and 50% of men find themselves in nursing facilities at some point in their lives.

When is the best time to meet with an elder law attorney?

Yesterday. We work hard to shield your assets, protect your loved ones, and to enshrine your vision of tomorrow. Medicaid planning is by far the most intensive component of elder law, therefore, the sooner you meet with us, the more cost-effective and thorough the process will be. Planning for the future sooner rather than later avoids penalties and helps to reduce your future costs.

How do I get Medicaid approval now?

Call us today—we are available 24/7 and we will assist you through every step of the process. We will respond with compassion and professionalism during the Medicaid approval process. It is highly stressful and we know how to reduce that stress. We have experience and interact with Iowa’s Medicaid office on a daily basis. We have established relationship with the case workers and leverage those relationships to your advantage.

Why are there so few elder law attorneys?

You can see from the above—there are a lot of moving parts. Attorneys tend not to be number crunchers—they tend to be wordsmiths. Successful elder law attorneys are the ones that can balance the complex math with the soft touch of working with families and case workers. Also, a lot of attorneys prefer to work under as few statutes as possible. Elder law requires working within both federal and state law—there are Medicare codes, Medicaid statutes, IRS provisions, estate-planning case law, and many other moving parts that turns many attorneys away from this field.

That’s why Law Group of Iowa is here! We take the anxiety and stress out of the many, many different steps to aging. We make a commitment to make your dreams our passion.