The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle-class seniors and their families.
At Deland Law Office, we provide legal services for seniors and their families throughout the Metrowest area of Massachusetts. Our lead attorney, Jennifer A. Deland, Counselor-at-Law, is not only a skilled elder law attorney but a deeply compassionate person who understands the particular challenges of aging.
For most seniors, their health is declining and they must consider the present or potential need for eligibility for Medicaid/MassHealth benefits for long-term care. Nonetheless, now that people live considerably longer than they did in the past, much of the population spends decades enjoying their golden years.
Our elder care attorneys also offer first-rate legal advice to seniors and their families about how best to protect their assets, manage their legacies, and make sure that their wishes about healthcare and wealth distribution are carried out as they wish.
How Our Elder Law Attorneys Differ From Most
We have a double view regarding elder law; we see it from the perspective of the older person and also the person who is providing concern and, perhaps increasingly, care. Neither position is easy.
The older person may need varying degrees of assistance in terms of transportation, financial matters, lifting, etc., but still wants to retain as large a measure of independence as possible. The concerned relative typically is trying to balance their loved one’s need for autonomy with their own desire to protect their loved one from harm.
Elder Law Services Deland Law Offers
Contact us to discuss your options and make the best decisions about:
- Asset protection planning
- Healthcare planning with advanced medical directives
- Long-term care planning for assisted living or home health care
- Maintaining eligibility for Medicaid/MassHealth by creating an irrevocable trust
- Establishing other trusts for various purposes (e.g. special needs or spendthrift trusts)
- Creating conservatorships or guardianships
Estate Planning for Older Clients in Massachusetts
Many older individuals have never created an estate plan or have done so years ago and should have the documents updated. If you have to establish an estate plan or revise an existing one to reflect your present circumstances, we are here to help. We will take the time to listen carefully to the details of your particular situation so that we can establish an estate plan customized to meet your needs.
Although every person’s needs are unique, every senior should have the following essential estate planning documents:
- Last Will and Testament (Will) to name a personal representative and beneficiaries
- Durable Power of Attorney to give a trusted individual the authority to manage financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated
- Health Care Proxy to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unconscious or unable to communicate
- Advance Directive (Living Will) to state your wishes concerning end-of-life care, detailing which life-saving measures you want to be taken or not taken if you are unable to express your wishes (e.g. intubation, feeding tube).
- HIPAA Release form to name the family members you want to have access to your private medical information
Trust-Based Estate Plans
While many of our clients require only a will-based estate plan, some will benefit from a trust-based plan. This is because wills must go through the probate process, which can be costly and time-consuming, especially in high-net-worth estates with complex issues.
Once you become our client, we will discuss whether a trust-based estate plan benefits your situation. We may recommend such an irrevocable trust because in your case since it will  speed up the distribution of your assets and  protect those assets from creditors, lawsuits, and estate taxes. Also, a trust, unlike a will, is not a matter of public record. so it will keep your financial matters private.
Planning for Possible Incapacity and Long-Term Care
Though most of us would prefer to pass on peacefully, realistically we have to plan for possible incapacity and end-of-life care. The foundational documents listed above are invaluable.
While some people can afford to pay out-of-pocket for private nursing facilities or full-time home care, most cannot. Our elder care attorneys will help you to:
- Obtain long-term healthcare insurance
- Qualify for Medicaid/MassHealth eligibility while protecting your resources
- Connect with other talented professionals when necessary
Typically, the best bet in qualifying you for Medicaid, a means-tested program, is establishing an irrevocable trust that takes your assets out of your ownership.
One of the tasks our dedicated elder care attorneys take on is establishing guardianships or conservatorships when there is a need. Both help to protect a vulnerable person (known as the “ward”) who isn’t capable of navigating life alone.
Both guardianships and conservatorships offer the protection of a more capable person who will oversee and guide the ward’s actions and tend to their needs. The difference between the two is that the guardian plays a more personal role, while the conservator manages only finances. It is common for one person to take both roles. Since these roles are assigned through the court, we will guide you smoothly through the legal process.
Contact Our Experienced Holliston Elder Law Attorneys Today
Whether you are an older adult looking to create, revise or update your estate plan, or a loved one seeking guidance concerning how best to assist an older relative, getting in touch with Deland Law Office in Holliston, Massachusetts is a wise choice. You will find us patient and understanding as well as highly competent. Contact us now so we can take the steps necessary to give you peace of mind.
Jennifer A. Deland, Counselor-at-Law helps clients with elder law issues throughout the Metrowest area, including Holliston, Hopkinton, Milford, Medway, Medfield, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Sherborn, Dover, Southborough, Sudbury, and Westborough.