Elder Law Through Life Care Planning
Qualifying for Medicaid Doesn’t Have to Cost You Your House
Through careful planning, including using trusts and other strategies, we can help you protect your hard-earned savings from the high costs of long term care.
Medicaid Planning & Comprehensive Care Planning
Complete Legal Document Preparation
Continuing Client Care Advocacy
No One Should Have to Lose Everything Just to Receive Care!
If you are like most families navigating the many different challenges faced by aging seniors, you’ve probably found yourself confused as to where to begin and worried that one day you’ll have to spend down every penny to qualify for Medicaid. You know that having a plan in place is critical, but don’t know where that plan starts.
Many families feel stuck and fearful. How much relief would your family feel if you found one partner to help you plan for the care, legal, and financial concerns you face?
You’re Concerned & So Are We.
Families With a Plan Relax
The Life Care Plan places special emphasis on issues surrounding the people with ongoing care needs. Your plan is designed to ease your worries about finding, getting, and paying for the care you need. Our holistic approach to planning goes far beyond simply drafting legal documents.
Whether you are facing an immediate care crisis, or planning for the future, our team will help guide you through your options. We counsel our clients about things like long term care insurance, Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, wills with specific provisions for seniors and much more.
Flat Fee Billing
Life Care Plans, billed as a flat fee, include support, advocacy, legal documents, Medicaid/VA benefits planning, and more. Our Life Care Planning clients find value in having partners they know are looking out for their needs and easily within reach to assist.
How Your Plan Develops
After our intro phone call, we’ll send you a questionnaire to fill out and return to us. Then we will meet with our client and their family to discuss their care and estate planning needs.
Elder Care Coordinator Visit
Our Elder Care Coordinator visits our client or clients where they live to assess their abilities and needs. This assessment is the most critical part of the planning process.
We discuss our proposed plan, answer your questions, and execute any legal documents. You leave with the peace of mind that you’ll have the care you need.
The typical Life Care Plan includes a year of access to our team and quarterly check-ins with our Elder Care Coordinator.
Your Life Care Planning Team
Andrew Schierberg, Attorney
Andrew has dedicated his life to helping others through 20 years as a law enforcement officer in Northern Kentucky and 12 years as an attorney. Andrew chose to focus his practice on elder law and estate planning following the death of a close family member. In helping his family navigate the legal issues before and after the loved one’s death, he saw this area of law as a way to continue helping people in the community he has called home for his entire life. He also realized his experience as a police officer, where he was often with families experiencing a crisis, helps him as an attorney to navigate difficult situations with a calm approach.
Suzanne Piper-Baird, Elder Care Coordinator
Forever passionate about helping others, Suzanne began working with the senior adult population over 20 years ago. From social work to management of a dementia unit and on to outreach and development, she devoted herself to learning all aspects of senior care.
Suzanne started her own senior care business nine years ago. It grew out of her commitment to helping those in advanced age live their best lives. Now, through Life Care Planning she offers comprehensive options to senior adults and their families facing chronic illness, disability, home care and in-patient care and other life concerns. Her goal is to help and empower them in making confident care decisions.
One of her latest endeavors with the senior adult community is her role as a Certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, bringing activity, enjoyment and wellness to seniors through Laughter Yoga and senior exercise.
The Life Care Plan Model
We Focus On Care Because We Care
The Life Care Plan is likely different from any other interaction you’ve had with another lawyer. Most lawyers deal in “transactions.” That means you pay a fee to the lawyer for a transaction: for example, the lawyer closes a real estate contract for you and you pay him a fee for the service. That’s a transaction, and once the transaction is completed, the legal representation ends.
By contrast, your Life Care Plan with us is a relationship. Although we do create documents for you, help you with accessing and advocating for good care, and represent you in making application for public benefits, those services form part of our relationship with you—but none of them in and of itself is the relationship.
Like any good relationship, you will get the most benefit out of your Life Care Plan relationship by communicating freely with us about your health care and long-term care needs.
Three Dimensions of Life Care Planning
The legal dimension of Life Care Planning involves addressing your estate planning documents. If you have a current will, trust, power of attorney, or living will, we will review those documents with you to determine whether they still meet your needs. If your documents need updating or you don’t have some of these critical documents in place, we will draft them for you.
You may be working on restructuring or retitling your assets, changing beneficiary designations and the like. This is the financial care domain
The care domain is where our clients see the greatest benefit of Life Care Planning over traditional elder law. This domain includes health care, family and social supports, home, and transportation. Our Elder Care Coordinator assesses the needs of you or your loved one to put a plan in place that allows our client to age in place (with the right assistance), or identify the best place for our client to live with appropriate care.
Should I Put Everything I Own in a Trust?
There are three ways people in Kentucky pay for long term care: private pay, long term care insurance, and Medicaid. With the private pay rates for skilled nursing facilities averaging $108,000 to $144,000 per year, most people can’t afford to pay out of pocket, and if they can, they can’t do it very long. Because of this, many people end up on Medicaid for long term care.
Medicaid eligibility is based on income and asset limits, and if a person’s countable assets exceed the limit, they may be required to spend down those assets before becoming eligible for Medicaid. A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) is a legal tool that can be used to protect assets from being counted as resources when determining eligibility for Medicaid.
There are some potential downsides to a MAPT that individuals should be aware of. For one, the trust is irrevocable, which means that once the assets are transferred to the trust, they cannot be retrieved. Additionally, the trust may have restrictions on the use of the assets, which can limit flexibility and control.
We help our clients navigate the pros and cons of Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts along with other strategic options for addressing their long-term care concerns and we do this holistically through the Life Care Planning process.
What About Medicare?
Medicare coverage of nursing home stays is very limited. In order for Medicare to cover a nursing home stay, an individual must have been an inpatient in a hospital for at least three consecutive days prior to being admitted to the nursing home. The individual must be admitted to a Medicare-certified nursing home within 30 days of their hospital stay. The individual must require skilled nursing care. Finally, the care must be necessary and reasonable in order to treat the individual’s condition, and must be prescribed by a physician.
If these conditions are met, Medicare may provide coverage for up to 100 days of skilled nursing care in a nursing home. During the first 20 days, Medicare will cover the full cost of care. From days 21 to 100, the individual will be responsible for a daily coinsurance amount, which is adjusted annually.
Simply put, Medicare is only a stop-gap of sorts when it comes to long-term care and should not be considered an individual’s plan to cover a lengthy long-term care stay.