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Elder Law and Strategic Asset Planning

The elder law attorneys at Hays Firm LLC are attentive to the unique needs of its older clients and constructs pragmatic estate plans for those individuals and families which may include: strategic Medicaid planning; durable powers of attorney for property and health care; as well as living wills, where appropriate. In addition, the firm also helps clients who are dealing with long-term health care issues, including establishing and administering guardianships.

Medicaid Planning

Medicaid is a government program that covers an individual’s long-term care expenses if they meet strict income and asset requirements. Medicaid-related asset protection planning involves restructuring an individual’s assets in order to qualify for Medicaid so that less of a client’s assets need to be paid to a nursing home for long-term care. The decisions that an individual makes, with respect to estate and asset planning, may impact their eligibility for Medicaid programs for years to come.
Therefore, it is important to engage in estate planning as soon as possible so as to maximize the potential eligibility for these programs and prepare for the possibility of an extended nursing home stay. A complete evaluation of an individual’s asset plan includes an analysis of the benefits of long-term care insurance, life settlement of any existing life insurance policies, and the desirability of a reverse mortgage.

Medicaid Application Completion

Hays Firm LLC routinely files Medicaid applications for its clients and can advise on how to plan in a way that ensures the best chance for a successful application. The firm’s services include: counsel regarding the components of a successful application; assistance in gathering materials and information; preparation of the complete application and interaction and advocacy with the Department of Human Services which administers the Medicaid program in Illinois. The firm will prepare and file the entire application, including all materials and forms, monitor the application’s progress through the system, and will work with the assigned caseworkers to advocate for the acceptance of our client’s application.
Often there is a misunderstanding on the part of the caseworker which results in a denial of the application. Such misunderstandings may result from a misreading of the application or a misinterpretation of policy. In this event, Hays Firm LLC is often retained to file an appeal and follow through until the application is approved.
The Firm’s appeal-related services include the following: filing the appeal with the proper authorities; working with the client to prepare a response or defense to the Department’s claims or advise as to the missing materials that caused the denial; working with the Springfield Policy Office of Illinois Department of Human Services to obtain policy clarifications for use in negotiations with the caseworker handling the appeal; office conferences with the caseworker handling the appeal and complete representation at the hearing, if necessary.

Guardianship Proceedings

If an individual has no valid power of attorney in place and becomes disabled, the court must appoint a guardian to conduct that individual’s personal and financial affairs. This process can be time-consuming and expensive; therefore, it is important to ensure that the proper documents are in place in order to appoint a loved one to handle all affairs in the event of incapacity. The firm’s estate planning services include creation and execution of the necessary powers of attorney which prevent the need for the guardianship proceedings described above. Nevertheless, in the event that such documents are not in place and a guardianship proceeding becomes necessary, the firm is experienced in all procedures related to the appointment and administration of guardianship estates in Illinois.

Long-term Health Care Planning

Long-term health care insurance is a form of asset protection for both elderly clients and their families. There are many long-term health care insurance policies on the market today and great care must be taken to find the best policy for a particular client’s needs. In addition, many situations call for a client to enter into a long-term contract for health care services, and certain assisted living arrangements. The firm works with its clients to help them navigate through these issues and put a long-term health care plan in place that suits their family’s immediate and future needs.