Elder Law, Estate Planning & Asset Protection

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Elder Law is a specialized field of law which includes estate and incapacity planning, asset protection, and long-term care planning.

At Russo Law and Mediation, we understand the many complex issues involved in protecting your health and wealth. Through caring and compassionate counsel, we will help guide you in planning for your future care as you age, including who you wish to assist you with health care and financial decisions and when they should get involved in decision making, payment for your care while preserving assets, and the distribution of your assets after you pass.

It is a myth that only the old or wealthy need estate planning. Whether substantial or modest, every individual has an estate because every individual has assets.  Regardless of the value of your assets, estate planning is important because it allows you to decide how your assets will pass to your surviving family members or others, and avoid the probate process, costly conflicts between heirs, and estate taxes. Through the use of wills and trusts, and guardianships for minor children, an estate plan allows you to take control of your family members’ and loved ones’ financial security, ensure your wishes are carried out upon your passing, and leave your family free of uncertainty and chaos.

Because illness and incapacity are often sudden and unexpected, it also is never too early to take steps to ensure your wishes concerning your finances and health care are carried out during your lifetime. This can be accomplished through a variety of mechanisms called Advance Directives. Advance Directives are a way to be prepared at any age for the uncertainties of life by allowing you to clearly declare your wishes.

Advance Directives include:

Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney gives you the ability to authorize a person designated by you to carry out any specified legal, financial, or business obligations on your behalf.

Health Care Surrogate
A health care surrogate is the person designated by you to make decisions regarding your medical treatment in the event you are unable to make or communicate those decisions.

Living Will
A living will gives you the ability to decide whether life prolonging procedures should be used or withheld in the event you become incapacitated and unable to make your own health care decisions, and have a terminal condition, an end stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state.

Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian
A pre-need guardian is the person designated by you to be appointed in the event you become incapacitated and can no longer manage your own affairs.

Similarly, the earlier you start planning to pay for your best possible future care as you age, the better.  People often wait too long to start their preparations, waiting until they are faced with a crisis. This can require the need to immediately arrange for care at home or in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The fact is the cost of long-term care is on the rise and can cost upwards of $10,000 per month which could quickly deplete savings and other assets. Poverty is a prerequisite for government assistance such as Medicaid for long term care. The State looks at the income and assets of both the individual and spouse to determine eligibility for long-term care assistance.

Whether done proactively or in a crisis, our estate planning services include a comprehensive plan to protect your income and assets within the parameters of the laws to avoid you, your spouse, and your family from financial impoverishment.

Our services include:

    • Wills and Trusts
    • Living Wills
    • Health Care Surrogate Designations
    • Health Care Powers of Attorney
    • Do Not Resuscitate Orders
    • Powers of Attorney
    • Incapacity Planning
    • Long-term Disability Planning
    • Long-term Care Asset Protection Planning
    • Medicaid, Social Security and VA eligibility and application for benefits
    • Special Needs Planning for heirs with disabilities