As life expectancies continue to increase, and as advances in technology make getting older easier and more expensive, elder law is occupying an increasingly important place in the life of the average American. Not only is the aging baby boomer generation focusing more attention on this vital area of the law, but government programs such as Medi-Cal are forcing many people to grapple with legal and governmental issues they have never faced before. Trying to understand the complexities of elder law and Medi-Cal issues can be difficult for anyone, especially when you are faced with a potentially difficult situation that requires immediate attention.
What will happen to your parents if they can no longer look after themselves? What options do you have if you are nearing retirement and are worried about finding the right retirement home for you and your spouse? What will happen to your property if you become incapacitated and need someone to manage it for you? How do you protect yourself from those who might abuse you or take advantage of you?
Answering these questions is what elder law is about. Elder law is not one specific area of the law, but is rather a collection of issues and legal areas that seniors and their families most commonly confront.
For example, it has been estimated that about 40% of all adults will need to seek some type of long-term care in their lifetimes. Whether this care is temporary or permanent, there are significant legal issues involved when someone transitions into a long-term care environment. Understanding what rights you have, what choices are available to you, how you can develop a plan to pay for the expenses, and navigating the government programs that might be available to help you are all covered under the broad umbrella topic of elder law.
Medicaid is the public health care program run by the individual states and the federal government. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid. The program is designed to provide health care and health care insurance to children and adults with limited resources or income.
Applying for Medi-Cal, and understanding when you might be able to take advantage of the program is often much more difficult than many people believe it to be. Medi-Cal imposes some significant limitations on who can receive the program’s benefits. Fortunately, many people are able to structure their estates in such a manner that they can use Medi-Cal to pay for certain health care expenses, such as the cost of long-term care.
Developing an Elder Law Plan
Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and in order to develop the proper elder law plan, you need to take into consideration a number of factors. At the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law we have extensive experience helping our clients do precisely this. If you have any elder law concerns or need legal advice, contact us immediately so we can begin helping you as soon as possible.