In recognition of National Older Americans Month this May, Genser Dubow Genser & Cona (GDGC), an elder law and estate planning firm based in Melville, is hosting a free elder law telephone hotline on Wednesday, May 4, for seniors and their families.
Long Island and New York City residents can call the GDGC hotline at 631-390-5000 and speak directly with an attorney between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. They can ask questions about how to protect their assets now and get the care they need down the road.
While everyone needs a customized plan, there are basic strategies that apply to everyone. Some of GDGC’s suggestions are to make asset transfers before a crisis occurs, preferably five years before needing long term care. The firm also often recommends transferring assets to a living trust, including title to the home, in order to protect its value.
Questions to consider asking GDGC during the special hotline are:
• How does a trust protect assets?
• When should I set up a trust?
• Should I protect my house by transferring it to a life estate or trust?
• What assets can be placed in a trust?
• What are Advance Directives and do I need them?
Planning ahead has always been critical for Medicaid/asset protection planning but the look-back may soon also apply to Veterans benefits. There are proposed changes to the law pending in Congress that will impose a 36-month look back and penalty period on asset transfers for veterans and spouses applying for aid and attendance pension benefits. These changes will negatively impact a veteran/spouse’s ability to secure pension benefits to help cover the costs of a home health aid or the cost of assisted living.
“If the proposed changes to the aid and attendance pension benefit program passes Congress, veterans who have not planned ahead will not be able to access this important benefit that has helped so many veterans pay for the cost of assisted living or home care,” said Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner at GDGC. “It is crucial now for veterans to consult with an elder law attorney for the right strategies to protect assets and qualify for aid and attendance if needed.”
Accredited by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Negrin-Wiener has completed hundreds applications for veterans over the last seven years.
Some questions veterans may want to ask when calling the GDGC hotline are:
• What is the veterans aid & attendance benefit?
• How do i qualify for aid & attendance?
• How do the qualifications for aid & attendance and Medicaid for long term care differ?
• What are some of the proposed changes to the aid & attendance program?
When GDGC started working with Nick Paccione of East Northport, the family had just sold his mom’s home and was seeking an assisted living facility for her. By consulting with the elder law firm, an irrevocable trust was set up with the money from the house sale. This planning strategy enabled his mom to be eligible for the aid and attendance pension benefit since Paccione’s dad was a veteran, which covered part of the cost at Sunrise Assisted Living in Dix Hills. GDGC also handled the complex aid and attendance application.
“You need to find a great law firm that specializes in elder law,” said Paccione. “It’s important to ask a million questions and get answers that you can understand. We were fortunate to find GDGC as they are professional, patient and always available to respond to a question.”
All hotline callers will receive a complimentary copy of the firm’s publication: Your Guide to Elder Law & Estate Planning. The elder law hotline is one of many public service programs offered by GDGC.
For a free guide to elder law and estate planning, visit www.genserlaw.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-390-5000.