Dear Attorney Tully, I read your articles all the time and have begun to wonder if my parents should be seeking the advice of an elder law attorney. My dad has Alzheimer’s and has recently taken a number of falls. Mom is frail and cannot take care of Dad. I think a nursing home may be in their future. My parents have not done any planning to protect their assets. Do you think we need to see an elder law attorney?
ANSWER: I’m sorry to hear about your parents’ situation.
Whether you need an Alzheimer’s planning attorney to assist you in the process depends upon your special situation. The following checklist will help you decide if it would be helpful to consult with an elder law attorney.
Is the applicant single, but has more than $10,000 in assets?
Is the applicant married and has more than $24,720 in assets?
Do the applicant’s assets include a trust, life insurance, annuities, long-term care insurance and interests in real property (including a residence), stocks, bonds, business property and/or retirement plans or IRA?
Has the Alzheimer’s patient or the spouse gifted or transferred any cash bank account, real property or personal property (i.e. something other than typical birthday and Christmas presents) to another person within the last 60 months? This would include placing another’s name on any real property.
Although the applicant may have enough income and assets to currently pay for his or her care needs, is the Alzheimer’s patient expected to be paying for long-term costs within the next 12 months?
Does the Alzheimer’s patient want to legally protect assets for a spouse or child?
If you have said “yes” to any of the above questions, it is in the best interest of the applicant to consult with an Alzheimer’s planning attorney before applying for benefits.
Attorney Daniel O. Tully is a partner in the law firm of Kilbourne & Tully, P.C., members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., with offices at 120 Laurel St., Bristol (860) 583-1341.