Texas Elder Law Attorneys:
A Warning on Medicaid Planning--
Texas Human Resources Code Section 12.001 states that non-attorneys are prohibited from charging a fee for assisting or representing a person in obtaining Medicaid benefits from the department. The penalty for violating this practice is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by jail and fine.
The Medicaid eligibility rules are complex and change frequently. It is important to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about this program to get accurate, thorough and reliable advice on your options. Mistakes can be costly and information from non-attorneys is often inaccurate or incomplete.
Many seniors and their families don't use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they're afraid of the cost. But an elder law attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your elder loved one. Instead of taking steps based on what you've heard from others, doing nothing, or enlisting a non-lawyer referred by a nursing home, you can hire an elder law attorney.
What is an Elder Law Attorney?
Most elder law attorneys handle a wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters. Elder law is a legal term coined to cover an area of legal practice that places an emphasis on those issues that affect the growing aging population.
The Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA) is a professional association of attorneys who are dedicated to assisting clients with public benefits, probate and estate planning, guardianship/conservatorship, and health and long-term care planning.
The legal needs of many older Americans go beyond basic legal services, and they're all interconnected. In addition to understanding the legal issues and complications that older Americans face, elder law attorneys must also understand the surrounding personal concerns of their clients for example, health, financial, and family issues and how those affect their clients legal issues.
What are Special Needs Attorneys?
Special needs attorneys can offer guidance to the trustees, financial planners and personal injury attorneys who serve individuals with disabilities and their families. We can advise:
personal injury attorneys on whether or not a special needs trust (SNT) should be created to hold settlement funds;
structured settlement brokers on the apportionment of personal injury awards and the use of special needs trusts in conjunction with structured settlements;
trustees regarding SNT distributions that will not disqualify one for public benefits
The following are other areas of expertise practiced by elder law attorneys:
There are special certifications for elder law attorneys such as the Certified Elder Law Attorney credential from the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). To earn this certification, you must have at least five years of experience practicing law, and have spent at least sixteen hours per week in the field of elder law during the previous three years, among other qualifications. The examination process lasts a full day.
An elder law attorney can be a great partner for you as you plan out the legal and financial aspects of the next stage of your life or the life of a loved one. Ask how long the attorney has been practicing, the percentage of his or her practice that has been in elder law, and whether there are aspects of this field the attorney specializes in and you should be able to find the right attorney for you.
Disclaimer: Elder Options of Texas is not rendering any legal or professional advice. If legal advice is necessary the reader should consult a competent attorney.
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