General Questions

A: The first hour is COMPLIMENTARTY!  If you feel the need for further consultations, we charge $450 per each additional meeting until a scope of services is agreed upon.

A. If travelling is difficult or impossible, we will try and arrange our schedule to make an onsite visit.  A travel fee will be charged to you if it warrants too many firm resources.

A: The items needed for a first consultation may vary depending on the reason you want the consultation, but a general list can be found here (Link to “Items to bring to our first meeting”)

Medicaid Questions

A: If you qualify, Community Care Medicaid benefits include custodial care at home, like having an aide come to your house for a set number of hours a day to be sure you are fed, dressed, comfortable, etc. They help with limitations of your activities of daily living and Medicaid pays the aides, so you don’t have to pay them. Medicaid in and of itself is a welfare program. To qualify for it, you need to have assets and resources below $15,900 (2021 Number). If you give away your assets to become eligible to a nonexempt person, there will be a penalty period before you can receive Medicaid benefits. A new law was instituted in 2020 that says there will be a 30 month look back or until October 1, 2020 whichever is shorter. This means Medicaid can audit your finances for that period of time to see if any transfers or gifts were made during that period. If any are found they impose a penalty. The penalty is calculated so that for every $13,834 you gave away during that period of time, you will have to privately pay for your services for one month. Therefore, if I gave away $27,668, I would have to pay 2 months of my care privately before Medicaid would start paying. Such transfers will also affect your eligibility for Medicaid to pay for your Chronic Care if you need to enter a nursing home within five years of making such transfers.

In addition to the asset and resource limit, Medicaid has an income limit when applying for Community Care Medicaid; it only allows an individual to keep $884 (2021 number) of his or her income per month. Medicaid is entitled to use the rest of that individual’s income (a/k/a that individual’s excess income or “overage”) to pay the Managed Long Term Care company (or “MLTC”) that provides the home health aide services. For many seniors, this is a serious problem. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to meet the costs of living on Long Island with such a low-income allowance. However, there is a way to keep the benefit of your excess income while still qualifying for Community Medicaid assistance, and that is by joining a pooled trust. These types of trusts are run by not-for-profit companies, and one of their benefits is that they allow people on Community Medicaid to keep the income they need for living expenses.

Estate Planning Questions

A: Estate Planning is developing a legal method of maximizing and then distributing your wealth.  Everyone has an estate. It is merely the reference used to describe everything you own. Your physical wellbeing  is at least as important as your financial comfort, and therefore, Estate Planning should include planning for health.  There are four core documents needed in a basic estate plan: A Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will.   If the four core documents cannot achieve a particular goal ,there are more complicated tools that can be used such as Trusts.

A: A Last Will and Testament can be simple or complex. It can eliminate many problems and misunderstandings in the settlement of your affairs.  In some situations, a Living Trust may help simplify administration, as well as offer lifetime benefits.  You can learn more about Living Trusts – Here.  At a minimum, you appoint someone to pay any  debts and taxes due and to distribute remaining property under the Will to the named beneficiaries. If you have children that are minors, trusts and guardianships are a good thing to establish. If you have difficulty in deciding who should play the role of guardian, understand that your Wills can contain different terms than your spouse.  So often times it is better to agree to disagree opposed to not establishing anything, because you then leave the decision making up to New York state – and you may not like who they choose.  When someone dies without a Will or,  sometimes worse, with a poorly written Will, the survivors often are unpleasantly surprised.

A:  Under a Health Care Proxy, you name someone or to make health care decisions for you. However, this person has authority only if a doctor determines that you cannot make those decisions yourself.  You can name multiple people, but they cannot act together, instead, it is a descending order of preference in the event your first choice is unwilling or unable to act.

A:  Under a Health Care Proxy, you name someone or to make health care decisions for you. However, this person has authority only if a doctor determines that you cannot make those decisions yourself.  You can name multiple people, but they cannot act together, instead, it is a descending order of preference in the event your first choice is unwilling or unable to act.

A: A Living Will is typically a personal statement that is effective only in extreme circumstances.  A Living Will is referred to when you have an illness r injury that is terminal and death is imminent, and the attending physician believes that your condition is irreversible.  In this situation, your Living Will tells the doctor, the hospital and your family members of your wish regarding life support. In a Living Will, you state your instructions to withhold or withdraw medical treatment generally that prolongs the process of dying.  Sometimes, the issues regarding such treatment usually overlap with an agent’s authority under a Health Care Proxy and therefore your  intentions should be discussed with your health care agent.

Estate and long-term care planning often can get more complex. Trusts and other asset transfers can be valuable in many circumstances, such as minimizing taxes, avoiding probate, and planning for Medicaid eligibility. However, the documents discussed above should be in place for everyone. In fact, a comprehensive Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will ought to be more important to you than a Will. If, for example, circumstances develop where you cannot handle your own finances and/or cannot make health care decisions, these rather inexpensive documents usually will avoid the significant costs and delay of having a guardian appointed by a Court.