Haws & Burke, PC Haws & Burke, PC - Law Firm & Attorney

Elder Law

It is a common misconception that elder law consists merely of the execution of a Will, an Advanced Medical Directive and a Power of Attorney.

Elder Law involves planning for the elderly person in the post retirement years as well as guiding their children or other caregivers who are trying to assist them. We have extensive experience understanding the difficulties of the elderly person as well as the challenges confronting their children.

We have familiarity with many of the nursing and retirement homes as well as agencies that provide home care services. We can provide guidance to the children when hiring a custodian to assure compliance with some of the more stringent laws dealing with workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, tax withholding, and so forth, violations of which may impose criminal and civil responsibility. Children also need advice when presented with a nursing home contract. The pitfalls of signing a contract without good legal advice can be alarming. Such contracts often place restrictions on asset transfers and may impose personal liability on the children.

Children are often surprised to learn that Pennsylvania Act 43 [referred to as the Filial Responsibility Act] may impose personal responsibility on them for the nursing home bills of their parents.

We provide information to the elderly and to their children about the basics of Medicaid. Medicaid is a combined federal and state program which may provide financial assistance to families for the care of their elders. Several years ago, the federal government made major changes to the qualification rules in legislation known as the Deficit Reduction Act. Pennsylvania did likewise in legislation referred to as Act 42. Strategies used successfully in the past to preserve assets for the children and qualify the elderly parents for government assistance have been significantly limited by these legislative enactments. We make you aware of many of the dangers of using the outdated strategies.

The consequences of gifting by the elderly person should be analyzed under (1) the Medicaid disqualification rules, (2) the Internal Revenue Code and (3) the nursing home/retirement home contracts. Many well-meaning advisors, unfamiliar with the consequences of all three, have inadvertently given bad advice to their naive clients.

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