What is an Elder Law Attorney?

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					         A Look at a Few of the Issues that Elder Law
          Attorneys Deal with on a Day-to-Day Basis


                           PAUL A. KRAFT
                   Indiana Estate Planning Attorney

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?   1
    Elder law attorneys focus on matters that are of particular interest to senior
    citizens. It is important to discuss the eventualities of aging with a licensed
    professional if you want to be comprehensively prepared for the future.

    Let's look at a few of the issues that elder law attorneys deal with on a day-to-
    day basis.

    When you work you are paying taxes, and part of what you pay goes toward
    future Medicare coverage. Medicare is a government health insurance program
    for senior citizens You gain eligibility by accumulating retirement credits. You
    can earn up to four credits per year. If you have accumulated at least 40 credits,
    you will qualify when you reach the age of 65.

                                                     In 2014 you get one credit for
                                                     every $1200 that you earn. If you
                                                     earn at least $4800, you get the
                                                     maximum four credits for 2014.

                                                     As you can see, the requirements
                                                     are rather modest. Most people
                                                     are going to pay taxes on a
                                                     minimal amount of income for at
                                                     least 10 years. As a result, the
                                                     majority of Americans qualify for
                                                     Medicare coverage at the age of

    Medicare will help, but it does not cover everything. There are deductibles, co-
    payments, and premiums that enter the picture. You should be prepared for
    these out-of-pocket expenses.

    The Medicare program does not cover long-term care at all. Living assistance is
    considered to be custodial care. Custodial care is not covered. If you have to
    stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility, Medicare won't help.

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?                               2
    Assisted-living costs are very high, and they have been rising by a few
    percentage points annually. According to the Genworth 2013 Cost of Care
    Survey, the median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in Indiana
    in 2013 was $85,775. A year in a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living
    facility averaged $44,460.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells us that most of the
    adults in the United States will need living assistance eventually.

    When you add all of these facts together you can see that it is likely that you
    will need long-term care, Medicare won't pay for it, and it is very expensive.

    Elder law attorneys assist clients who are concerned about long-term care costs.

    Medicare won't pay for long-term care, but Medicaid will pay for it if you can
    qualify. Many people are surprised to hear that Medicaid actually pays for the
    majority of the long-term care expenses that are incurred by seniors. This is
    true even though most of them were qualified for Medicare.

    Medicaid is a need-based
    program. You have to be able
    to demonstrate significant
    financial need to qualify. Many
    people “spend down” in an
    effort to meet the eligibility
    qualification criteria.

    Spending down involves
    divesting yourself of assets in
    advance of applying for
    Medicaid. You have to
    complete this spend down well
    in advance of submitting your application, because there is a five year look back
    period. If you give away assets within five years of applying for Medicaid, your
    eligibility is delayed.

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?                              3
    Elder law attorneys have a thorough understanding of the Medicaid program
    rules and regulations. They assist clients who want to take steps to preserve
    assets with future Medicaid eligibility in mind.

    To be prepared for the eventualities of aging you should consider possible
    incapacity late in your life. You may be unable to make your own decisions
    during your twilight years. Elder law attorneys help clients prepare for this

                                                               You can select people
                                                               of your own choosing
                                                               to make decisions on
                                                               your behalf in the
                                                               event of your
                                                               incapacitation through
                                                               the execution of
                                                               documents called
                                                               durable powers of
                                                               attorney. Because they
                                                               are in fact durable,
                                                               they remain in effect
    even if you become incapacitated.

    If you don't think that you will ever become incapacitated, you should
    understand some of the facts. According to the Alzheimer's Association, nearly
    45 percent of people who are at least 85 suffer from the disease. One out of
    every eight individuals who is at least 65 has contracted Alzheimer's disease.

    Alzheimer's can strip you of your decision-making capabilities. The existence of
    Alzheimer's alone is enough to make incapacity planning a must. This being
    stated, Alzheimer's is not the only cause of incapacitation.

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?                              4
    Another pressing matter within the elder law community is that of elder financial
    abuse. Untold tens of millions of dollars are lost every year due to instances of
    abuse. It is difficult to know exactly how much is lost, because much of the
    abuse goes unreported.

    This is because the perpetrators of elder financial abuse are often family
    members and other people who are known to the victims. The victims don't
    report the abuse because they want to protect the perpetrators.

    Elder law attorneys help people who want to install safeguards to protect their

    There are certain eventualities that you may face as you get older. Elder law
    attorneys assist people who want to prepare for them.

    If you arrange for a consultation with a licensed elder law attorney, you can
    learn the facts and take steps to protect yourself.

    Genworth Financial

    Alzheimer's Association

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?                              5
    About the Author

    Paul A. Kraft

    Paul Kraft is Co-Founder and the senior Principal of Frank & Kraft, one of the leading law
    firms in Indiana in the area of estate planning as well as business and tax planning.

                                    Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate
                                    planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and
                                    state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the
                                    added perspective of an accounting background to his work.

                                    In addition to his practice, Mr. Kraft has lectured extensively
                                    in the areas of living trust planning, Medicaid planning, and
                                    presenting public and private seminars on the importance of
                                    proper estate planning. He has also authored various articles
                                    on estate planning and is a contributing author of LEGACY:
                                    Plan, Protect, and Preserve Your Estate–Practical Answers
                                    from America’s Foremost Estate Planning Attorneys.

                                    Mr. Kraft is a co-founder of the Indiana Network of Estate
    Planning Professionals, a charter member of the AmericanAcademy of Estate Planning
    Attorneys and a founding member of the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys. He is
    also a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, including the Taxation, Business Law and
    Estate Planning sections; the Indiana State Bar Association, including the section on Taxation
    Law; the Indiana CPA Society; and the Estate Planning Council of Indianapolis. Mr. Kraft is
    admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Indiana, U.S. District Courts, and U.S.
    Tax Court.

    Frank & Kraft
    A Professional Corporation
    Attorneys at Law

    135 N. Pennsylvania Street Suite 1100
    Indianapolis, IN46204-2485
    Phone: (317) 684-1100
    Fax: (317) 684-6111

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?                                            6

Description: A look at a few of the issues that elder law attorneys deal with on a day - to - day basis.