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PRACTICE AREAS

Elder Law

ELDER LAW

Are you or your loved one presently receiving long-term care at a skilled nursing facility?  Are you or your loved one suffering from a medical condition where you anticipate the need for long-term care at a skilled nursing facility?  Long-term care facilities are expensive!  Many seek to reduce out of pocket costs for nursing home expenditures while meeting the specialized medical needs of their loved one.  Wendy successfully helps families understand and qualify for Maryland Medical Assistance Long-Term Care benefits as well as other government and health care benefits to defray cost of care.  Benefit recipients and their families have a peace of mind knowing they or their loved ones are receiving the deserved specialized care while preserving personal assets from being depleted by costs of care.

Fifty-three-year-old, George, suffered a massive stroke.  George required long-term care at a skilled nursing facility.  With being disabled as defined by Social Security and requiring skilled nursing care, Wendy successfully secured public benefits for George while preserving assets for the benefit of family members, including the family home and a car.  George, however, did not have any estate planning documents in place at the time of his incapacity.  This prolonged the receipt of benefits and cost his loved one considerable time and expense.  George’s story continues under ESTATE PLANNING. 

Estate Planning

ESTATE PLANNING

Upon your passing, to whom and how do YOU want your assets distributed?  Who do YOU want to care for your minor or disabled child if you become unable to provide care?  Who will make decisions related to YOUR finances and medical care should you be unable to make these decisions for yourself?  Answers to these questions and others formulate YOUR estate plan.  No two estate plans are alike.  Your answers and wishes are reduced to writings, to include a will, trust, power of attorney, and advance healthcare directive. Wendy is skilled at drafting personalized, well-crafted estate plans – regardless of one’s age, net worth, family dynamics, and personal holdings.  These estate plans ensure your property is transferred to your designated beneficiaries following death; ensure that, in the event of your incapacity, your well-being and finances are protected and managed per your wishes; protect inheritances against creditors and bad marriages; and reduce estate and inheritance taxes.  What happens if you choose to not prepare your estate planning documents?  The State of Maryland steps in and makes decisions on your behalf in accordance with Maryland’s intestacy statutes.  The state-directed distributions do not often mirror your wishes.

This story continues from ELDER LAW.  George, an engineer, was the primary breadwinner and head of household of his family of three, including a wife and high school-aged daughter.  George managed the household finances, with bank accounts solely titled in George’s name.  Tragically and unexpectedly, at the age of 53, George suffered a massive stroke.  George, nor his wife, Anne, took the time to put into place their estate planning documents.  Because of such, no one had authority other than George to access the household bank account to pay bills as they came due.  Both the family home and car became subject to foreclosure and repossession proceedings, respectively.  Household utilities were threatened shutoff.  It was only through wages earned in her part-time, minimum wage job that Anne was able to keep her family afloat.  Guardianship proceedings was the only avenue available to gain the necessary authority to access George’s bank accounts.  This is a very expensive process borne by the incapacitated individual – it is also a very lengthy proceeding.   The court appointment of a guardian provided the necessary authority to access George’s bank accounts for payment of household expenses.  It also provided authority for the guardian to step into George’s shoes and apply for government medical benefits.  Had George completed his estate planning documents, guardianship proceedings could have been avoided and additional family resources protected.  Upon George’s passing several months following his stroke, George’s assets were distributed in accordance with Maryland’s intestacy statutes.  Maryland’s intestacy statutes provided that one-half of George’s assets were distributed to his wife, Anne, and one-half were distributed to his high school-aged daughter.  The daughter’s assets, while she is a minor, are held in a custodial bank account until reaching the age of 18 years.  Had George completed his estate planning documents, George would have controlled asset distribution upon his death.

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

- Geddy Lee, musician

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