Stephen O Allaire
Attorney Stephen O. Allaire is the manager of the law firm of Allaire Elder Law, LLC, Connecticut lawyers advising on elder law and elder care. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and Georgetown University Law Center. He is past co-chairman of the Connecticut Bar Association Elder Law Section's subcommittee on Medicaid, and past Treasurer of the Section. His practice is elder law and elder care, dealing with Medicaid law, Veterans benefits, trust and estate planning and administration, home and asset protection, Medicaid applications and appeals and special needs trusts for those with disabilities.
Hiring an elder law attorney is an important decision. Having legal documentation about property, finances, powers of attorney, and final wishes is important as you or your loved one enter your final years. When you make the decision to hire the right elder law attorney, you will save valuable time, money, and energy.
Unfortunately, hiring the wrong elder attorney may mean that your problems have just begun. Many well-intentioned people, just like you, may hire an inexperienced law firm to save a few dollars or use do-it-yourself legal forms found online. To save you from this potential headache, here are some questions to ask when hiring an elder law attorney.
A Few Questions To Ask When Hiring An Elder Law Attorney
1. Are you a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association?
NAELA defines the scope of elder law and gives the latest news about legal issues affecting the elderly. NAELA also has a searchable directory, making it easier for you to find out if the firm you are considering is a member. The Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association deals with the elder law rules and laws specific to Connecticut. Our elder law attorney, Stephen O. Allaire, has been a member of NAELA since 1998, and has been an officer of the Connecticut Elder Law Section and frequent speaker on elder law issues.
2. How long have you been in practice?
Ask how long the firm has been in practice and how long the attorney has been practicing law. More importantly, ask how much experience he or she has handling elder law cases. A graduate of West Point and Georgetown University Law Center, Stephen O. Allaire was admitted to the Connecticut Bar Association almost 40 years ago.
3. What percentage of your practice is devoted to elder law?
Some attorneys claim to specialize in elder law. However, this may be just one of the types of cases they handle. At Allaire Elder Law, our firm is devoted entirely to the practice of elder law.
4. Does the firm handle at least five Medicaid planning cases per month?
At Allaire Elder Law, we take in many more cases than that and have sufficient staff to handle each case with close attention to detail.
5. Does the firm have in house social workers or elder care coordinators?
With such skills, families can be better advised on the amount and type of care needed, and where to get it.
Don’t be afraid to pose these questions when hiring an elder law attorney that you are considering. Stephen O. Allaire and elder law team sincerely wants to help relieve the stress and anxiety associated with the legal, financial and health care challenges of aging.
At Allaire Elder Law, Attorney Stephen O. Allaire and his staff provide you and your family with “compassionate care, and proven results.”
When you or your loved one ends up entering into a nursing home after a hospital stay, there is often concern about who will pay for care. Nursing home care can easily cost over $450 a day. If rehabilitation is involved, it can be even more expensive.
If a patient has been in the hospital for three days, then enters a nursing home, Medicare will pay for this care. During the first 20 days a person is in a nursing home, care is paid 100%. The following 80 days will be partially paid, but there is a $ 157.50 co-pay each day. For many people, supplemental insurance will cover this expense. If you have this type of policy, and you should, it will cover most of these costs.
However, there is a catch. Medicare only pays if the patient meets certain guidelines in regard to rehabilitation. If the patient wants to stop rehab or if it is determined that the patient no longer needs skilled care, then Medicare coverage will stop, even if the 100 days is not over. When Medicare stops, supplemental insurance will also stop, which means that the patient will owe an average of $10,000 to $13,000 or more each month. Because these rules exist, the family needs to encourage both the facility and the patient to give their full efforts during rehabilitation so that the benefits will not cut off before the100 days are over.
What happens if you are successful at rehab, go home, and end up back at the hospital at a later date? That 100 day clock will start over as long as there has been 60 days between the stays. This is not unlimited, but it is rare that anyone ever reaches the lifetime limit on this benefit.
What advice should be taken away from this article? Make sure to have a supplemental insurance policy, also known as a “Medigap” policy, in place and to encourage any loved one who is in rehab to continue as much as possible. If you don’t have one of these policies, make sure to see an elder law attorney as soon as possible to find out what you can do to sign up for one.
An elder law attorney assists clients in planning for the legal, financial, and healthcare challenges of aging. Our goal is to help seniors take the necessary steps to plan for their future and achieve their financial goals while maintaining their independence and quality of life as long as possible.
A knowledgeable elder law attorney will have gained a unique understanding of the legal issues that affect seniors.
Elder law attorneys devise sound strategies to help families protect themselves against the financial cost of long-term care in the home or in a health care facility. Elder law lawyers want to ensure that a client is using their assets and income in the best way to ensure they maintain financial independence and protect as much of their hard earned wealth as possible.
Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives
Elder law attorneys can make sure that clients can designate trusted family members or friends to make necessary medical or financial decisions on their behalf.
Estate planning for your family’s financial future and security is important. An elder law attorney will work with clients to organize their affairs and finances to make things easier on the family in the event of a death or illness in the family. Elder law attorneys consult with accountants, tax experts and financial managers as needed to create innovative estate plans for clients.
When someone passes away, his or her estate must be legally settled. Assets need to be counted, debts must be paid and property needs to be transferred. An elder law attorney will manage this process to ease the burden on clients’ families and ensure the process is completed properly.
Life Care Planning
Life care planning helps seniors and their families create a comprehensive plan to obtain the best possible care as clients age, while manage the financial, and legal challenges that arise.
Preparing Your Home for Senior Care and home safety is important for everyone, but is especially true for those caring for an aging parent or loved one. There are a variety of products on the market that help seniors stay safe while maintaining some of their independence. There are also a variety of ways to modify your home to help you in preparing your home for senior care and allow your family to be ready for a live-in situation.
How Modular Rooms Can Assist in Preparing Your Home for Senior Care
One aspect that immediately confronts most people is the physical layout and characteristics of their house. When preparing a home for senior care, it may be as simple as putting in a wheelchair ramp. In other cases, a bigger home project may be required. Did you know that there are even companies that sell pre-manufactured module rooms? These modular rooms can be an affordable alternative to a traditional home addition. For one such option, visit www.palsbuilt.com.
To eliminate potential hazards that your loved one may face when living in your home, consider these safety tips in preparing your home for senior care:
• Make sure the house has fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors in working order.
• Remove locks from bedrooms and bathroom doors to prevent your loved one from accidentally becoming locked inside.
• Keep areas where people walk free of furniture to reduce the risk of accidental falls.
• Place night lights near your loved one’s bedroom and the bathroom to prevent tripping or falls during the night.
• Eliminate slippery surfaces in the bathroom by placing nonskid strips or a mat in the tub or shower.
• Lock up potentially dangerous items by installing childproof latches on cabinets and drawers. Limit access to cleaning products, matches, alcohol, scissors, and knives.
Careful planning can make all the difference in helping your aging loved one enjoy living at your home while staying safe. The good news is that with a little bit of planning, you can more easily create a livable situation for everyone involved. If you are looking for advice on how to find your way through the maze of rules and regulations regarding in-home care, speak with an experienced elder law attorney.
Although it’s important to protect your assets, it’s only one aspect of estate planning. Because Medicare will not pay for long term nursing home care, many people feel that they need to deplete their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Learn more about creating a trust, which in some cases can help you protect your assets and qualify for Medicaid benefits.
Revocable Living Trusts and Other Types of Trusts
Trusts can name beneficiaries of your estate and also appoint someone to manage your estate when you pass away. A qualified elder law attorney can help you create one of these types of trusts:
• Living Trusts. With a living trust, your assets are put into a trust while you are alive and transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.
• Irrevocable Trusts. An irrevocable trust is a permanent type of trust that can’t be changed after the agreement has been signed.
• Revocable Trusts. A revocable trust is different than an irrevocable trust because it can be changed or cancelled by the grantor. By design, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable after the grantor dies or after some other specific point in time.
Let’s learn more about “revocable living trusts“, the kind that most people choose. The key word in this case is “revocable”. These trusts can be revoked entirely, or partially, at any point in time. Because of this, revocable living trusts do nothing to protect your assets if you or your spouse needs nursing home care or Veteran’s benefits.
The State of Connecticut, or the VA, figures that if a trust is revocable, the assets that are in it still belong to you. Because of this, these assets will count against you when determining if you are eligible for assistance. If you are weighing the pros and cons of a revocable living trust, remember that it will not protect even one penny of your assets if you get sick.
There are benefits to a revocable living trust. This type of trust allows someone else to handle your affairs for you if you are unable. However, in these types of cases, a power of attorney may be just as effective without the complication or cost of the trust.
Creating a trust can be extremely complicated. Because of this, it’s important to have the knowledge and counsel of an experienced attorney in your corner when creating a trust to manage assets while still qualifying for Medicaid.
What is the Sandwich Generation, you may be wondering? And what help for the Sandwich Generation is available? The Sandwich Generation are caregivers who find themselves squeezed between caring for, their children, while also being responsible for the well being of their elder parents or other aging family members.
If you are a member of the Sandwich Generation, you are not alone. While many people fall into this category, it’s often hard to know which direction you should be headed. You may wonder if your children or your parents need your care the most.
While handling your other responsibilities, it’s important to ensure that your parents are getting adequate care. Then, you have to think about the cost of that care. To get the best information about how to afford care for your parents, you should speak with an elder law attorney in your area.
Cut Through the Confusion with These Resources
There are many ways in which help is available. If you are worried your parents are not taking their medications, there is a special dispensing machine known as a MD2 Personal Medication System that will dispense the pill. This clever device also reminds your parents to take it and if the pill is not taken from the machine, it will call you to let you know, so you can call your parents and give them a reminder. You may also look at hiring someone to come in once a day to help with meals, cleaning the home, or helping with personal needs for your parents.
Is your aging parent a veteran? The VA has a program called Aid and Attendance which your parents may qualify for and this may pay for in-home care. This can also be used to pay you or a sibling to help do these things for your parents.
There is help available for the Sandwich Generation. To learn more, speak with an experienced elder law attorney in your area.