Are you looking for help with Ohio elder law issues? If so, you should consider seeking assistance from an Ohio elder law attorney. Elder law attorneys can help you with a variety of issues, including estate planning, long-term care planning, and Medicaid eligibility. They can also provide guidance if you need to make decisions about your loved one’s care. A competent, professional, and caring elder law firm can provide peace of mind and protection in the second half of life.
At Jarvis Law Office, we protect seniors and those who love them. Read on to discover more about our services and what an elder law attorney can do for you. Then call us at (740) 653-3450 to schedule your appointment.
1. Wills, Trusts, and Estate Plans
Preparing for the second half of life involves getting your finances and future instructions in order. Unfortunately, you never know when the unexpected will occur. Organizing your finances and providing detailed instructions for the future now can give you peace of mind as you live out your best years.
Because our “golden years” often include more than a few surprises, a truly good estate plan often needs to address more than it did for prior generations. Our elder law team can help you create a carefully crafted and comprehensive plan, using specially selected tools to achieve your goals. Each of the following to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes come to fruition after you pass:
- General Durable Power of Attorney: a legal document that designates who can step into your shoes and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf when needed. This is often one of the most important, powerful and frequently needed documents that a person can put in place. This document, along with a Heath Care Power of Attorney, can help avoid a guardianship.
- Last Will and Testament (Will): a legal document that dictates the distribution of your assets and appoints guardians for minor children after you have passed. This is the instruction book for probating or passing on someone’s assets through the probate court system. Only comes into effect after you have passed away.
- Trusts: a private arrangement that allows an individual or couple to bypass probate, remain in control or designate a separate trustee or manager of their trust, and set specific guidelines for how to handle things throughout the remainder of their lifetime and after they pass:
- Revocable for probate avoidance, blended families and protection for minor children
- Hybrid Irrevocable for asset protection and long term care and/or medicaid planning
- Irrevocable for estate tax planning
- Estate Plans: a plan that includes your Will and any other necessary instructions that spell out your wishes for after your death
- Elder Law Plans: comprehensive plans to address what happens from now throughout your lifetime and after your death, usually with contingency options in the event the unexpected occurs, for you and your beneficiaries.
Wills and trusts are legal documents that must meet strict specifications to be legally binding. For that reason, writing these documents with the assistance of an elder lawyer is essential. Your elder law attorney can also help you understand what to include in your plan to ensure that there isn’t fighting amongst your beneficiaries or a big mess to clean up after your death.
2. Medicaid Planning
Experiencing a long-term health crisis can be stressful for you and your loved ones. However, an elder law attorney can help ensure you receive the best care possible during your health crisis without spending all your money or borrowing from family members. One way to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses is through long term care planning. This type of approach can include planning to access benefits for long term or catastrophic care through the Medicaid program, or planning to self-cover or obtain long term care insurance. In order to fully evaluate your options, an experienced elder care attorney can walk you through your alternatives.
Medicaid planning is often misunderstood. It isn’t about giving away a person’s assets. It is most often about taking steps to maintain a person’s sense of control, choice and dignity. This process may involve setting up a trust or utilizing other specific tools. The most common goal is to gain peace of mind that needing care doesn’t leave you without options or burden your loved ones. Your elder care attorney may employ staff who can also help you identify the best long-term care facilities that meet your needs within your budget.
3. Advance Directives
In Ohio, an advance directive is a collection of documents, each of which serves a specific purpose in determining your course of treatment and your end-of-life goals. Ohio advance directives include:
Health Care Power of Attorney: An Ohio health care power of attorney allows you to choose someone else (“agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make health care decisions on your behalf in case there’s ever a time you are unable to do so yourself. People usually choose a spouse, child, or other relative who understands their health status and their wishes about future health care, and can make potentially difficult decisions on their behalf. Through this health care power of attorney, your agent canmake choices consistent with the wishes you expressed prior to falling ill or becoming incapacitated.
Living Will: An Ohio Living Will is a declaration stating your preference in receiving life-sustaining treatments or dying a natural death. If you are in a coma, are too ill to make decisions, or have become incapacitated, your Living Will dictates your course of treatment for your health care providers.
Do Not Resuscitate: In Ohio, you can express your preference not to have CPR administered in the case of cardiac or respiratory arrest using a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. With a DNR order, you will receive limited comfort care, such as oxygen and painkillers, but no lifesaving or life-prolonging procedures will be carried out. It is helpful to keep a copy with your other advance directives so that your agent under a health care power of attorney and other family members will understand your wishes about CPR and will not attempt to counter them. You should also have a copy in your medical files. A DNR is a Doctor’s Order. If you are considering a DNR or would like more information on DNR choices, you should discuss this with your physician.
Because these documents can be lengthy and confusing, many Ohioans decide to work with an elder law attorney to put these documents in place so they can feel confident in their choices. An elder care lawyer and their team will help you navigate all the required steps for creating an advance health care directive, explaining every individual document and ensuring each is completed correctly.
While no one wants to think about what will happen after their death, having adequate plans is essential. One aspect of preparing for the end of your life is deciding whether you will put your beneficiaries throughthe probate process or take steps to avoid it for your loved ones.
Probate encompasses the lengthy and complex steps your executor must take after your passing to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries and close your estate, which is made up of all the things, accounts, real estate, cars etc. that you own. It is a legal, court-supervised proceeding that often takes 8 months to more than a year in Ohio. However, planning to avoid probate before your death can greatly simplify the process for your family.
For example, you can set things up to avoid probate entirely. Trusts help your beneficiaries avoid probate altogether, as well as specific account designations and property mechanisms here in Ohio. You can also clearly dictate your wishes in your estate plan to avoid any confusion or limit the likelihood of a beneficiary contesting your decisions. Your attorney can help you set up these processes to bypass probate.
Finally, after you pass away, your elder law attorney can assist your trustee or executor with all their responsibilities, including distributing your assets, filing your final tax returns, closing the estate, and more.
Contact Jarvis Law Office: Your Ohio Elder Law Attorneys
If you’re looking for a reliable Ohio elder law firm, you’ve come to the right place. At Jarvis Law Office, elder law is our primary focus. We can help you create a roadmap for the future and provide clear directions to give you peace of mind as you age. Contact our elder law team at Jarvis Law Office today at (740) 653-3450, or fill out our online form, to schedule an appointment.
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The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Jarvis Law Office, P.C.
904 N. Columbus Street
Lancaster, OH 43130