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Wills and estate planning for seniors and families

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Should I sign a nursing home contract?

You should always review a proposed Nursing Home Contract with an Elder Law Lawyer before signing or providing significant financial information to the nursing home.

While most people prefer not to enter or place a loved one in a nursing home, there are times when, despite one’s best intentions, one has no alternative. Because nursing home care is so expensive, typically round $9,000 (in 2016), it is essential to consider the potential impact of nursing home care on one’s finances and to take advantage of whatever planning opportunities may exist. By doing so, you will maximize your options to protect the family assets and ensure that the community spouse is not left destitute.

Nursing homes have tremendous expenses, and their contracts are designed to protect the nursing home as much as possible. Although there are laws that protect nursing home residents and their families from over-bearing contracts and abuse, it is up to you to seek professional guidance and review of the contract before you sign it. You also want to be sure not to assume personal liability for the resident’s nursing home expenses. By obtaining professional legal advice before you sign anything, you will allow your attorney to show you how to avail yourself of income and asset protection planning opportunities that may no longer be available after the contract has been signed.

Some nursing home office managers will tell you they can help you apply for Medicaid and that you don’t need a lawyer.  Beware!  Experience has shown the nursing home assistants who do this often do not understand key aspects of the Medicaid laws and do not tell you what you can keep or advise you how to protect your assets.  And if the Medicaid application is delayed or denied, the nursing home will say they were only helpying you with the application and will hold you responsible. Can you imagine being suued by the nursing home for $18,000, $27,000 or more?  Invest in a professional Elder Law Consultation with an Elder Law Attorney so that you can understand your Rights and Options and make an informed decision.  

The decision over whether to place an elderly parent in a nursing home often leads to family tension among children and siblings.  Our experience includes relationship counseling and pragmatic problem solving.  Having a neutral professional consider the  various points of view and motivations can go a long way to easing family tension and finding a solution all or most can accept.

The quality of care your loved one receives at a nursing home depends a great deal on how much time you spend visiting and talking with the care-givers. The less interest you show, the greater the likelihood of neglect.

Contact us now to inquire about our elder law services.

Contact Baltimore, Maryland Elderly Family Attorney