In short, yes.  Planning to apply for ALTCS, or undertaking the actual application, without the advice or assistance of an elder law attorney with significant experience in handling ALTCS applications may result in missed opportunities to protect the assets of the applicant or their spouse, delays in approval, or even a denial of ALTCS benefits altogether.  While you can apply for ALTCS on your own, you should know that over 70% of ALTCS applications are denied; you do not want to DIY this!

If you or your loved one is currently receiving skilled care, assisted living, adult care home or home health care or may be in the future and you are concerned about affording such care you should seek the legal advice of an attorney with knowledge and experience in Medicaid planning. Despite popular myth, Medicare (health insurance received at age 65) has very limited long term care benefit (100 days maximum in skilled nursing facility) and no benefit paid for memory care, assisted living, or on-going non-medical home health care.

Medicaid (ALTCS) benefits can be vital to affording qualify long term care services whether at home or in a facility setting. Proper legal advice can make the difference between impoverishment and financial stability in the face of long term care expense.

More specifically, you should call Bivens and Associates, PLLC to schedule an appointment in the following circumstances:
1. You need an Income Only Trust (also known as a Miller Trust);
2. You own real property;
3. You have any amount of “excess” countable resources that you wish to preserve;
4. You are considering making any gift/transfer of assets, or the ALTCS applicant has made a gift/transfer in the last 5 years;
5. You have already submitted an ALTCS application, and were denied; or,
6. The ALTCS applicant is married and preservation of assets is desirable to provide for the “well-spouse”;
7. You would like to protect your real property against AHCCCS TEFRA lien and/or estate recovery rights; or
8. You want to ensure your ALTCS application is not denied, as most are.

While some may believe they will save money by not paying a lawyer, the opposite is true; it will cost you more not to obtain advice proper legal advice.  You do not want to see just any lawyer; you need advice from an elder law attorney with significant ALTCS planning experience.  Elder law is more than a single legal practice area; elder law requires an understanding of many legal issues affecting seniors and their families, and special knowledge regarding other vital resources and services- both public and private- than can help meet the needs of seniors, including those with disabilities. Elder law includes, but is not limited to estate planning, probate and trust administration, long term care planning, asset protection planning, guardianship/conservatorship, financial exploitation, public benefits (such as ALTCS, VA Aid & Attendance Pension, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security), and fiduciary representation. Elder law attorneys frequently work with a network of other professionals such as care managers, placement professionals, physicians, relators, CPAs, financial advisors, licensed fiduciaries, banks, and trust companies as the quarterback of the professional team to meet clients’ needs.  The value of comprehensive legal advice resulting in saving time and stress, preservation of assets, consideration of all options available to finance and receive long term care, and achieving best outcome always outweighs the actual legal fees incurred.

The goal of ALTCS planning is to achieve best outcome medically, socially, and financially for the applicant.  While not everyone needs or may want ALTCS benefits, for those who do the return on investment by paying for proper legal advice is invaluable.  Our law firm has helped hundreds of clients qualify for ALTCS while saving millions and advising families on best care options. Whether you want planning in advance of the long term care need or are currently in need, call our office to schedule an appointment to learn all the facts and achieve best outcome for yourself or your loved ones.

–Megan Selvey, Attorney At Law