Elder Law in Fort Wayne IN

Finding a qualified elder law attorney in Fort Wayne that puts you at ease can be difficult. At Boeglin, Gerardot and Grubbs, we know that caring for your aged loved ones can entail more of a challenge than you can take on alone. With all of the professional choices for elderly care in Fort Wayne, having a good handle on your rights and legal options may help give you a little more peace of mind. Elder law is one term used to designate an area of legal practice focusing on matters affecting the elderly. The usual specialties that pertain to elder law include Medicaid, guardianship, living wills, and medical power of attorney.

Medicaid
 
Medicare offers only limited coverage for nursing home facilities. Such coverage applies when the patient requires skilled nursing home services immediately after hospital care. If the purpose of a nursing home stay is custodial care and not skilled nursing services, Medicare will not pay for the stay. Custodial care assists with daily living. Daily living activities consist of walking, dressing, and eating. A doctor may recommend these services, but a doctor’s order is not required for nursing home admission to receive custodial care.

Medicaid may pay for a stay at a nursing home not covered by Medicare. To qualify for Medicaid paying nursing home expenses, an individual must fill out an application. Medicaid will pay nursing home expenses for low-income individuals, but eligibility guidelines are complex and vary widely depending on the state in which the applicant files for coverage. Regardless of which state, qualification usually reflects the applicant’s income, assets, and marital status. Planning years prior to the actual need for custodial nursing care almost certainly assures a wider range of options and more accommodating benefits. Creating trusts and funding a retirement savings account are some of the options you have.

Guardianship

Guardianship, also known as conservatorship, is a judicial process that appoints a guardian for an adult, often elderly, that has become incapacitated. Courts typically appoint a guardian when a physical or mental condition prevents an adult from making his or her own decisions. Guardianships are only required when an individual is incapacitated and are concluded when the adult no longer needs the guardian to help him or her make decisions. For example, a medical condition may render an adult temporarily unable to make medical decisions or manage their financial affairs. In such circumstances, the guardian’s court-ordered authority ends when the court orders it to when the individual recovers enough to make medical decisions and manage their affairs again. Often unplanned, guardianships usually arise when an elderly person suffers an injury or becomes mentally unable to make decisions. To avoid unplanned court-ordered guardianships, careful planning is advised. Individuals who sign medical powers of attorney (or healthcare directives), durable powers of attorney and living wills can choose who will act for them and remove the fees of a judicially appointed guardian.

Living Wills

Living wills specify an individual’s wishes pertaining to medical treatment should they become unable to state these wishes with healthcare providers and family members. Sometimes living wills are called advance directives. They have validity in all 50 states, allowing a person to declare that they want a natural death without the use of artificial means to prolong life. Living wills also cover a patient’s desire for or disallowance of artificial feeding and hydration. By law, physicians and healthcare providers have no choice but to comply with an individual’s living will.

Medical Power of Attorney (Healthcare Directive)

A living will is a declaration about an individual’s desire to allow or not to allow extraordinary medical treatment or artificial feedings should that person find himself or herself in a terminal situation. Another resource that can assist a patient when they’re not able to communicate with their healthcare providers is a medical power of attorney, also referred to as a healthcare directive, a healthcare proxy, a healthcare surrogate, or a healthcare representative. Medical powers of attorney are valid everywhere in the United States. They allow someone to appoint someone else to make medical decisions for them when they’re unable to act for themselves. Individuals may appoint a single decision maker, an alternate, in case an appointee becomes unavailable, or multiple decision makers, requiring them to act together. Advance planning and healthcare directives are quite helpful and often eliminate the need for guardianship proceedings.