Hi, I'm Kellen Bryant and I am an elder law attorney here in Jacksonville, Florida and
I am going to answer the question, when is the appropriate time to seek legal advice
for your parent if he/she is going to assisted living in Florida. Now, that's a mouthful
that I want to explain when's the best time to go to get legal advice and the answer,
without hopefully sounding self-interested, is as soon as possible because there's three
key points of legal issues that an attorney can help you cover and address before you
move into assisted living.
The first point is to make sure that the caregiver, family member, son, or whomever, has power
of attorney in case the parent needs somebody acting on their behalf for financial and medical
decisions. So usually, the need arises for assisted living if you have a parent that
is slowing down or might need care and assistance from others and associated with that is maybe
their mental faculties have declined. If you don't have a power of attorney and healthcare
surrogate and your parent cannot sign it or have legal capacity to sign it, you could
be in a very, very expensive guardianship mess if those documents are not correctly
done by an elder law attorney. So, it's very important to make sure, at a baseline, those
are done. And you should know that it's not a horrible, big production to get those done.
Those should always be looked at before moving into assisted living.
Point number to that you need to address with an attorney is what to do with the house,
the home, if your parent owns their home. Now, we have a couple options that you may
be thinking about what to do with the home. You can either sell it, you can rent it out,
or you can do neither, let it sit empty. So, depending on what you want to do or, you know,
how things work out with assisted living and your level of care, that could guide the discussion.
Also going to guide discussion about how long your parents are in the house. There could
be tax issues. And if we're selling the house, there could be Medicaid issues where the cash
proceeds could affect Medicaid eligibility. So, these are the discussions that you should
be having with an elder law attorney before you do anything with the house when you're
moving into assisted living.
Number three and the last main point I want to make, the reason why to work with an elder
law attorney before moving to assisted living, is, in some cases where there is a larger
sum of assets. I define a larger sum of assets for somebody looking into assisted care as
over a hundred thousand dollars in invest able assets, not including the house. In that
case, there could be some instances, if it's even higher than a hundred thousand, that
if your parent needs nursing care, that you're going to have to spend a lot of that money
on nursing care before you can stop the outflow of money on nursing care, which can go up
to nine, ten thousand dollars a month, depending on where you live in Florida. So, it's very
important to talk about asset protection trust early on because of the Medicaid look-back
period of five years. The asset protection trusts are there to protect important tax
benefits and protect the money from the nursing home and Medicaid. So, if you have any more
questions, feel free to continue watching my videos or go onto my website or blog and
thank you very much for watching.