Legal Services Tailored to Your Needs

Your legal needs are as unique as you, your life and your family. The best life and estate plan is made in advance and considers reasonably expected life circumstances. However, we at the law office of Elaine A. Turley know as well as you do that life sometimes takes us by surprise. Whether you are ready to plan for your medical and estate needs in advance or are faced with an immediate need, our firm can help.

Please click on a link below to learn how our firm can help you with:

elderly couple talking

MEDICAID AND ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING

Health care costs can be devastating to a family’s finances, especially when unexpected. Medicaid planning helps to preserve your property for your own needs and to pass on to your family should you need to apply for government benefits to help pay medical expenses.

While the best asset protection plan is one made in advance for reasonably foreseeable future need, our experienced team can help you to preserve assets even if you are faced with an immediate need to apply for government benefits.

PRESERVING GOVERNMENT BENEFITS – SPECIAL/SUPPLEMENTAL NEEDS TRUSTS

Government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are provided to people with disabilities who have financial need as determined by the government agencies that provide benefits. Benefits for which eligibility is determined by financial need are referred to as “means tested” programs and Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are such means tested programs.

A person with a disability who is receiving means tested government benefits may be able to preserve benefits even if he or she receives money from an unexpected source such as an inheritance or personal injury settlement by placing the money into an properly drafted Special/Supplemental Needs Trust or a pooled supplemental needs trust.

Often families wish to provide for the future needs of their loved one who is disabled and receiving means tested government benefits but cannot do so without disrupting eligibility for benefits. Special needs planning allows family members to contribute funds or other property to provide for the needs of loved ones without affecting government benefits.

MEDICAID APPLICATIONS

Various levels of Medicaid benefits are available to those in medical and financial need. The Medicaid programs and benefits available and the eligibility and recovery rules are very complicated and can be overwhelming to navigate. Our office has the skill and experience to assist your family in an application for Medicaid benefits whether you have engaged in asset protection planning in advance or must work to achieve the maximum in asset protection (preserving your property for your family’s needs) when faced with immediate need.

GUARDIANSHIP

Our office can help you to determine whether a guardianship proceeding is appropriate and, if so, the type of guardianship proceeding appropriate for you or your family. We also provide services to guardians and/or trustees, such as assistance with accountings and petitions for withdrawal.

SCPA ARTICLE 17 GUARDIANSHIP OF AN INFANT (SURROGATE COURT PROCEDURE ACT)

An Article 17 proceeding for the appointment of a guardian of an infant, or person under 18 years of age, may become necessary where an infant is the beneficiary of a property disposition. Infants may not make certain property decisions or enter into certain legal agreements and their parents are generally not legally authorized to act for them.

SCPA ARTICLE 17-A GUARDIANSHIP OF DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED OR MENTALLY RETARDED INDIVIDUAL (SURROGATE COURT PROCEDURE ACT)

An Article 17-A guardianship proceeding may be appropriate where an individual is permanently unable to make personal care decisions and/or property decisions for himself or herself. The condition that prevents the person from managing his or her own personal and property affairs must have originated prior to age 22 years, except in the case of a traumatic brain injury.

MENTAL HYGIENE LAW ARTICLE 81 GUARDIANSHIP (SUPREME COURT)

Where a guardian is sought for a person who is an adult and whose incapacity did not originate prior to the age of 22 years, a proceeding must be brought in the Supreme Court in the appropriate county. The MHL Article 81 guardianship is more tailored to the individual needs of the incapacitated person or person in need of a guardian and may be appropriate for a person whose developmental disability originated prior to age 22.

ESTATE PLANNING (AND LIFE PLANNING)

Estate and life planning is more than just having a Last Will and Testament and must be individually tailored to the individual’s family and property interests, goals, and wishes. A good estate and life plan will: Ensure that property will be preserved during the individual’s lifetime (asset protection or Medicaid planning); Ensure that property will pass as the owner wishes during his or lifetime and/or after death; Minimizes potential estate tax liability or provides for a means of payment of estate taxes; and Minimizes potential costs of administration of the estate after death.

A critical part of the estate and life plan often overlooked is the need to have Advance Directives in place to appoint trusted individuals to manage property and help with personal care decisions in the case of incapacity. Not appointing surrogates to manage property or personal affairs often leads to a costly and stressful guardianship proceeding in Supreme Court. In many cases guardianship would have been unnecessary if only the individual had planned for the possibility of incapacity.

ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Estate Administration includes probate, administration and small estate proceedings brought in the Surrogate’s Court. It may also include trust administration of an irrevocable or a revocable trust (revocable trusts become irrevocable upon the death of the trustor).

While proper Estate and Life Planning should make Estate Administration less costly, and less burdensome, difficulties sometimes arise and “planning” may continue post-death.

Our firm is ready, willing and able to assist your family in making the administration of your loved one’s estate as efficient and cost effective as possible and to leave you more time to grieve our loss.

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

Buying or selling your home is a time of change, excitement and joy, and usually involves the greatest financial transaction of your life. Let us help take the stress and worry out of your residential real estate transactions.