Answers to Questions about Medicare and Medicaid, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

One adult son talks about his mother-in-law’s well-being: She is elderly, lives alone, experiences symptoms of dementia, and doesn’t accept help easily. She refuses to have strangers in the house. She has lost all effort to cook, but she will not have someone come in to help her with cooking. We tried a couple of house cleaners, but they don’t clean the way she does. She refuses to even look at any of these assisted living places. If she knows my wife is taking her there, she refuses to get in the car. She’s stubborn. What do you do, call the cops?


The recent Hometown Life article, titledPlan ahead to assure secure future for aging parents, stressed the importance of planning ahead for elderly parents are or may become physically or mentally unable to care for themselves. This process should include two important documents: a power of attorney—which can give an adult child legal authority to act on behalf of elderly parents with financial matters—and a patient advocate designation—to help them in medical matters. By starting early, children and their parents can work together to create these documents.


The article also answers questions on a few other topics:


What about putting your name on your parents’ bank accounts?

Children should not be joint owners, because you’ll be subjecting your parents’ assets to all of your liabilities, causing issues for future benefits. The government is more likely to scrutinize a joint account if the parent applies for Medicaid when transitioning to a skilled nursing facility. Instead, a signed financial power of attorney allows an adult child to pay bills, sign checks, and help the parent with other financial matters—without the need for joint bank accounts.


Who pays when an elderly parent, on Medicare, needs rehab in a skilled nursing center?

Medicare may pay 100 percent of the first 20 days. After that, Medicare may pay 80 percent, and supplemental insurance may pay the other 20 percent of the bill. There is a 100-day Medicare benefit, but not everyone qualifies. You also need to have a 30-day wellness period outside the hospital or a skilled nursing center for that benefit to reset. For example, if the parent leaves the facility on Day 20—but returns the next week—they start where they left off at Day 21 because they didn’t have a 30-day wellness period.


Should I give any money away if considering entering a skilled nursing home (with Medicaid)?

No, Medicaid will examine the past five years of your finances when you apply for coverage. If you have given money away, you could be severely penalized with long periods of ineligibility and you may not get Medicaid even if you have zero dollars.

Reference: Hometown Life (January 23, 2015) Plan ahead to assure secure future for aging parents

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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

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The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce