Does Your Senior Need An Elder Law Attorney Or A Medicaid Specialist?

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Recognizing Needs Early Have you ever stopped to think about what your relatives really need in a nursing home? I didn't use to worry so much about what my family members needed in their later years, but a few months ago it occurred to me that it was time to make some changes. I started realizing that there were some serious issues with the way that my family was living, so I talked with them about the possibility of finding a nursing home. They were a little nervous about the concept at first, but after I found a great facility they really responded well to treatment. Check out this blog for great tips on recognizing nursing care needs early.



If you have a senior who is entering a nursing home or a long-term care facility, you probably expect Medicare to help with the costs. It will -- but only for 100 days of inpatient care. For some seniors, like those recovering from surgery, that's enough to get them back on their feet and home again.

What about those who aren't going to come home in a short time? For those senior, Medicaid steps in -- but only if they qualify. Because of the complex system of rules Medicaid follows, a lot of people are turning to help from either elder law attorneys or Medicaid specialists. Which does your senior need? Here's what you should know:

What's an Elder Law Attorney?

An elder law attorney is a lawyer specializing in a whole variety of legal issues involving seniors. This not only includes things like Medicaid planning and enrollment but also:

  • Wills
  • Guardianships
  • Advance directives
  • Powers of attorney for healthcare and finances
  • Revocable and Irrevocable trusts
  • Elder abuse or exploitation issues

Does Your Senior Need One?

Because elder law attorneys deal with such a wide variety of issues, your senior may need one if he or she has never addressed any of the most important end-of-life issues. In particular, any senior entering long-term care should have -- at a minimum -- a will and powers of attorney for medical and financial decisions.

What's a Medicaid Specialist?

Medicaid specialists, unlike attorneys, are experts in one thing only: helping senior understand the enrollment process for Medicaid and the eligibility requirements and assisting them with the steps necessary to meet those requirements.

The reason they exist is simply that the process of collecting all of the extensive documentation required by the government can be incredibly time-consuming. The application itself is also confusing and difficult. Neither are things that someone needing long-term care is usually prepared to handle on their own -- nor are their relatives. The Medicaid specialist takes that burden off the senior without having to put it on their loved ones.

Does Your Senior Need One?

Medicaid specialists do not handle the important tasks of preparing a senior's will, advance directives, or powers of attorney. However, since their focus is so specific, they can work in conjunction with an elder law attorney while the attorney handles those other issues. On the other hand, if your senior already has those important documents in place, then there's no reason to hire an elder law attorney when the Medicaid specialist can meet your needs.

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