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Guardianships – Conservatorships

As we or our loved ones grow older, mental capacity sometimes diminishes.  If we have in place a solid estate plan including a durable power of attorney, we can usually deal with these issues without involving a court.  But if we don’t have such a plan in place, it may be necessary to ask a court to step in and appoint a person to assist the incapacitated person in handling their affairs.  

We call the person who is appointed to assist the incapacitated person a “guardian” or a “conservator.”  A guardian is appointed to assist with the incapacitated person’s personal matters, like where is she going to live.  A conservator is appointed to help manage the incapacitated person’s financial affairs.

Unfortunately, family members sometimes disagree over who should be appointed the guardian or conservator.   These situations then become contested guardianship or conservatorship matters. In this instance you definitely want someone like Mr. Warner who has substantial experience handling these matters.  If you have questions concerning these matters, give us a call today.

Medicaid Asset Protection Planning

Most of us hope to spend our later years in our own homes.  Others prefer the comfort and care provided by assisted living.  Sometimes, due to severe illness or other causes, we may require more assistance than our families can provide.  Whatever the circumstances, 7 out of 10 persons over age of 65, will require long term care in their lifetime.

The average cost of staying in a nursing home facility in Utah is $6,403 for a semi-private room and $7,604 for a private room.  Medicare does not provide for nursing home care for more than 100 days at the maximum. The only public program available to assist with the cost of nursing home care is Medicaid.  But Medicaid only provides aid if you are “sick and broke.” To be “broke” enough for Medicaid, you cannot have more than $2,000.00 and certain other exempt assets. And if you try to qualify by giving away your property within five years before needing assistance, you are penalized by delaying qualifying for a substantial period of time.  During this time, you find yourself in a catch two situation where you have given away all of your assets, and have no way now to pay for the care you need during a prolonged penalty period that may last for several years.

It turns out that there are ways around this dilemma, but the rules are extremely complex and the path is strewn with pitfalls. We have spent the last several years learning the rules and learning various pathways through the minefields.  We can assist you through this maze. We call this Medicaid Asset Protection.