ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

The Future of Elder Law

Andrew H. Hook spoke at this year's 21st Annual Advanced Elder Law Conference in Fairfax, VA. Mr. Hook, a nationally known Elder Law Attorney and pioneer in developing the Elder Law practice in Virginia, spoke on the Future of Elder Law.

Mr. Hook's speech was quite comprehensive with content geared for the practicing elder law attorney. He said that both the economy and technology have greatly altered the practice of elder law. However, he made several points that would be of interest to the public. They are:

1) The Supreme Court, on June 28, 2012, held that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional, but also held that the federal government cannot punish states that elect out of the Medicaid expansion. So if you live in a state that opts out of the Medicaid expansion, the individual will end up paying the difference.

2) Beginning in 2014, unless Virginia elects out of the Medicaid expansion, the ACA will expand coverage to all people whose income is under 133% of the poverty level. Implications of this will be that the elimination of the pre-existing condition rules may reduce the need for the creation of Special Needs Trusts (SNT) for persons with special needs. However, the next congress may repeal or amend the ACA. Therefore, substantive changes are probably on hold for the moment.

3) Congress is considering the enactment of a bill (the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act - HR 3423 and S 1872)) that would allow families of persons with disabilities to establish tax exemption accounts for their future needs without affecting eligibility for Medicaid or other public benefits.

4) Clients of legal services are increasingly shopping for comprehensive services. Therefore, elder law attorneys should consider both in-house staff and subcontracting with related service providers such as certified financial planners and accountants to provide complete estate planning for clients. While the American Bar Association has declined (April 16, 2012) to permit a non-lawyer to own an interest in a US law firm, there are places such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the District of Columbia where non-lawyer ownership of firms providing legal services is permitted. Furthermore, online firms such as LegalZoom and RocketLawyer provide legal services and have non-lawyer owners.

5) Many people are unprepared for retirement. 60% of workers report that they have less than $25, 000 of savings and investments. 54% of retirees have household debt, with 11% having $100,000 or more of debt. Yet, the average out-of-pocket expenses for nursing home stays, insurance co-pays, and home health services for a married couple age 65 or older is about $197, 000 over the course of their retirement. His advice is to begin saving early, and save as much as you possibly can.


If you are interested in having an Elder Law attorney from The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. speak at an event, then please call us at:

Maryland (301) 214-2229
Virginia (703) 243-3200
Washington DC (202) 223-0270

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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