What Should I Bring to My Initial Elder Law Attorney Consultation?
It is important not to delay the appointment; time may be of the essence. As a result, if there are any documents that you cannot immediately locate, that is okay - they can always be provided later. Just come with what you can locate so we can start the Medicaid planning process sooner rather than later.
NOTE: All information below applies to the spouse as well.
1. Financial Information: bank accounts (checking/savings), investment brokerage accounts (e.g. UBS, Morgan Stanley, Meryll Lynch, Ameriprise, Vanguard, etc…), and retirement accounts (e.g. 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, etc..).
- The three most recent statements are needed. This also tells us exactly how these accounts are titled (i.e. in your name alone, jointly with another, in the name of a trust, etc..)
Medicaid considers joint accounts partially in the name of Medicaid applicant to be 100% accessible by, and thus 100% counted against, the Medicaid applicant.
2. Income Sources: It is very important that we know all sources of income (and how much) are coming in for you and your spouse (referred to as the community spouse). We need proof of income from the source (not just from bank statements).
3. Insurance Policies: We need the face page or declarations page on all life insurance (it is very important we know the death benefit and cash value); long-term care insurance; revocable or irrevocable pre-need funeral plans; purchase of cemetery plot; and disability policies).
4. Prior Estate Planning Legal Documents: Trusts (with any amendment); Last Wills and Testaments (with any codicils); Powers of Attorney; Health Care Surrogate Designations; Living Wills.
5. Real Estate + Other Legal Documents: Deeds to real estate, business partnership agreements, marital agreements.
6. List of Immediate Family Members: Names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses.
7. Proof of Citizenship: (Medicare red/white/blue card, copy of passport or copy of birth certificate).
8. Health Insurance Cards: (Private, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, etc...)
9. Shelter Expenses (mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, property tax assessment)
10. Utility Expenses (electric, water, land line, garbage, sewer).
11. VA documents (if applicable).
12. Debts: Planning for Medicaid benefits often involves the re-titling and transferring of assets. It is important to make sure that none of this runs afoul of the Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. As a result, it is important that you disclose all debts and potential creditors.
Again, we need all of these documents for both the Medicaid applicant AND the Medicaid-applicant's spouse.
All of these items and documents can be provided to your Medicaid planning lawyer at a later date if you have basic knowledge of the above items. The most important thing is that you show up to your appointment so we can outline your long-term care issues and begin to craft a solution.
We encourage all family members who are involved in the care of our eventual client to accompany them to the initial Medicaid planner consultation. This is important because we will be discussing subjects that will impact the family. I am a firm believer in making sure that my clients feel educated and a part of this Medicaid planning process. Family members will often ask questions our clients wished they asked in the initial meeting. In addition, oftentimes, the client will not be able to accurately or effectively relay the sheer volume of information discussed at the initial consultation with the Elder law attorney. Why try to obtain second-hand information when you can get it directly from the source!
If the potential client has a trusted friend, financial adviser, attorney or accountant that wants to attend, they are invited as well. We can certainly have trusted parties on speakerphone as well.
I look forward to assisting you with estate planning and/or estate preservation through Medicaid planning.