Elder Law

Seniors must often overcome challenges far different from those faced by their children and grandchildren.

The challenges come with the territory from being older: living on a fixed income; increasing medical bills; assisted living or nursing home care; and loss of capacity.  All wrapped up in a bundle of extreme uncertainty.

It serves to make planning for seniors very different from traditional estate planning.

Who Needs an Elder Law Estate Plan?

Hardly anyone wakes up in the morning and decides “I became a senior citizen today, so it’s time to make some changes.”  But the reality is that by the time someone realizes they need help (or, usually, their family realizes), it’s often too late to fix any problems easily.

That’s why we recommend that…

If you’re over the age of 55, you don’t just need a regular estate plan, you need an elder law and long-term care plan.

Yes, you read that correctly!

The time to start thinking about your elder law plan is when you are in your 50s.  An estate plan for those who are retired, or approaching retirement, needs to account for the additional challenges faced by seniors.

Not a “Traditional” Estate Plan

A traditional estate plan answers the question: what happens when I die?  Who gets my stuff?  Am I exposed to probate or taxes?  How will my family be taken care of?

Those are all good questions, and are important for everyone to plan an answer for.

But an elder law estate plan answers a different question:

What happens if I don’t die?

Where will I live?  Who will take care of me?  How will I pay for it?  How do I make sure my spouse has enough to live on?

These questions are usually not addressed in a traditional estate plan.  But they are extremely important to think about and plan for.

Planning for Disability

Disability is a storm that many people will encounter on their life journey.  Today’s seniors have a 2 in 3 chance of becoming physically or cognitively impaired during their lifetime and a 1 in 3 chance of staying in a nursing home.

So whether we like it or not, we need to be prepared for the possibility that someone will have to step in and help us out.

Core estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney and health care documents, are important for everyone to have.  But they’re especially important for seniors.  If a senior needs help and doesn’t have the right documents in place, guardianship is often the only recourse.

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Paying for Long Term Care

The costs of long term care for seniors can be debilitating.  In-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes can easily cost $100-300 per day (or more, in some cases).

Thankfully, there are a number of programs to help seniors.  The two big ones are Medicaid and Veterans Benefits.

Medicaid Benefits

In 2010, over 75,000 Illinois seniors lived in nursing homes.  That’s like a good-sized city!  In fact, it’s about the same number of people as live in Schaumburg or Arlington Heights.

And out of all those seniors in nursing homes, more than 47,500 (almost two-thirds) were paying for it with Medicaid.

It’s absolutely clear that…

Medicaid isn’t something for just a handful of poor seniors.

No matter where you are along your journey—from retiring soon, or just diagnosed, to running-on-fumes crisis mode—you need to know about Medicaid.

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Veterans Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a number of benefits to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who served our country.

Here is a list of some of the benefits available to senior veterans or their surviving spouses:

  • Veterans Pension (the aid and attendance benefit)
  • Veterans Death Pension (the aid and attendance benefit for surviving spouses)
  • Veterans Health Care (care at VA hospitals and clinics)
  • Veterans Long Term Care

Life Care Planning

Life care planning goes beyond traditional elder law.  It’s a new approach that focuses on maximizing a senior’s total well-being.

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Helping Seniors Get the Care they Need

Our law firm can help with a wide range of elder law matters.  Attorneys Natalia Kabbe and Jeffrey Kabbe can help you and your loved ones protect assets, qualify for VA or Medicaid benefits (to pay for home care, assisted living or nursing home care), or get a guardian or conservator to manage their care or finances.

If you, a parent, or other loved-one need some guidance, call Kabbe Law Group at (630) 219-4200 to schedule your consultation.  We’re located in Naperville, but we help families throughout the Chicago area, including DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall Counties.