In our elder law practice at Grover Loudermilk, PLLC, we assist seniors and their families with a range of concerns and issues that arise in later life. Our services include elder-focused estate planning, as well as Medicaid and long-term care planning and assistance with guardianship proceedings in probate court.
Both founding attorneys of the firm, Mike Grover and Bob Loudermilk, have extensive estate planning experience in private practice. They also worked as staff attorneys at Tarrant County Probate Court No. 2 on matters relating to estates, wills, trusts, probate, and guardianships. That background — together with our extensive courtroom experience and our focus on probate and estates — sets us apart and uniquely positions us to provide assistance to clients for both transactional and probate court matters.
Estate planning for elder law clients involves more than drafting simple wills and trusts. It also requires an understanding of the public benefit programs that are available for long-term and nursing home care. Improper planning can result in ineligibility for important benefits or the loss of benefits for a surviving spouse.
In addition, estate plan documents that protect an individual in the event of incapacity take on greater significance for elders. These documents ensure that an elder designates individuals of their own choosing to provide personal care and manage finances in the event of incapacity, as well as express the senior’s wishes about medical and end-of-life care.
Without the proper estate plan documents in place, a family may need to ask the court to appoint individuals to make financial decisions, provide for care, and make medical decisions. The court could appoint someone that the elder would not choose.
Medicaid regulations and rules are extremely complicated in Texas, as they are in every state. Even if a senior seems to be over Medicaid limits for receiving nursing home benefits, available tools may enable the senior to attain eligibility. For example, even if monthly income exceeds the Medicaid limit, it may still be possible to achieve eligibility using a Qualified Income Trust (QIT), also called a Miller Trust.
Similarly, if assets seem to exceed the limit, there are Medicaid planning tools that may effectively reduce the asset total below the eligibility amount. That is especially true if an elder plans ahead and anticipates long-term care needs.
To determine eligibility for Medicaid benefits, it is essential to talk with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney. At Grover Loudermilk, our attorneys know the regulations and rules and have substantial experience utilizing the available tools to attain eligibility for clients.
Achieving eligibility for nursing home Medicaid is only part of the planning process. A common concern of elders is that accepting Medicaid benefits for nursing home care will result in the State of Texas taking the family home after the recipient’s death.
Without careful planning, this concern can become a reality. After the death of a nursing home Medicaid recipient, the State of Texas may recover the total amount of benefits paid to the decedent from the probate estate. This process is called Medicaid estate recovery.
In situations where an elder already receives Medicaid nursing home benefits, there may be options to protect the family home from estate recovery. Even after a Medicaid recipient dies, it may be possible to protect the assets in the decedent’s estate.
Our elder law services include fighting Medicaid estate recovery claims asserted by the State of Texas. In addition, we assist clients with planning prior to receiving benefits, which can avoid Medicaid estate recovery entirely.
For families with a loved one who is losing the mental capacity to make decisions about personal care, healthcare, and finances, our attorneys at Grover Loudermilk assist with probate court proceedings for guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. We counsel and represent individuals seeking appointment as guardian. In addition, Mike Grover and Bob Loudermilk are certified to serve as Ad Litem attorneys in guardianship proceedings by the State Bar of Texas. Both frequently serve as court-appointed attorneys representing the interests of proposed wards.
Additional information is available on our Guardianships page.
Based in Fort Worth, Grover Loudermilk attorneys assist clients throughout Tarrant County, DFW, and surrounding counties with all aspects of elder law. For additional information or to schedule a consultation, please call us at 817.730.9300 or use our online contact form.