Short of Seal Team 6 and emergency
room docs, most of us don't make our best decisions under extreme
pressure. We're more likely to grab at whatever solution seems handy.
This may explain the unfortunate situation Orlando resident Janet Lentz,
76, found herself in. As reported in the July 30 Orlando Sentinel, Lentz had
to place her husband with Alzheimer's Disease in a nursing facility
when he became increasingly violent. This trauma, plus her fear of
losing all her retirement savings, led Lentz to turn to "Medicaid
Benefits Experts," a company operated by Linda Vasquez and her husband.
That was a disastrous
decision. "Medicaid Benefits Experts" convinced Lentz that Medicaid law
required her to relinquish her credit cards and and place the bulk of
her assets in a pooled trust.. Nor was she the only victim. Linda
Balash, overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for her ill father
and mother, also turned to Vasquez for help. She too was advised to put
her parents' money in a pooled trust. What Vasquez did not tell her
clients that when the Medicaid benefits recipient dies, any funds left
in such a trust must be used to repay Medicaid.
There's more sordid detail to
this story, and many more stories of this nature, but I don't have to
elaborate. You see the point. You don't let just anyone do brain surgery
on you, you don't buy a half-price parachute, and you shouldn't entrust
anyone but an experienced Elder Law Attorney when you want to preserve assets and secure long-term care Medicaid benefits.
Medicaid is considered one of the most complex areas of the law. To
further complicate things, each state has its own requirements. What
works for your aunt in Wisconsin will probably not work in West Palm
So how do you find a qualified
Elder Law Attorney who truly knows his/her stuff when it comes to
Medicaid benefts? Here are several tips, some obvious, some not so much.
Good luck. And caveat emptor.
Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a
Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on
Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning
and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the
founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm
Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida. Mr. Karp was named a
2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011
Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to
practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning
. . . .
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