News & Resources: Blog: Elder Law

Category Archives: Elder Law

How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You

According to a recent study by Caring.com, the number of adults 55 and older with a will has fallen from 60% to 44% since 2019. This is a decrease of 27%, even with the Covid-19 pandemic as a potentially motivating factor. At Scott Bloom Law, we constantly stress the importance of having a plan in place for all potential elder law issues, but this is probably most true for estate planning. One troubling statistic from the Caring.com study is the number of older adults that replied that they do not know how to get a living trust or will or that it is too expensive to set up. Working with an experienced, knowledgable estate planning attorney, with an overarching understanding of elder law, is one easy path to establishing a plan that benefits the elderly and their loved ones. Below we discuss what estate planning is and how an elder law attorney can help.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process by which your estate is preserved during your lifetime and distributed to your loved ones, also known as beneficiaries, upon your passing. An estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for your beneficiaries while allowing you the most flexibility of using those assets while you’re alive. In layman’s terms, an estate is somebody’s net worth in the eyes of the law and estate planning is a way to preserve your assets, such as your bank accounts, home, car, and any other smaller assets that you may have in your name.

The Benefits of Talking to an Elder Law Attorney About Your Estate Planning

Because an elder law attorney is familiar with all aspects of elder law, they provide a holistic approach to planning that guarantees all aspects of elder care and end-of-life situations are considered. While dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on all of the various documents is extremely important, it is also a good idea to consult with an elder law attorney to develop a strategy that guarantees that families cover all the bases.

Speaking of documents….there will be a lot of them and it is highly recommended that you utilize an elder law attorney to help guide you through all the paperwork. Here are some of the most common documents that at Scott Bloom Law we would include in most of our estate plans:

  • Wills & Trusts
  • A durable power of attorney
  • Letter of intent
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Beneficiary & Guardianship designations

With so much to account for when planning your estate, having an experienced, knowledgable, and compassionate attorney to advocate for you and your loved ones allows for peace of mind. A thorough elder law attorney is able to set a plan that, among other things, lessens the possibility of inter-family conflicts, establishes who will be managing your financial and/or legal affairs in the event of a diminished capacity, unexpected accident, or death, and so much more.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

Crisis Management: It’s Not Too Late

At Scott Bloom Law, we are always encouraging families to plan ahead when it comes to the eldercare needs for their loved ones and themselves. However, we understand that when an unexpected crisis arises, immediate action is required. During these highly stressful times, the decisions made carry immense consequences for the elderly and their families. Recognizing the signs of an imminent crisis and understanding the options available once time becomes of the essence, allows families to find the best possible solutions. Utilizing the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorney allows families, confronted with so much at once, to make rational decisions with short-term and long-term considerations accounted for. In this blog, we look at signs that your elderly loved one may be on the brink of a crisis and how an elder law attorney can help with crisis management.

Signs of Trouble

The unfortunate truth for us all is that at some point we will be unable to help ourselves with life’s daily functions. The ability to complete the mundane, everyday tasks, that in our younger days we may have taken for granted, at some point becomes too difficult and, all too often, requires immediate action. Here are some of the most common signs that your elderly loved one may be on the brink of a crisis:

  • They are struggling to maintain their physical health– Are your parents or elderly loved ones forgetting to regularly bathe? Do they pay little to no attention to their hair, nails, skin? These physical signs may be a sign of a deeper issue.
  • They are no longer able to handle their finances- Are overdue bills or the lack of a balanced checkbook putting your loved one in financial trouble? These issues need to be addressed immediately to prevent further financial penalties.
  • They begin forgetting names, dates, even what year it is- Have they forgotten the names of people they have known for years? Are they no longer able to recall momentous life events? These signs of memory slippage could portend to larger neurological issues that need the proper care.
  • They no longer take care of their living space- Are dust and cobwebs prominent in their home? Are dishes piled up often and dirty clothes unattended to? These are definite red flags that steps are needed to be taken.

How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help with Crisis Management

At Scott Bloom Law, our team treats every crisis situation with a customized plan that ensures that all issues are being properly addressed. All of our clients come to us with a unique set of problems and at different points in the timeline of their crisis. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Careful consideration must take place to find the appropriate next steps that enable families and their elderly loved ones to be in as comfortable a position as possible. After listening to your concerns and learning about your particular issues, we develop a crisis plan specifically tailored to your current needs, with an eye towards what other issues may arise in the future. When it comes to crisis management, you and your loved ones deserve to be advocated for by a compassionate and knowledgeable legal team.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Serving Pennsylvania and South Jersey, visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to schedule a free consultation.

Case Study: Life Care Planning

Joseph and Marie had been happily married for 52 years, raised a family, and were enjoying their retirement years when health issues began to surface. Marie was the first to exhibit health concerns and was diagnosed with dementia, leaving her unable to effectively communicate with Joseph and her three children. Shortly thereafter, Joseph began showing signs of mild cognitive impairment along with age-related physical limitations that made taking care of Marie and himself difficult.

Fortunately, Joseph and Marie had met with Scott Bloom Law a few years prior to experiencing these health issues and had a plan in place for when their decision-making capabilities had waned. While this didn’t make any of these end-of-life realities easier to confront, they were comforted by the fact that their children would be taken care of and that they were not adding to the stress the family was dealing with. With the help of Scott Bloom Law, the family was able to take the necessary steps to ensure that their parents’ best interests were always the most important consideration. With Scott Bloom’s legal counsel:

  • They had given their oldest child power of attorney a few years prior, ensuring that when needed their family would be prepared and that their wishes for end-of-life care would be met.
  • While it was challenging, the children were able to convince their father that the best next step was to find a long-term care facility where they could receive round-the-clock care. As with most families, convincing their elder loved ones to leave their home was a difficult and heart-wrenching process. When their funds for paying for long-term care were exhausted, they were able to utilize Medicaid.
  • In addition, a trust was created for the benefit of their children, mimicking their testamentary intent as shown in their Last Will and Testament. Often with multiple children involved, it can, unfortunately, become a contentious process with differing ideas and motivations in play. At Scott Bloom Law, we work with families to help mediate disputes and keep the focus on the well-being of everyone involved.

Too often, families look to a ‘specialist’ who does not have the all-encompassing understanding of the myriad of issues that are faced by the elderly and their loved ones.  This case demonstrates the importance of utilizing an elder law attorney. At Scott Bloom Law, we have the experience and breadth of knowledge necessary to understand and advise on all aspects of eldercare issues. With compassion, honesty, and attention to detail, the team at Scott Bloom Law will be there every step of the way for you and your family, providing a plan and offering guidance through the elder law legal process. Schedule a call with us today to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Protecting Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

The process of choosing a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in-home medical care is complicated, difficult, and often emotional. The last thing on your mind is the possibility that those responsible for the care of some of our most vulnerable loved ones would abuse or neglect their patients. Unfortunately, it does occur way too often and leaves the victims and their families struggling with the ramifications. The abuse can come in many forms and being able to prevent and detect it allows families to ensure the health and safety of their loved ones. In this blog, we discuss the different types of abuse, how to spot them, and how, if needed, an elder law attorney can help protect your loved ones.

Types of Elder Abuse

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” According to the US Department of Justice, at least 10% of adults age 65 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year,
with some older adults simultaneously experiencing more than one type of abuse. Below are some of the types of elder abuse according to elderabuse.org that you should be aware of to prevent and detect:

  • Elder Neglect– When a responsible caregiver fails to meet the medical, social, or psychological needs of an older adult.
  • Physical Abuse- When violence, force, or the threat of force is used to harm an older person.
  • Financial Abuse/ Exploitation- When someone takes money or property from an older person without their knowledge, understanding, or consent.
  • Psychological Abuse- When someone attempts to intimidate, demean, or belittle an older person with words or actions.
  • Sexual Abuse- When someone forces unwanted sexual contact on an older adult.
  • Nursing Home Abuse- When any form of abuse occurs in an institutional setting such as a nursing home.

Signs of Elder Abuse

While the prevention of any abuse is the ultimate goal, being able to identify the signs of elder abuse allows us to put a stop to it and hold the abusers responsible. Below are some of the signs your loved one is being mistreated or abused:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruising, cuts or welts
  • Bed sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts or unusual depression
  • Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
  • Caregivers that do not want the patient to be left alone with others
  • Sudden changes in financial situation or missing personal items

How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, it is imperative to report it as soon as possible to the nursing home or caretaking facility involved.  You will also want to document any discussions or interactions that you may have with that facility or agency. An attorney with experience and knowledge in all facets of elder law can help advocate for you and your loved ones when abuse takes place.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

How Elder Legal Services Can Help You

As we and our loved one’s age, many decisions confront us that are stress-inducing, life-altering, and often, confusing. From Medicaid and estate planning to issues involving guardianship, crisis management, and power of attorney, it can be overwhelming to deal with the many legal aspects of eldercare. Utilizing a knowledgable, experienced elder law attorney to address legal planning for a person’s changing financial, residential, and personal care needs that result from aging, illness, or physical or mental disability, is highly recommended. At Scott Bloom Law, we offer elder legal services that allow you and your family the peace of mind in knowing that your futures have been mapped out with your best interests at heart. Below are a few of the services offered by Scott Bloom Law, with a brief overview. 

Types of Elder Legal Services

  • Estate Planning- Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities after your death or incapacitation. One goal is to ensure beneficiaries receive assets in a way that minimizes estate tax, gift tax, income tax, and other taxes. Estate planning can help establish a platform you can fine-tune as your personal and financial situations change. 
  • Asset Preservation- The concept of asset preservation is fairly simple, in theory. It is using legal strategies to help an individual get below the Medicaid asset limit while trying to hold on to as many assets as possible. For example, many people worry about losing their homes. Using effective asset preservation strategies, some people are able to keep their house and continue living there. One common strategy often utilized is to use a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. You may be able to put certain assets in this trust, allowing yourself and others access however, legally, you are no longer considered the owner of these assets. Some other potential strategies include gift-giving, alternate irrevocable trusts, and annuities.
  • Life Care Planning- Life care planning is an elder-centered approach to the practice of law that helps families respond to every challenge caused by chronic illness or disability of an elderly loved one. The goal of life care planning is to promote and maintain the good health, safety, well-being, and quality of life of elders and their families. 
  • Medicaid Planning- Medicaid planning is a way to understand and utilize the existing Medicaid rules of your state to create a future plan for your loved one. Getting accepted into the Medicaid program requires the guidance of a well-informed elder law attorney to guarantee all aspects of the process have been properly addressed. Like all of our services, it is always recommended to speak to an elder law attorney before you think you may actually need them. 
  • Crisis Management- Careful and thoughtful estate planning can prepare us for many of the financial, emotional, and legal challenges that come with growing older. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and sometimes as we grow older we are confronted with a crisis. Similarly, some people fail to plan properly and are faced with a crisis that could have been avoided. Some examples of the types of crises we help with at Scott Bloom Law include contested powers of attorney, incapacity management, elderly financial and personal abuse, health care management, and family disputes.
  • Estate Administration & Probate Planning- The administration of a probate estate, or estate administration, generally involves four main steps: identifying property of the deceased, getting control of the property, paying bills and necessary expenses, and. distributing the property to the beneficiaries. An elder law attorney can help with the planning process so that the deceased’s family has a clear understanding of all of these issues that arise after death.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

Benefits of Hiring an Elder Law Attorney for Medicaid Planning

When an elderly loved one experiences a life-changing health episode, options for long-term care will be undoubtedly pricey. Applying for Medicaid benefits is most families’ first move when told by a doctor that their loved one will require long-term, full-time care. Unfortunately, too many people have not adequately prepared for these decisions and the experience can be overwhelming and stressful for all involved. Seeking counsel from an experienced, knowledgeable elder law attorney can save families money and provide peace of mind that their loved ones’ needs and wishes are being met. Below, after a brief summary of what Medicaid entails, are some of the benefits of hiring an elder law attorney for Medicaid planning. 

What is Medicaid

Medicaid is a federal assistance program that is administered by the states. It is designed to help those who are financially eligible pay for the cost of long-term care and allows access to other medical and healthcare benefits. Because Medicaid is a needs-based program, there are strict financial requirements in order for someone to be eligible for Medicaid assistance.

Benefits of Retaining an Elder Law Attorney

  • Avoidance of conflicts of interest – Conflicts of interest can arise when a nursing home refers the family of a resident to a Medicaid specialist for assistance with the preparation of Medicaid documentation. Often this Medicaid specilaist has loyalties to both the facility that provided the referral and the client applying for benefits. When the facility and person preparing the documentation both want the Medicaid application to be successful, there is no conflict. However, it often benefits nursing homes when residents pay privately for as long as possible before going on Medicaid, and this can provide an incentive on the part of Medicaid specialists to ensure that Medicaid applications are delayed or denied. An elder law attorney hired to assist with Medicaid planning, however, only has a duty to his or her client, thereby eliminating conflict of interest concerns. 
  • Experience and knowledge – Elder law attorneys, with their years of experience, have the knowledge necessary to successfully and compassionately advise their clients on how to achieve their legal goals, regardless of what they may be. And in the elder law arena, these goals are often related to Medicaid. 
  • The availability of malpractice insurance – When an attorney or other professional makes an inadvertent error, malpractice insurance typically covers the loss. However, other advisers in the Medicaid arena often lack such coverage. Therefore, while mistakes by experienced elder law attorneys are rare, clients can rest easy with the assurance that unlikely errors will be covered. 
  • Peace of mind – Finally, consultation with an experienced elder law attorney will provide you with the peace of mind that you have all your bases covered in regards to Medicaid planning. An experienced attorney will take legal issues into consideration during the process that other Medicaid advisers may miss, ensuring that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled to. 

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

Most Common Questions for an Elder Law Attorney

 Utilizing an experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorney can go a long way towards allowing you and your loved ones to have a stress-free aging process. Having a plan in place for the inevitable issues that will arise as we and our loved ones age allows everyone to feel confident that major life decisions have been made with all of the proper considerations. You will have questions that require the guidance and care that a good elder law attorney can provide answers to. Below are some of the most common questions for an elder law attorney.   

How does elder law differ from general law practice?

Elder law attorneys help individuals and their families plan for retiree benefits, healthcare and long-term care, Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and home care and nursing home care. They also help with decision-making documents and provide guidance on other legal issues for seniors and people with disabilities. They provide clients and their families with a more holistic approach because we spend a lot of time learning about their needs and wants. 

At what age should a person contact an elder law attorney?

While there really is no right or wrong age, by the age of 60 you should have begun the planning process. The longer you put it off, the more you run the risk of your money not being protected, or your capacities being compromised due to health issues. We always recommend that our clients do multigenerational planning by helping their children start estate plans, even when they are as young as in their 30s and just starting families. 

How do I protect my assets?

With the help of an elder law attorney, there are options available to protect your assets. From trusts to long-term care insurance, there are avenues to consider when making these big decisions. While the laws of each state are different, an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you decide what will work best to protect your assets for you and your family. 

What about end-of-life care?

An elder law attorney guides clients through the process including setting up advance directives and medical power of attorney. We ask a lot of questions, from decisions about life support and whether you want to be an organ donor. An experienced attorney has the knowledge of issues such as capacity, undue influence, and competency when it comes to the signing of medical nd legal documents. 

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

Why do I need an Elder Law Attorney?

WHY DO I NEED AN ELDER LAW ATTORNEY?

Attorneys who concentrate their practices in Elder Law, focus on providing legal services–primarily to senior citizens and others who are looking to plan for their lives as they age.

  • Elder Law attorneys work closely with families dealing with the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Elder law attorneys also work with families with disabled children and family members with illnesses and legal issues.
  • As our average life spans have increased, elder law attorneys have stepped in to ensure needs for an aging population are effectively anticipated and legally supported.

ELDER LAW ATTORNEYS:

  • Focus on helping you to understand your legal options and rights as you age.
  • Understand that there are often emotional and legal details that need to be addressed when dealing with chronic illnesses, medical emergencies, and end-of-life planning.
  • Will help you to anticipate and prepare for the legal aspects of illness, aging, and death, such as:
    •  The importance of wills and trusts.
    • Probate proceedings and the disposition of your assets.
    • Planning for a minor or adult with special needs.
    • The importance of a living will and a durable power of attorney.
    • The importance of creating a plan for your long-term care and understanding your eligibility for financial assistance through Medicaid Planning.
    • The importance of finding a trusted individual to be your executor or trustee.
    •  The importance of understanding ways to preserve your assets to minimize tax liability and long-term care costs.

Elder Care attorneys are prepared to ask you about your wishes and to create a plan for your life–and your death–that is customized to your needs and circumstances.

If you are ready to meet with an Elder Law attorney or have additional questions, please feel free to contact us today.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

Annette B., Allentown, New Jersey

Scott Bloom is one of the most caring, responsive, elder law attorney you can find in central New Jersey. He has been a great support not only for my parents but also for me and my siblings. We are deeply grateful for everything he has done over the past 3 years. I am thankful ever day that he came into our lives. In the past year, we lost our father to the terrible disease of dementia, but we are relieved to know that our mother is still in good hands with Scott by her side. Our entire family highly recommends Scott Bloom and his team!

Elder Law – The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom Always Puts the Client First

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom prides itself in creating a family relationship with it’s clients. Elder Law is important and home visits are also very important. We meet with families in Assisted Living Communities, Skilled Nursing Facilities or anywhere they feel comfortable. We want to meet with all parties involved with the senior(s) in question so as to get a thorough understanding of all issues involved. While the senior is our client, we recognize the needs of other family members to be involved, to the fullest extent possible in the decisions and choices being presented. Initial consultations are always free, we charge nothing to discuss a potential client’s situation . We feel this is very important and our way of showing that we truly care and take a stake in the client’s situation.

The Firm covers both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and since we go to the client – distance is not an issue. The firm specializes in all aspects of Elder Law, including but not limited to, Medicaid Planning, Wills & Trusts, Estate Administration and Probate, Estate Planning. Scott Bloom is credentialed with the Veterans Administration to help with VA Pension Applications. The firm also prides itself in helping with transitioning services, including downsizing and moving services.

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom also handles other types of law cases – Real Estate, Divorce and Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Traffic and Drivers License Issues.

We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss how our Firm can possibly help your clients and their families. Many issues-one firm. We strive to provide the best service. Our clients are our top priority. Allow us to show you what “putting the client first” truly means.

CLIENT Testimonial

Scott Bloom is one of the most caring, responsive, elder law attorney you can find in central New Jersey. He has been a great support not only for my parents but also for me and my siblings. We are deeply grateful for everything he has done over the past 3 years. I am thankful ever day that he came into our lives. In the past year, we lost our father to the terrible disease of dementia, but we are relieved to know that our mother is still in good hands with Scott by her side. Our entire family highly recommends Scott Bloom and his team!
- Annette B., Allentown, New Jersey

JOIN Our Newsletter