I had a phone call today from a lady who was concerned about some “Medicaid planning” she had received through a non-elder law attorney firm. The nursing home in which her father resided had suggested she go to this firm of non-attorneys to discuss obtaining Medicaid qualification for her father. These people call themselves “Medicaid eligibility specialists” (an attorney cannot call themselves an expert or specialist until they have taken a rigorous board certification exam and been practicing exclusively in the area of Elder law for a minimum of five years). Specialist, indeed.
While this company was useful in obtaining Medicaid benefits for the woman’s father, the way they went about disposing of his assets caused her and her family a loss of money and time. The woman was subjected to taxes that were unnecessary and the sale of her father’s property (which had been in the family for over 65 years) at a loss (which was also unnecessary). Had she gone to an actual elder law attorney, she would have discovered an easier (and more cost-efficient way) to get her father qualified for Medicaid (without losing so much of his asset base).
If you have elder law questions, I urge you to talk to an elder law attorney, not a group that calls themselves “specialists” but are not attorneys.