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The elderly community has many sensitive and complex legal needs. Seniors and their families may require a lawyer’s assistance to get their affairs in order, avoid probate, navigate issues with their Social Security or other government benefits, apply for Medicaid, protect their wealth, minimize taxes, plan for incapacity, and more. Our Houston elder law attorney focuses on this area of law and is well equipped to help seniors and their families live out their golden years in peace! Let Attorney Michelle E. Murphy offer critical guidance during this important time.
What is elder law?
Elder law is a field of law that deals specifically with the practices, issues, and laws that impact older adults (65+) and their families. Health care laws, end-of-life medical decisions, and inheritance matters all fall under the broad umbrella of elder law. While elder law can sometimes involve litigation, more than anything it involves document preparation. The goal of elder law is to protect seniors in the final years of their lives and ensure their families know what to do when they pass away or become incapacitated.
Why do you need a Houston elder law attorney’s help?
There are a few reasons why the knowledge, experience, and compassion of a Houston elder law attorney may be extremely beneficial to you if you are a senior or the caretaker of a senior.
The first is that an attorney can minimize risk. As we age, we become more vulnerable physically, financially, and socially. If seniors don’t plan ahead well or make the right legal choices regarding their care and their estate, they could cause stress, debt, or family conflict. For example, more and more seniors are entering nursing homes, but few realize just how expensive the costs of nursing home care are or how to pay for them. An elder law attorney can explain all of the options (including options you may not have realized were available to you) and find a legal alternative, so seniors can make sure they are able to pay for the care they need without becoming a financial burden on their family or losing their life savings.
The second is that elder law is mostly document preparation, which can be time-consuming and nearly impossible to do on your own. Elder law attorneys attend law school for years to learn how to draft legally compliant, customized documents that protect their clients’ wealth and will remain effective over time. You can try to download templates online, but they won’t be personalized to your unique needs, and you have no guarantee that they will work when your family needs them to. A lawyer can give you the assurance that you have all of the documents you need to accomplish all of your legal goals!
A Houston elder law attorney’s help can prove especially valuable with the following:
Wills And Trusts
Every senior, no matter how healthy or how wealthy, needs to have both of these important estate planning documents in place. A will makes a senior’s wishes known, but a will alone isn’t enough to keep their assets from being subject to probate (a long, expensive Texas court process that transfers their estate to their beneficiaries upon their passing). If seniors want to avoid probate and preserve their legacy for their family, they also need a trust, which is a fiduciary relationship that manages assets during their lifetime and transfers them directly upon their death.
There are many different types of wills and trusts available to, with the most popular being a last will and testament and a revocable living trust. Our Houston elder law attorney can help seniors and their caretakers understand which type to choose and then create a will and trust strategy based on their family dynamics and financial situation. When seniors pass away, their family can focus on grieving rather than having to settle their estate, because it has already been taken care of.
Powers Of Attorney & Other Estate Planning Documents
Planning for death isn’t the only thing that our Houston elder law attorney can help with; one important issue that seniors and their families need to consider is incapacity. What happens when seniors fall ill, become injured, or lose mental faculties and aren’t able to make medical decisions for themselves? Often, if they hadn’t planned ahead, their families will have to make hard choices and wonder if they made the right ones; family members may even fight about what choices to make. Michelle E. Murphy can prevent that from happening by creating a power of attorney, which gives someone you choose the right to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf. She can also create an advance directive, which details what those medical and financial decisions should be.
Long-Term Care Planning/Medicaid Planning
In Houston, the average cost of a nursing home is about $80,000 annually. This is too expensive for most seniors to afford, as neither private insurance nor Medicare covers this amount. Medicaid, a form of government financial aid for seniors, can help pay for the costs, but Medicaid is resource-based, meaning that applicants can’t have over a certain amount in assets or income to qualify. Seniors can’t just gift their money away, as they still will need it for certain costs, so what are they to do? Our Houston elder law attorney can come up with creative solutions, including securing assets in trusts, to shield your life savings from Medicaid. She can also assist with the complicated application process and any necessary appeals.
If you have an elderly loved one who has already become incapacitated and did not have a power of attorney or advance directive in place, you may need to go through a court process of appointing a guardian (perhaps yourself) in order to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf. Guardianships can be confusing and complicated, but our attorney can guide you through the process.
Why work with the Law Office of Michelle E. Murphy?
When it comes to matters as consequential and sensitive as elder law issues, the attorney you choose to work with matters. Attorney Michelle E. Murphy understands how personal the different areas of elder law can be and takes an equally personal approach to legal advocacy. She cares deeply about caring for seniors and their families, so she will take the time to get to know you in order to offer you the wisest advice and guidance possible. Her over 20 years of experience helping elderly clients in Houston & beyond secure their legacies can give you peace of mind, and her ability to serve clients virtually provides convenience. She offers free initial consultations to seniors and their caretakers so they can get to know her, ask questions, and learn more about elder law. If you are ready to get started, call and schedule your free consultation today!
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Ms. Murphy made sure to use all of her resources and did everything legally possible to help me. She fought harder than other lawyers out there and found ways to make everything work in my favor. I really appreciate how she helped me and made me feel at ease under the worst circumstances. I recommend her highly.
Why Choose Us?
20+ Years Of Experience
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