These days there are a lot of folks out there who say they can help you get VA or Medicaid benefits, or both, – for a fee. They put fancy initials after their name but those initials can be all but meaningless.
Sometimes those folks can help you. Sometimes their fees are less than or at least comparable to those of an elder lawyer. But if things go wrong, they have no malpractice insurance on which you can collect and no state bar you can complain to.
Too often people wind up paying more for less – and have to go to a lawyer to straighten up the mess.
Why use an elder lawyer for VA and Medicaid planning:
The truth is, some of the simplest, least expensive and most effective VA and Medicaid planning involves documents which can only be drafted by a lawyer.
- Only a lawyer can draft Marital Property Agreements, transferring property to the spouse who is not entering the nursing home.
- Only a lawyer can draft and apply to a court for an order to transfer a 401k to the spouse who is not entering the nursing home.
- Only a lawyer can draft and file a Texas Lady Bird deed avoiding both probate and Medicaid estate recovery. The legislature has withdrawn the forms it created for Texas Transfer on Death Deeds. A lawyer can create one. If the legislature has no confidence in the old form, should you?
Comparison shop. Don’t overpay. And don’t be suckered into taking an unnecessary risk.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.