Elder Law & Medicaid
Elder Law is a broad category of legal practice, but is most commonly used to refer to planning for Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Medicaid and Medicare are public benefits programs administered by federal and state governments. Although both programs are intended to aid in healthcare costs, the programs are quite different regarding the costs they pay for, and how an individual qualifies to receive benefits. Simply stated, Medicare is a system that primarily seeks to aid in payment of ordinary medical expenses associated with ongoing healthcare such as hospitalization, doctor's fees, and prescription drug expenses. Medicare is not intended to pay for long term care expenses such as an adult family home, assisted living facility, or in-home care, though it may pay for limited time in a Skilled Nursing Facility or a nursing home if certain criteria are met.
Unlike Medicare, which is considered an entitlement program, Medicaid is a needs based program. An applicant for Medicaid benefits must meet certain income and resource requirements, as well as be certified by the Department of Social and Health Services as requiring a certain level of care. If these criteria are met, Medicaid will help pay for a portion of a person's long term care costs, whether it be in a nursing home, assisted living facility, adult family home, or in-home care. The rules and regulations governing Medicaid eligibility are quite complex, and therefore, in most cases it makes sense to seek the advice of an attorney with expertise in dealing with Medicaid eligibility issues. With proper planning, significant preservation of assets and savings in long term care costs can be obtained.
Estate Planning & Probate
Simply put, Estate Planning is the process by which you plan for the disposition of your assets upon your death and Probate is the legal process that takes place after your death to ensure that your Estate Plan is carried out as intended. Estate Planning generally involves preparation of a Will, Community Property Agreement, Revocable Living Trust, or any combination of the three. Special consideration and possible additional planning needs to be considered for estate that may be subject to Washington State or Federal Estate Tax. Depending on the client's situation, we are able to recommend a variety of specific options to best accomplish our client's objectives by the most efficient and effective means possible.
Probate is a multi-step process intended to insure that the decedent's creditors are paid, and the remaining estate assets dispersed to the heirs without the risk of ongoing creditor's claims arising in the future. Although many people associate the probate process with an expensive, time consuming endeavor that should best be avoided at all costs, a most probates can be relatively brief and hassle free when effectively administered. If no unforeseen difficulties arise during administration, the probate may take as little as four to five months to complete where Notice to Creditors has been published, and provides an efficient and final means to distribute an individual's estate upon death. In some cases, the personal representative elects not to publish Notice to Creditors and the process can be substantially shorter.
Guardianship is the legal process by which the Superior Court may appoint an individual to act on someone else's behalf. There are generally three instances in which a guardianship is likely to become necessary. The first instance may occur when a minor child (less than 18 years of age) is without parents, and requires a legal guardian for his or her care and maintenance. The second situation is when a previously healthy individual suffers a debilitating injury or sickness that prevents them from effectively caring for his or her own person and estate, and that person has not previously done proper estate planning. The third scenario is associated with the aging process, when an elderly individual begins to suffer the effects of dementia or other debilitating mental illnesses but may not recognize the level of help that he or actually requires. Although the process to establish each type of guardianship is the same, the issues involved are often quite different. At Pratt Boutillier Kirkevold & Farmer, PLLC, we have the experience necessary to ensure that the process is as simple and straightforward as possible to address the scenario you and your family are facing.
Business law includes all aspects of the formation, management and operation of small and large businesses. In the beginning stages, you will want to consider what type of entity to use (LLC, corporation, partnership), and what type of ownership structure will be most beneficial to your short and long-term goals. Business ownership often need to consider the effect of their business on their estate plan (e.g., what, if anything, am I going to pass onto my children and how can I ensure that there is a smooth transition from generation to generation) to ensure that the business and its value have the highest chance of success. Buy-Sell planning is a key aspect of any partnership, joint venture or even family business that will allow ownership to succeed seamlessly--and on your terms--after specified life events. At Pratt Boutillier Kirkevold & Farmer, PLLC, we stand ready and willing to assist you in all aspects of your business needs.
Real Estate transactions are often paired together with estate planning, business transactions, and even Elder Law/Guardianship matters. Real Estate transactions come in all shapes and sizes and, depending on your needs, can be accomplished through various types of deeds and security instruments. Whether you are considering a private sale of a home or investment property, would like to benefit from the protection of an LLC (or other entity) for investment properties, or otherwise need to transfer or quiet title to real estate, Pratt Boutillier Kirkevold & Farmer, PLLC, can assist you to ensure that the particulars of your transaction are properly considered and executed.
KIRKEVOLD & FARMER, PLLC
Copyright © Pratt Boutillier Kirkevold & Farmer, PLLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
3901 Fairbanks Ave
Yakima, WA 98902