Older adults and persons with disabilities face an increasing number of legal questions involving access to public benefits, protection of property interests, and health-care decision-making. We understand the specific needs of such individuals, and our staff has the experience and understanding necessary to provide the best possible legal assistance. Our services include:Traditional Estate Planning
Traditional estate planning allows you to decide the best means to transfer assets after death, and to provide for decision-making should become cognitively incapacitated. Effective estate planning can reduce or even eliminate uncertainties during the probate process and maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. Estate planning documents may include wills, living trusts, special needs trusts, supplemental needs trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives. Every individual's needs and interests are different; there is no "one size fits all" estate plan. Our firm specializes in a holistic review of your estate and your wishes regarding its distribution during your lifetime or after death.Long-Term Care and Special Needs Planning
Long-term care may include medical care, custodial care that helps people deal with typical activities of daily living, and housing. Persons living with disabilities may need a long term care plan, as may those who have the potential to need such care in the future. Most people don't realize that Medicare does not cover most of the cost of long-term care. There are a variety of planning strategies and payment sources to cover the cost of current or future long-term care, but improper planning can result in financial stress and heartache. We have decades of experience in developing long-term care plans to fit our clients' specific needs, which include special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts.Medicaid (Medical Assistance)
Medical Assistance (MA) is Minnesota’s health insurance program for very low income elderly individuals and persons with disabilities. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover the cost of long-term care. But federal and state eligibility rules for MA are strict and easily misunderstood. Our staff understands the intricacies of the MA program and how our clients can qualify for benefits–and when MA may not be a good option to pay for care.Trusts and Trust Administration
A trust is a unique form of property ownership and management. Trusts have a settlor (the person who sets up the trust), a trustee, who manages and distributes the trust assets in keeping with the terms of the trust documents, and a beneficiary or beneficiaries, to whom the trustee owes legal duties. There are many kinds of trusts; our firm specializes in knowing which type(s) are best used for estate planning or in conjunction with paying for long-term care. We can also assist trustees with trust administration to assure that the assets are managed as intended by the settlor and in keeping with the trustee’s duties to beneficiaries.Probate Administration, and When and How to Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process of settling your estate after your death. Usually, this is handled by a personal representative who may need to consult with an attorney. The probate process may include paying outstanding debts, distributing property in accordance with an estate plan if one exists, and, in rare cases, litigation. If you die without an estate plan, the Minnesota Probate Code will controls how your estate will be divided. Our staff is highly experienced with the probate process, and our estate planning approach always takes into account the pros and cons of “avoiding probate” in particular situations. We can also advise the personal representative and/or heirs regarding the variety of issues that may arise in a probate proceeding.Guardianship and Conservatorship
Sometimes, due to injury, illness, or disability, an individual becomes temporarily When a person is unable to make personal decisions or is unable to meet their financial needs, a guardianship or conservatorship may be appropriate. Generally, a guardianship or conservatorship is only appropriate when less restrictive options, such as a durable power of attorney, living trust, or other means, are not viable because the individual so incapacitated that they are truly unable to make personal or financial decisions. The guardian or conservator has authority to manage personal care and financial decisions, respectively. A guardian's personal care decisions involve issues like where the incapacitated individual might live and what treatments they receive. On the other hand, a conservator's financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual involve issues such as payment of bills and making investments.