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My mom and I recently went to see an elder care attorney because mom wanted to update her will, make me her POA, and set up a living will. Mom also asked about protecting assets and what was the best advice if she ever needed a nursing home (e.g. her pension would be too much, what to do, property owned, etc). Mom is 73, severly visually impaired and not in too good health (not critical but trouble getting around, arthritis, etc).
After getting all the other paperwork in order and setting up an appointment to sign documents, the attorney told mom that she can begin the process of transferring assets, etc. to protect herself from the nursing home taking everything and the fee is approx. $8,000 broken down in two installments.
This seems to be a very excessive legal fee to me. The will, POA and living will prices were in range but the other fees seem over the top. Is this a normal fee for this type of attorney speciality?
Also, while we were there, my husband and I asked about a will for us since we have an eight year old child. We were told it would run around $800 for everything and she also indicated that we would need to indicate who would receive custody of our child should something happen to us. Outside of my mom, there is no one. She sat back in disbelief saying we had to name someone and just couldn't believe we had no one in mind (I guess besides my mom). My FIL is pushing 90 and is in a nursing home dying, my dad is dead, my MIL is dead and I am an only child. My husband has a sister he never met and two brothers about as old as my parents who have either been in prison or have severe mental problems. His nieces and nephews are pretty much the same way. I have a couple of cousins but last saw/talk to them at any length at my dad's funeral about 7 years ago.
So, has anyone else been in this situation where the only person you would trust with your minor child is an elderly parent? I honestly think by the attorney's reaction, she will not accept us listing mom. Our family is so estranged or sorry that I wouldn't want our daughter with some of them (who would be after her inheritance or would abuse her). I'm at a loss of what to do on both fronts with this attorney and wonder if we should visit with another lawyer.

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Uh, something does not pass the smell test. Look-back periods are up to 10 years and transferring assets it very likely completely unfeasible here. This particular lawyer may be a total rip-off artist. I would for sure get another legal opinion, and the other option you might consider is an estate planner to sort through some of the options before getting more legal billing going on. I found a really good attorney where I am in Little Rock who did a thorough consultation for $300.00 that was very helpful to me; I found him by going online and picking out the firm with the best understanding of Medicaid in evidence on their web site. Whoever you work with should be able to talk knowledgeably about spend downs and Miller trusts and how they might or might not apply to your situation.
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Planning for your daughter is verrry important, if you don't select one or a few people to be guardian, your state will put her in foster care, so be sure to find someone, you can also change it if you find someone you like better next year.
But the $8, 000 sounds extremely high. I would never pay that much, sounds like a bill for a millionaire.
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RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!!!! RACKET Everyone in this country is abusing the elderly & look at this attorney taking advantage of you! Report the SOB to the Bar!
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I totally agree that this seems a bit outrageous for the legal work you will be having done...and I am an attorney! I would definitely encourage you to shop around - get several prices from several attorneys. Most of these documents require 5-10mins. of time for a secretary to complete once the information gathering is complete. Most can be pulled off the internet according to the state that you live in. Fill the document in completely. Some states require witnesses - other require notarization. You might want to establish a trust to care for mom and her needs.

As far as your daughter - you might also consider a teacher that you know and like - you can use an attorney as well - but I would recommend working with a person for a while before going that route. Establish a trust that all of your assets would go into to provide for your daughter's needs - including education. It can be designed in such a way that she would receive a certain portion of the assets at 18 and then the rest after her education is completed... there are many options.
If nothing else there might be some good attorneys that people in your church might be able to recommend - attorneys that have been tried and tested and are people of God as well.
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Sorry - I can't count. That's a total of 11 documents for $1,200. Very reasonable.
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Joyce - Not sure if this will help, but we live in Texas and when my husband was diagnosed with dementia in June 2010, I contacted an attorney and he created a Living Trust, a Will for each of us, a Durable POA for each of us, a Medical POA for each of us, a HIPAA Authorization for each of us, and an Advance Directive for each of us. That's a total of nine documents, which cost a total of $1,200. He was very understanding and allowed us to pay $100/month until it was paid. The attorney you used waaayyy overcharged you and your Mom. What a shame - so sorry.
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If this a Georgia Case please contact me, such fees are not required for sensible Assets Transfers melded with MEDICIAD in mind
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I apologize. I forgot to address the issue of the guardianship of your daughter. Hmmm. That would add to the cost but seeing as how its up to you to find a guardian, its pretty much paperwork and filing on the part of the attorney. I'd ask for an itemized breakdown. Did the $8000 include the guardianship or was it strictly your moms paperwork?
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Depends on the size of the estate and the complexity of the paperwork. I know that 20 years ago it cost $2500 to appoint me as guardian to my sister. Small law firms charge $150 an hour, big fancy firms charge $375 an hour.
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DPAHC, durable power of attorney for healthcare, forms including wording for HIPPA requirements, can be obtain at hospitals in your area. You cancel them in your self and have them countersigned by witnesses.

GDPOA forms are available at stationery stores all the ones prepared individually by attorney or more specific to your needs. They need to be notarized.

Trusts are complicated and need to be prepared by an attorney. You can't use a quit claim deed to transfer real property into a trust and you don't want to quit claim property to anyone else because it changes the text structure both inheritance wise and property taxes when the quit claim is filed. In addition if the person in that meeting Medicaid, during the five-year look back, they don't want to see that you changed title on the house unless it was for value (money changes hands). So be careful what you do in that regard.

If you're going to do I trust anyway, the attorney should be able to prepare all those documents for you. The attorney we used was elderly himself and was in a financial position to charge lower rates for this service for seniors. He charged $1500 to do a full revocable living trust and both POAs including HIPPA regs. The usual fee for a non complicated situation is around $2500, certainly no more than $3000 unless there are a ton of properties or investments or unless you're related to the Kennedys of the Rockefellers. $8000 seems out of line.
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Call or visit your local senior center or look up adult senior services in your locale, they can give you a referral to a good attorney who specializes in elder law or estate law. They will most likely consult for free and give you some ballpark figures on handling the estate. If its valued a lot for the investments, savings, Ira, property etc, and complex, then the fee may be higher although $8K seems like a lot.

Get some advice on the estate piece before before you commit.

As far as guardian for your daughter, sounds like a tough spot. Do you interact with her friends and their parents? Is there a teacher or someone who would be wiling to act as guardian? If not, leave that part blank for now, and begin fostering some adult relationships. Although now grown, we set up a close friend from college to be the guardian and they were willing and able. Our estate at the time was designated for the children's and pets care.

You might talk to your local "family services" or free legal services who can explain what happens if you were to pass and your daughter orphaned. What you don't want it sounds like is to not have a designee and then they turn her over to a relative you don't want her raised with or you can't trust.
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It seems to be a rip off that "Elderly Attorneys" pull. Charge a huge fee to make it all better. Truth be told, there is only so much you can legally get away with, and Medicaid is closing loopholes all the time. No matter what you try, if mom has to go into a nursing home and it's within the "look back period," you are going to be liable for expenses. It's all explained on the Medicaid web sit. You might do better with a regular lawyer, doing each piece individually. I found that a DPOA was the most important document. You can get your name on her property and accounts without any legal help at all. This will come in handy if she becomes incapable of handling her own finances. I highly suggest doing your own research on the web, and don't get sucked into paying for expensive advice you can discover on your own. Lots of people out there trying to take a piece of an elderly person's savings.

As to your daughter, what about a friend?
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You can do most of it yourself, office max has poa's, get all of them signed and notarized, you can do a quit claim deed for any propery, just make sure all the property description matches her deed and transfer all her money to a separate account in your name or a tax deferred insurance policy. office max also has wills, if her assets are extensive and you have siblings, you may to get this one done with an attorney but not for that much money.
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My mother-in-law had her stuff set up in a living trust, along with POAs and DNR, with an elder attorney and it did not cost that much. But we are in Oklahoma. I suggest you follow your instinct and check with another elder attorney to ensure this is a good price for where you are at. Good luck!!
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I believe the transfer of assets for my mom was going into a trust as well as some to myself (that part not certain). I was wanting to talk to at least one more elder care attorney but my mom was worried and almost signed up on the spot. When we had a chance to step out of the lobby and talk, I said it was kind of like an "impulse buy" and that she should really think it over and give us time to do a little research on the price. The only discount she receives is the cost of the documents she is already receiving (the POA, will, etc that cost a little over $400).
As for my husband and myself, it is $800 for both of us. I would want some sort of allowance for her care. Neither my husband or myself have any close friends that would be in the health or age to take her. We don't have "couple friends" or couple nights out with people. My husband works long, odd hours and the very few times we do have free time, it is going to the store, the nursing home, errands for our parents, etc. In fact, we half-way felt guilty because our family took a walk for a whole hour yesterday (we could have been working on my FIL's house to get it sold). We just started attending a new church and the pastor there is a grandfather himself who is in remission of cancer and his wife was just diagnosed with cancer and had surgery. :( The church is really a small congregation and 80% of people there are my mom's age. The ones that do have kids, I do not know.
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$8000 seems excessive to me too. I would be inclined to visit one or two more attorneys. It's good that you went to an Elder Care atty., and it sounds like he is on the right track, but curious - if he is transferring assets to a person instead of some kind of trust for your Mom, then I 'm not so sure. It's mainly the cost that is putting me off. It may well be the 'going rate' (hope not), but it certainly would not hurt to do some comparison shopping. You might also look under the Money & Legal tab on this website - it has lots of resources to educate yourself on these matters.

As far as your own family, does the $800 (each or all together?) include Wills, POA's and Health Care Proxies/Advance Care Directives for each of you? $800 was the lowest quote I got for one person with all 3 documents. $1200 was the highest quote.

As for the child custody question, I think the lawyer is looking for you to name someone as your child's Trustee and/or foster parent. Raven made a good suggestion regarding close friends or minister's family. It really is a tough issue - because that person will be entrusted not only for the loving care and raising of your child, but also in control of her inheritance money (I believe until she is 18). I would be concerned about setting up a very tight structure about how that money is to be managed, so that it goes mainly or solely for her benefit. I have no idea if there is any precedent or custom regarding an allowance for the family raising her. Something else to inquire about!
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Oh my goodness, $8,000 to transfer assets? I honestly have not had to do that yet but that to me is outrageous! Before I did anything I think I would see another attorney or two and see what they say should be done and obtain quotes. At this rate you won't have to worry about what to do with your mother's estate....the attorney will own it!

As far as your child is concerned, I am so sorry that you are having so many problems, I would suggest that you look at close friends or a minister and ask them if they would consider taking your child to care for them. Although this is not something that will most likely ever happen it is an eye opener. We all just think we will live forever but this situation has brought reality home.
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