Who do we talk to for financial planning for Mom? Elder law attorney? Financial planner?

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Mom is 67, receives only Social Security and has no other assets. She lives with us, mostly because she lost her job and house when she had her stroke. Which impaired her vision. We would like her to live on her own. Right now, that isn't possible financially. Right now she can't even afford Visiting Angels.

I have questions about planning for her future and finding out if she's eligible for Medicaid, veteran's benefits, or any disability due to her vision. I don't know if I need an elder law attorney or a financial planner. Or if there are places that can answer these questions for free. It seems so hard to get clarity. Everything seems piece meal. Help!

I made an appointment with an elder law attorney and am now having second thoughts.

Answers 1 to 10 of 12
Contact your local Elder Affairs office and asked them these questions they should be able to guide you in the right direction...

If your Mom doesn't have any other assets other than SS then you won't need a financial planner.. You can apply for medicaid on the Medicaid.gov website... Good luck..
Top Answer
cmc - in many ways in the long term, mom having no real assets or income is good. It may not seem that way now but will be easier in the long run.

Assandache& is spot-on.....If all the income & assets are based on mom's SS, she has no money to work with. You need to have something to give a financial advisor to work with. A SS check isn't going to do that.

I would suggest you get her to be declared legally blind under whatever is your states rules. My late MIL was and having her legally blind provided for many things extra & apart from Medicaid. If there is a Lighthouse for the Blind in your area (even if you need to drive a couple of hours to them), I'd contact them to see how blind services are structured in your state. Some of the blind stuff is interesting.....For MIL, it covered monthly haircut paid by the state as being blind she could not do this safely; she got these readers (tabletop & portable) lent to her so she could read, sign checks, etc; also housekeeping once a week to do cleaning & laundry as again she was too blind to do this safely.But yet she still lived on her own in an apt under a special Section 8 program for the blind for a couple of years before going to a NH. The apt was small (maybe 700 sq ft) and totally renovated & fitted for the blind (oh she hated it too but she was that type). She paid a part of her SS towards rent and the amount was based on her income. Plus she got food stamps and a van came by to get her to go shopping with an aide. None of these involved Medicaid until she went into a NH.

Your mom may qualify for VA Aid & Attendance. I personally have never dealt with it, but alot of folks at my mom's NH are on it (my mom is in San Antonio and there is a huge retired military there) and most of them had A & A paid for services when they were still living with family (before they went into the NH). VA stuff seems to be loco to deal with, maybe contact your local VFW chapter to see who they refer folks to do the paperwork for VA Aid & Attendance. Good luck.
Igloo - I'll look for Lighthouse for the Blind. It would be great for an aide to take her shopping. I spoke with Veteran's Affairs in the county here this morning and the man there was very helpful. Mom does qualify. They will even cover Visiting Angels. But I also found a company similar to Visiting Angels but that does not require 20 hours minimum a week. She doesn't need - or want - someone there all day - just a little but of visiting and help.

Thank you both for the suggestions!
We just saw an Elder Law Atty for a FREE consult to review Mom's Trust and Will. (Thankfully, all is in order.) So yes, this is a good idea and at least, a place to start. It takes a Village for sure w/an elder person so keep good records/files. Also, if you have a Senior Ctr nearby, they usually have people onsite that can point you in the right direction for information. Maybe they even have a kiosk of sorts w/business cards for CPAs, etc. that handle seniors specifically. Lastly, Google searches will give you much so start w/the computer and go from there. And you can ask around w/your neighbors or friends how they handle senior issues. Yes, it is a Mine Field for sure but once you understand how things work, some of it will settle down. Good luck and hang in there.
This is one of the many reasons I love this forum, so many helpful experienced people willing to offer a leg up. Great advice, it is so helpful when you are in the thick of the forest to get utterly lost and feel helpless, that is when a helpful overview from someone whose been there and done that is invaluable.
Google AVVO to ask attorneys questions and receive answers free of charge. The site also has rankings for attorneys.
Amazing answers above! Igloo, I am going to check out the VA and the Lighthouse resources ASAP for my legally blind uncle.

CMC, Your Mom should easily be eligible for FREE legal aid, Will, medical POA, and financial POA. Check with your county Senior Services Agency and you should find an Elder Law Unit. Ours was extremely helpful and quick in getting these documents done. BTW, if anyone here has been following the nightmare that Standing Alone is going through right now (see "Why is this happening?"), we should all run to our lawyers and get these authorizations in place ASAP!

I believe the Legal aid people can also help with other aspects of elder law as well. (I am going to check this out for myself). For instance if she has life insurance policies, someone other than her should be the OWNER of the policies. She needs to consider changing the ownership before she becomes mentally incompetent to do so. With Medicaid's 5-yr lookback, any cash value in life policies will have to be cashed out, and I have read that they will only allow the elder to keep $1500 of death benefit in force to cover burial expenses (I guess they've decided we ought to be be cremated because who could get buried for $1500??). So the point is that your Mother's life expectancy at 67 is much greater than 5 years, so the sooner she changes ownership the better. If you or anyone else has been the owner for at least 5 years, Medicaid supposedly cannot touch it. At that point you can safely say SHE does not own life insurance. I have also heard of creating a Trust and then making the Trust the Owner, payer and beneficiary of the life insurance policy (you or other family member or trusted friend would be the Trustee) If this done properly, Medicaid supposedly cannot touch it either. In this case, the lawyer and life insurance agent would collaborate to accomplish the objective for you. I'm not sure Legal Aid considers this too complex to deal with, but it costs nothing to ask. Good luck with everything, and keep us posted!
orangeblossom, thank you for these warnings. We are eager to have Mom find a way to save up for funeral costs (since she was never able to pay for Dad's) and assumed she could just buy insurance for that as my mother-in-law does. How can anyone think $1500 is enough for burial costs?

I really need to contact the local Senior Services Agency for my county. So far everyone I've talked to in the area has been super helpful. We are new to this county and when I was trying to find information about a year ago, in a different county, it was like pulling teeth. So strange.

Or maybe I'm just getting better at asking questions. This forum helps!
Our appointment is next Tuesday and is free. Though I'm sure they will want to do all sorts of stuff for Mom for a fee, I just want them to help with the complicated stuff.
The thing to remember and it is so hard is to remove yourself from your emotional feelings and to cover yourself, it may sound harsh but the reality is what it is.

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