Stay at Home- Zoom Meetings Now Available!

In light of new mandates from the government regarding COVID-19 and social distancing, our firm is implementing virtual consultations in an effort to protect our often elderly and/or immunocompromised clients. Until further notice, Zoom conferences will be our default meeting platform unless there are circumstances that require an in-person meeting. We can also accommodate other platforms such as Face Time. Zoom is an easy to use video conferencing system that works on a tablet, smart phone or computer. Our Intake Coordinator, Kim Smith, will outline in detail how your first conference with our office will be conducted via Zoom.

Rest assured that whether you are comfortable with video conferencing technology or not, our team is working hard to ensure the legal needs’ of our clients and their families are met in the safest and most efficient way possible.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in these unprecedented times.

~ Melissa Q. Leavy, Owner/Attorney, The Elder Care Law Practice, LLC

Estate Planning for Disabled Children

If you are the parent or family member of a disabled person, it is important that you learn more about special needs planning and why it is so important for the disabled person. As you grow older, you may be concerned with who is going to help meet the needs of your disabled child when you are no longer able to help in your child’s care. And, after your death, you have options to protect the disabled child’s inheritance to make sure the child’s essential needs are always met. Planning now for the care of your disabled child can help to protect your child for the remainder of his or her life, can allow him or her to receive ongoing benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI, and, at the same time, ensure they can meet other needs that governments will not pay. This could include specific a medical treatment or therapy, or something to make your child’s life better when their resources would otherwise not allow them to make these purchases.

A special needs trust is a trust that allows the beneficiary to continue receiving their benefits, such as Medicaid, but will supplement their benefits. The resources held in an well-drafted special needs trust will not count against the beneficiary for purposes of qualifying for the benefits.

In addition to protecting inheritance for your child, a standalone trust may help any other person who wants to leave a gift or bequest to your child. That person can also direct their funds into the special needs trust you have established.

Finally, under the federal law, even a disabled person who meets certain criteria can put their own money in trust. There are two common very common scenarios in which this can happen:

  • 1When the disabled person receives an inheritance or gift outright of significant value, and the person who gifted the money did not gift it into a special needs trust; and
  • 2When the disabled person is the recipient of settlement proceeds or award from a personal injury, medical malpractice, or other lawsuit. (See Protecting Settlements/MSAs.)

If the disabled person’s disability is established before creating the trust and the disabled person is under the age of 65, this trust can be invaluable in protecting the disabled person for the rest of their lives. In addition, in the case where Medicaid has paid for services related to an accident or injury, the State may defer any recovery on those payments until the death of the beneficiary. Depending on the amount that Medicaid has paid on the disabled person’s behalf, this adds a strong incentive to placing settlement proceeds into a trust. One downside to this type of trust is a requirement that it must have a “payback” provision. A payback provision means that on the death of the disabled person, the trustee must pay the State back for any Medicaid payments made for the benefit of the disabled person during their life. Despite this requirement, the benefits of placing a disabled person’s assets in this type of trust far outweigh the drawbacks.


Client Testimonials

I was at a total loss as to what to do about my parents estate when my father passed away and my mother was diagnosed with dementia. Melissa was (and is) a savior for myself and my family. She is brilliant, astute on the law, thorough, and she genuinely loves her work. Hire her, you will be glad you did, I assure you. - Paul

Client Testimonials

Ms. Melissa is the real deal, she is professional, courteous and very knowledgeable. She puts her elderly clients at ease with her calm and reassuring manor. She fully understands the different family dynamics and gets the best outcome for her client. I'm very glad I hired Elder Law attorney Melissa Leavy to be my mother's attorney and advocate. Would definitely recommend her and would definitely call her again if I need to. - Lisa

Client Testimonials

Melissa has been a fabulous attorney and consult regarding various legal matters and needs from legal guardianship to creating living will/power of attorney and a trust fund for my girls as well as even a special needs trust. She is thorough, well knowledged and very reliable on finding answers to my many questions on my various legal needs and replies in a timely manner. I HIGHLY recommend her for any legal need you may have. Comparable pricing and just amazing. - Dawne

Client Testimonials

Melissa provided my family with up to date information and offered knowledge based opinions for application for VA Spousal benefits for my Mother. The VA Administration changes it's review policy annually, and Melissa has the necessary training and experience to guide her Senior Clients through the process. Her firm also updated necessary legal documents for my Mom at a reasonable fee. Our family appreciated Attorney Melissa's well informed approach. - Heddy