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

Protecting Settlements / Medicare Set-Asides

There are special considerations when the plaintiff in a lawsuit is disabled and anticipates receipt of settlement funds or judgment proceeds. The cash must not simply be delivered to the plaintiff. The type of benefits must be analyzed to determine if there will be a harmful effect if the disabled person receives the settlement or judgment, and appropriate steps should be taken to protect the disabled plaintiff’s benefits.

There are a variety of options in these circumstances. By far, the top three options, include:

  • Engaging in a “spend down” of the proceeds. This is usually limited to smaller awards or other very particular circumstances.
  • Placing the proceeds into a “pooled” special needs trust. There are several pooled trust companies that can manage the proceeds efficiently and with reasonable fees.
  • Placing the proceeds into a standalone “payback” special needs trust. While this option will typically cost more to set up in the beginning, it may or may not be more costly to administer depending on the client’s circumstances, the size of the award, and the type of benefits the disabled person is receiving.

Benefits of a special needs trust:

  • 1 Flexibility in administration.
  • 2 Tax advantages.
  • 3 Opportunity to defer repayment to the State for Medicaid expenses previously made until the death of the disabled person.

Another consideration that may arise in a settlement is whether Medicare is entitled to repayment of previously paid medical bills, or where a disabled plaintiff who is receiving, or likely to be receiving, Medicare will have future medical expenses related to an injury they sustained and that relates to the lawsuit. In these cases, an analysis must be done to determine the proposed future medical costs and an arrangement to set aside an amount for the purpose of paying expenses Medicare would otherwise pay in order to protect the award or settlement. In the event the disabled person is on a benefit, such as SSI or Medicaid, a special needs trust can be drafted to both protect these benefits and concurrently ensure Medicare’s interests are protected as well.


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