Elder Law in Rhode Island pertains to issues relevant to people who have attained the age of 65 or over. Many elderly and senior citizens are concerned they will lose their house if they have no choice but to go to a nursing home. Elder law addresses wills, trusts, powers-of-attorney, healthcare agent designations and estate planning. Asset protection as well as Medicaid Planning are important issues in the field of Elder law in RI. Below you will find some frequently asked questions by senior citizens. Please contact Rhode Island elder law lawyer, Matthew Slepkow if you need answers to important pertaining to the elderly and their legal rights.
- What is a Living Will in Rhode Island?
- Will the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations take title to my domicile if I have no choice but to enter a nursing home?
- What steps should I take to protect the house in case of nursing home costs?
- Are there any means for me to retain control of my assets while simultaneously protecting them from the reach of nursing homes?
- What law will govern the strategies and state determinations?
1) What documents should the elderly have in their estate plan?
Seniors, as defined as persons over 65 years old, should have the following documents: a will, a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.
2) What is a Living Will in RI?
A Living Will is often called a Healthcare Power of Attorney in Rhode Island. A living will allows a person to designate another person to make healthcare decisions in the event he or she is unable to care for himself or herself. For example, if an elderly person is unconscious or incompetent to make decisions, the senior citizens’s healthcare agent may make all necessary and important decisions for the senior regarding his or her care. The elderly person may designate and specify their wishes, expectations and desires in this legal document so the healthcare agent is cognizant how to care for the senior on his or her behalf.
3) What tactics and strategies should be utilized to protect the family home in the event of nursing home costs?
One of the best ways to add protection in your estate plan is to transfer the title of your primary residence to your children while retaining a life estate in that real property. The life estate allows you to live in the house for the remainder of your natural life, while transferring the title of the house to the children. This method provides complete protection for the house after any applicable penalty period has expired and does not have any adverse tax consequences. However, there are a lot of risks and downsides to transferring title to a child or children while you are alive.
4) Will the State of Rhode Island seize the home of an elderly person who needs to be admitted to a nursing home in Providence?
No. The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations will never seize your primary residence at any time while you are alive or your spouse is alive. The State of RI may have a lien against your estate after your death, at which time the house may need to be sold to satisfy the lien. However, the lien is never placed while you are alive, and if you are survived by a spouse living in the residence, the lien is extinguished at your death.
5) Are there any means for me to retain control of my assets while simultaneously protecting them from the reach of nursing homes?
The short answer is no. The basic principle is that if you can reach or control your assets, then the nursing home can reach and gain control of those assets. There are various means of asset protection that can be employed and you should seek our counsel.
6) What law will govern the strategies and state determinations?
The regulations of your state of principal residence will govern all medical assistance decisions. The system is federally legislated, but locally regulated. Each state has its own enforcement procedures which must be adhered to strictly.
Citations and Resources
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163712000517 Interventions to enhance the Quality of Life of older people in residential long-term care: A systematic review Ageing Research Reviews Volume 12, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 141–150 Special Issue: Invertebrate Models of Aging
Elder Law Links:
- Information about Elder Law, Medicare, Medicaid, Guardianship, Estate Planning
- Official website of U.S. Social Security Administration
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