Tampa Estate Planning Lawyer
When your family or financial health is on the line, trust Paul Riffel, Attorney at Law, to help you protect your interests and achieve your goals. Attorney Paul Riffel has been practicing law in Florida for over 30 years, focusing in the areas of Tampa estate planning and family law. He has earned a reputation for fair, open, and honest representation, with much of his work coming from client referrals. In 2006, he received the Family Law Inn of Tampa Professionalism award, an honor only given to one member of the Family Law Inn each year.
When preparing for the future or when dealing with life’s unexpected events, the guidance of an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer can help ensure you make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Because Paul Riffel is a solo practitioner, he personally handles all of his clients’ legal matters, which means every client benefits from his experience and expertise.
Elder law covers a variety of topics, ranging from estate planning and guardianships to Medicare and Medicaid coverage. A problem with any one of these issues can severely impact the financial and physical well-being of an elderly individual. For this reason, it is important to retain an experienced Tampa elder law attorney to preemptively address potential inheritance and asset protection issues.
Medicaid Nursing Home and Home Care Applications
Medicaid is a government-funded program that pays for nursing facilities and home health care for the elderly. Approved individuals can enroll in one of Florida’s seven managed care plans, although an applicant must first show that he or she requires a “nursing home level of care” and is financially eligible.
To demonstrate that they require a nursing home level of care, applicants must be able to show that their condition is so serious that they require round-the-clock nursing care or would need to be in a nursing home if they were not receiving supportive long-term care services.
The applicant will also need to show that the service requested is “medically necessary.” In Florida, “medically necessary” means that the service:
- Is necessary to protect life, to prevent significant illness or disability, or to alleviate severe pain;
- Is consistent with symptoms of the illness or injury under treatment;
- Is consistent with generally accepted professional medical standards;
- Has no equally effective or less costly alternative.
An assessment of an applicant’s condition, along with input from a health care provider will help the plan’s administrators determine whether the service being requested is medically necessary.
There are also income and asset limits to Medicaid eligibility. To be eligible, an applicant must have a monthly income no higher than $2,163, and must have few assets like savings, retirement accounts, or real estate investments. The resource limit for an individual seeking Medicaid is $2,000.
Medicaid benefits are often necessary to avoid using up an elderly person’s life savings, but proving eligibility can be difficult. Our Tampa elder law & Medicaid lawyers can help you with your Medicaid application to ensure you get the nursing home or home care that you need.
Resolving Problems with Medicaid Eligibility
If a person is denied Medicaid benefits, then he or she is guaranteed a review of the decision. After receiving a denial notice from Florida’s Medicaid agency, the applicant must make an appeal request. Then, a date will be set for a hearing, at which the applicant will have the opportunity to present his or her own evidence in the form of witness testimony and the submission of medical records. The hearing officer’s decision can also be appealed, although the applicant will be limited to making written arguments in any subsequent proceedings.
If you have been unjustly denied Medicaid benefits, or if you need assistance in qualifying for Medicaid, an attorney with a thorough understanding of the program can advise you on how best to proceed and can handle any appeals. Contact our Tampa Medicaid lawyers now.
Asset Preservation & Protection
The law restricts recipients of Medicaid benefits from distributing their assets as gifts in order to meet the income and asset limits required for qualification. If evidence of such transfers is found, the applicant will be required to wait for five years before re-applying. Purchasing assets that are not counted by Medicaid, such as a home, a car, or personal effects, can be a good alternative to transferring assets without violating the prohibition against gift giving. Another possible method is the conversion of assets to income annuities, which require an individual to pay an initial lump sum in order to receive a future stream of income. Our Tampa asset protection lawyer can help you decide which options are best for you.
Poor planning can have devastating consequences on the financial and physical well-being of elderly family members who are stricken by ill health in their later years. If you live in the Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, or Hillsborough County areas and you want to plan for the future disposition of your property, please contact Paul Riffel at (813) 265-1185 to schedule a consultation. Our Tampa elder law attorneys have years of experience and can help immediately.
Attorney Paul Riffel has special training in Tampa collaborative family law. Often, working through issues in a collaborative setting rather than taking a combative approach in court allows families to come out on the other side of divorce still speaking with one another in a civil manner. That is especially important if the parties have children.
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Contact Our Experienced Tampa Estate Planning Lawyers Today
Poor planning can have devastating consequences on the financial and physical well-being of elderly family members who are stricken by ill health in their later years. If you live in the Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, or Hillsborough County areas and you want to plan for the future disposition of your property, please contact Tampa estate planning lawyer Paul Riffel at (813) 265-1185 to schedule a free consultation. Our Tampa elder law attorneys have years of experience and can help immediately.