My mother's (second) husband is ill. All of their assets -- home and stocks/bonds/annuities -- are in his name only. We contacted an elder care attorney to start the Medicaid application/asset transfer & preservation. I understand it's a rather complicated and time consuming process. Can you please give me a ballpark figure for these services (we’re on Long Island)? How is the attorney's fee is collected i.e. total upfront, payment in thirds, one half, etc.?
Attorneys charge differently, so you will have to ask. But most elder law attorneys have moved away from charging by the hour towards a flat-fee model that reflects both the amount of time and the expertise needed to complete the needed work. They may charge a low fee or no fee for the initial meeting, and then quote a higher fee to complete the work once you’ve agreed what needs to be done. At that time, they may ask that the entire fee be paid up front or a portion up front and the balance upon completion of the contemplated work.
Medicaid planning and Medicaid applications consist of a mix of elements. The planning piece takes the expertise of an experienced elder law attorney, but may not take considerable time. The implementation of the plan and the Medicaid application can be time consuming, though most of the work may be completed by an experienced paralegal. In addition, fees vary considerably around the country.
In short, you will need to ask the elder law attorney, though he or she may not be able to quote a fee until after an initial consultation.
- Read the Six Ways to Help Parents with their Finances
Harry Margolis founded Margolis & Bloom LLP, a six-lawyer Boston law firm in 1987. He has been a designated “Super Lawyer” since 2005 and is Founder and President of ElderLawAnswers that supports seniors, their families and their attorneys by providing various online tools and resources.