Legal Services

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ADVANCE DIRECTIVES

These important documents consist of the Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living will. Signing these documents now allows your wishes to be followed in the future if you were unable to handle your own affairs.

Durable Power of Attorney

An important legal document is the Durable Power of Attorney which allows you to select a person to act on your behalf with respect to financial matters (i.e., paying your bills, depositing checks, etc.) if you become incapacitated in your lifetime. All adults should have a Power of Attorney in place if they become temporarily or permanently unable to take care of their own affairs.

Health Care Proxy

Since the Durable Power of Attorney does not pertain to health care issues, a Health Care Proxy form should also be signed. It is a similar concept as the Power of Attorney, except you select a person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. As with the Power of Attorney, your agent only acts if you are not able to do so.

Living will

The Living will works in conjunction with the Health Care Proxy document. It expresses to your Health Care Agent and medical personnel your wishes pertaining to end of life issues and life support decisions.

Having these documents in place can avoid a costly guardianship proceeding.

GUARDIANSHIP

Guardianships are necessary when a person becomes incapacitated and has not set forth a legal representative through a Power of Attorney. It is a court proceeding where someone is appointed to represent your financial interests and health care needs. Our firm can represent you before the court should a guardianship become necessary for a loved one.

NURSING HOME PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE

Placing a loved one in a nursing home, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, can be overwhelming. We can help you navigate through the process by assisting you with the required paperwork and decision making. We work with families and discharge planners to assure proper placement.

PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
(NEW YORK AND FLORIDA)

Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is passed to the beneficiaries named in their will and the debts of the estate are resolved. The Surrogate’s Court (NY) validates the will and officially appoints the executor based on the decedent’s wishes. Once appointed by the court, creditors must be notified of the individual’s death and eventually distributions need to be made. In Florida, the Circuit Court administers such matters and appoints a personal representative. Covey, Roberts & Carmody-Roberts is well versed in the probate process and we know how to best assist our clients during this difficult time.

Estate administration is the legal process when there is no will and no trust in place. Generally a family member petitions the court to be appointed as Administrator of the estate. Once appointed, the process is similar to the probate process in that creditors must be notified and paid, and the assets properly distributed to the heirs.

REAL ESTATE

Selling your home or commercial property? Looking to buy? We have many years of experience representing our clients with regard to real estate matters. Many of our clients who are already familiar with our firm regarding their estate planning needs are happy to find out that we can also assist them when buying or selling their homes. It is a relief to work with someone you already know and trust.

SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW

Public school students who have one or more disabilities are evaluated to determine if they qualify for an Individual Education Program (IEP). School Districts have a Committee for Special Education Services (CSE). If the parents of the student and the school district disagree as to any aspect of the student’s educational program, the parents, under federal and New York State law, can request an impartial hearing before a Hearing officer certified by the New York State Department of Education. Our firm represents such parents in the Hudson Valley area.

WILLS AND TRUSTS

A will allows you to direct who will receive your property when you pass away. Without a will, the government dictates who will receive your assets. Executing your will also allows you to choose who will be your legal representative to carry out your wishes. Having a will in place is the most efficient, and often the least expensive way to administer your estate. We can assist you in making sure you have the right will for your specific situation.

A trust is a legal entity through which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property held for the benefit of another called a Beneficiary. There are many different kinds of trusts with various advantages; some trusts are designed to avoid the probate process, some to secure tax advantages, and some to protect assets. Call our office today to find out if a trust would be a beneficial part of your estate planning process, and we will review with you the various types of trusts such as revocable trust, irrevocable trust, special needs trust, etc.

Pooled trust for Individuals Living in the Community

The “pooled trust” has become an important planning component for disabled individuals in need of Medicaid Community Homecare Services. It allows an individual who qualifies for Disability according to New York State guidelines and who qualifies for Medicaid homecare, to utilizing all of their income for their own needs even though it is in excess of the allowable level to qualify for Medicaid. In 2017 an individual may only retain $845.00 of their monthly income if receiving Medicaid Community Homecare. The balance must be paid to the Home Care Agency who is providing care as a contribution to the cost of care. A Medicaid recipient may place their monthly income that exceeds $845.00 into a Pooled trust and direct the trustee to pay certain bills with these funds. Medicaid requires that the pooled trust be established and managed by a non-profit organization.

Special Needs trusts

A special needs trust allows an individual to provide for the needs of a disabled individual such as a child or spouse. This type of trust allows the disabled person to receive trust assets without losing their government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, or low-income housing. It is a valuable tool when there is a family member with a disability of any age.

MEDICAID & ASSET PROTECTION

The Medicaid program is a Federal program run jointly with each State. The rules and regulations are generally the same, with each state enacting regulations within the Federal program. As we know, Medicare and supplemental insurance does not cover Long-Term Care, either at home or in a Nursing Home on a permanent basis, and Medicare has limited coverage. Unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance or unlimited assets, one must rely on Medicaid to meet their Long-Term Care needs. The question is how do you provide for Long-Term Care without becoming impoverished? We can help you navigate through the complex Medicaid rules, regulations, and laws. You need NOT spend all of your assets, income, or lose your family home in order to qualify for Medicaid. The belief that you must wait 5 years after any transfer or “Gifting” of assets is a misnomer.

A Medicaid application must be supported with 5 years of financial documentation. Gifting, and/or Transfers, are taken into consideration when determining when Medicaid eligibility can begin. It is important to work with a qualified Elder Law attorney when making gifts and/or transfers to assure your health care needs will be met in the future.

Applying for Medicaid is a complicated and detailed process and we realize you are concerned about sharing your personal financial information. It is important that you know your files are kept completely secure and confidential as we assist you in determining if a Medicaid application makes the most sense for your particular situation.

VETERAN’S BENEFITS

Wartime Veterans and their surviving spouse may be entitled to a benefit called Aide and Attendance. This benefit was designed to provide financial assistance to help offset the cost of long term care in an assisted living facility, home care, and nursing home care. We can work with you making sure that you receive all the benefits you and your spouse may be eligible for.

Legal Services

*NY and FL Services

The information contained on this website should not be construed as legal advice since each person’s planning is unique to their personal situation and circumstances.