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What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do in Central Virginia?

Senior citizens 65 or older account for about 16% of Virginia’s population. These seniors often have complex legal needs that include estate planning, protecting assets from Medicaid, and planning for disability.

Estate Planning in Virginia

Our comprehensive estate planning services can help you manage your estate during your lifetime and streamline asset distribution after your death. 

Specifically, we can:

  • Create a valid will or update an existing will to make sure it complies with Virginia law
  • Ensure that your designated beneficiaries receive their inheritance at the right time
  • Help you create and fund a living trust to avoid probate

If you have children with special needs, we can also help you protect their future through detailed special needs planning.

Virginia Medicaid Planning and Asset Protection

The costs of long-term care can quickly decimate your estate. If you are 65 or older, there is about a 70% chance that you will need nursing home care or another form of long-term care during your life.

To qualify for Medicaid in Virginia, your total assets must be no more than $2,000 for singles and $3,000 for married couples. You will need to use your own funds for long-term care until you reach this threshold and can qualify for Medicaid.

Our elder lawyer team can help you protect your estate and still qualify for Medicaid by creating an irrevocable asset protection trust. However, due to Medicaid’s five-year look-back policy in Virginia, you must set up a trust at least five years before applying for Medicaid. These are not the only tools we have for helping you qualify, but this is a complex area where we are highly prepared to help you navigate.

Disability Planning

Nobody likes to think about becoming disabled or having to move into an assisted living facility. However, you never know when a stroke or a degenerative condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s may impair your mental faculties.

Someone will need to make medical and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You can choose a trusted person from among your friends and family and empower them to make decisions on your behalf, with a durable power of attorney (POA) and a Virginia Advance Directive.
With a Durable POA, you can:

  • Name an agent who will manage your finances, and other affairs while you are incapacitated
  • Define the scope of an agent’s authority under POA terms
  • Spare your family members the trouble and cost of establishing guardianship

With a Virginia Advance Directive, you can:

  • Name a healthcare proxy who can direct your medical care and make medical decisions if you are unable to provide informed consent
  • Make personal decisions for you during your incapacity, including the most basic decisions such as what you eat, wear, where you live, and who gets to visit you

However, for a POA or a Virginia Advance Directive to be valid, you must create it while you are still in full use of your mental powers. Without a POA in place, you may become vulnerable to guardianship, and a guardian or conservator you would not have chosen, or worse, who you would not want.

Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel: Experienced Elder Care Lawyers in Troy, VA

If you are a senior citizen in Virginia, it’s time to plan for the future. A trusted elder lawyer at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel can help you stay in control with detailed estate planning, disability planning, and asset protection strategies. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.