Boise Elder Law Attorney
Primary Practice Areas
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the struggling, and tolerant of both the weak and the strong – because at some point in life you will have been all of these.” Attributed to Lloyd Shearer, columnist for Parade Magazine.
When I taught high school, I often shared this quote with my students. It is a good lesson. Every phase of life has its joys and challenges. Many elderly people are blessed with a loving family member to help them navigate the many challenges of aging, but even then, sometimes an elderly person needs the help of a neutral, objective, and knowledgeable counselor. That is the role of the elder law attorney.
Every adult should have an estate plan, not just people with significant property. An estate plan is about managing your property and your life. It is about preparing for retirement, disability, and of course making decisions about distributing property upon death. A well thought through estate plan will include instructions to your family concerning your wishes in the event of your incapacity. Those instructions will include your wishes concerning medical care and management of your finances.
Long Term Care can be very expensive, sometimes over $8000 a month. Medicare does not cover most Long Term Care expenses, and many people who have been careful with money for their whole life can find themselves in financial trouble at a vulnerable time of life.
Long Term Care should be a part of planning for retirement and your estate plan. The type of planning is really determined by the urgency of the need. There are three planning situations: emergency, short-term, and long-term. The earlier you begin the planning process, then the more options you have available. At McCool Law, we believe the three most important goals are first to obtain needed care, second to maximize quality of life, and finally to preserve assets. If you or a family member has questions about whether Medicaid can help with Long Term Care expenses, then call McCool Law for your free initial consultation.
The state has laws which determine the distribution of property upon death for people who die without a will. This is called intestate succession. However, it is your right to distribute your estate as you wish. A testamentary will distributes your property upon your death to your designated beneficiaries. The will also designates a personal representative who “executes” the will. A will may also be used to designate guardians for your children. A person may revoke or change their will. For people who die without a will, the State determines who receives your property, and who will be guardians for your children. The will allows you to exercise your right to make those choices for yourself.
Trusts are more flexible than wills. They may be revocable or irrevocable. While a will distributes property upon death, you can place and distribute property in a trust at any time. Trusts are useful tools for blended families or for people who have special needs. Trusts are also an excellent tool to avoid probate for people who own property out of state. A trust might be used to pay for a young adult’s education with a full disbursement of the property when they reach a more mature age. Trusts have a “trustor:” the person who created the trust. The “trustee:” the person who manages the trust. And trusts have the beneficiary. It is important that the trust is “funded,” that is property needs to be titled in the name of the trust.
CONSERVATORSHIP AND GUARDIANSHIP
The miracle of modern medicine has led to an ever-lengthening life span, but old age is often accompanied by various stages of dementia. While sometimes it is necessary to protect a person, who has lost the ability to competently make decisions themselves, it is critical to respect people’s dignity and their right to control their own lives. There exists a band of options from doing nothing at all to the creation of a power of attorney to a conservatorship and finally to guardianship. The elder law attorney can help people make the best decision to strike the right balance between protecting the elderly person and still respecting their autonomy. Corey McCool is also proud to serve as a member of the Board of the Idaho Guardian and Fiduciary Association (IGFA). Check out their excellent website for information and events concerning these issues.
As Dorothy said: “There is no place home.” Fortunately, changes in Medicare and Medicaid laws have made it easier to pay for home care and stay in the home longer than in the past. There are many housing options and more novel and creative options are coming out every day. There are many factors to be considered including health care needs, companionship, quality of life and cost. An elder law attorney can help make people aware of what options are available, appropriate, and also financing options. This includes long-term care options and the protection of assets. This is a complex problem and both the quality of life and financing are important
Estate planning involves more than planning for what happens after death. The prudent person also addresses health care decisions that can dramatically affect your quality of life, dignity, and respect for your values in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Careful consideration should be given to nominating a surrogate decision maker. Preparing an advance directive can save your family time, expense, and tension during an already difficult time. Advance directives are advisable for any adult not just the elderly. Common documents used are: durable general power of attorney, durable healthcare power of attorney, and living will.
We can help. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- ESTATE PLANNING
- ELDER LAW
- SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
- MEDICARE AND MEDICAID BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY
- CONSERVATORSHIP & GUARDIANSHIP
- HOUSING LAW
- Advance Directive
- Conservator & Guardianship
Attorney at Law
After my graduation from the University of Wyoming College of Law, I served as Law Clerk for the Honorable James N. Wolfe in Sheridan, Wyoming. Judge Wolfe was a great mentor to me, and I treasure the lessons I learned not only in the law but in horseback riding and cattle branding. Upon completion of my Judicial Clerkship, I moved from small-town Wyoming to New York City where I worked for a large firm. My primary client was Lloyd’s of London. My favorite case involved a ship which sank in 1850 full of California gold. Lloyd’s had paid the insurance claim and tried to claim ownership, but the court awarded it to the finder. Finders keepers as they say. Working for a big New York City firm was not a good fit for me so I went back to school and became a teacher.
I returned to my home state of Indiana and taught history for 15 years at a Catholic high school. Later, I taught history at an all-girls boarding school. During those years I also coached debate and served as a Scoutmaster. I have so many great memories as a Scoutmaster. The Boy Scouts is a great program, based on values and fulfilling the important mission of getting kids out into nature. I had the privilege of leading groups of boys on over two dozen two-week backpacking trips through the Rocky Mountains. Those were challenging and richly rewarding adventures.
Throughout those years of teaching, I maintained my interest in the law. My wife and I fell in love with Idaho, and we decided to move here and make Idaho our home. In my work with the Idaho Volunteer Lawyer Program, I was shocked at the abuse some elderly people suffered and decided to focus my career as an attorney advocating for the elderly. People go through many stages of life, but at every stage their values, dreams, and goals deserve respect. My mission as a representative of the vulnerable is to learn a little about the life of my client so that I may fully advocate for their interests. For many years, I worked with young people, and my mission then was to aid them in fulfilling their dreams. And so, although I now work with the elderly my basic philosophy remains the same. As a son, I have witnessed the challenges my parents faced as they aged. It is deeply rewarding as an attorney, to be of help to the elderly as they face similar challenges.