As we age, we face complex legal concerns that are often different from when we were younger. Our actions may have unintended legal effects that require immediate representation to protect our rights and assets. That is why it’s important to work with an attorney who is an expert in Elder Law - to get the right kind of protection for you and your loved ones.
Attorney Glen Buttacavoli is that attorney. His Elder Law practice specializes in using legal knowledge and experience to fit the needs of older clients in such matters as:
- Preserving Assets When a Spouse Enters a Nursing Home
- Claims and Appeals for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security
- Conservatorships, Guardianships, Estate Planning, Probate, and Trusts
- Nursing Homes: Placements, Quality, and Patient’s Rights
- Elder Abuse, Discrimination, Fraud Recovery, and Many Other Legal Issues
- And more…
Take some time to review more information about our practice below then contact Attorney Buttacavoli to set up your free legal consultation to get the protection and assistance you deserve:
Despite the biblical decree that a couple, once married, becomes “one flesh,” this doesn’t carry over into civil law so that a spouse can automatically make health care decisions for an incapacitated mate. Many choose to draft a living will: an advance directive that can speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself. But when no advance directive exists, each state has its own laws regarding who makes decisions in such situations.
One case involving a spouse’s rights in making healthcare decisions without an advance directive is that of Terri Schiavo. Terri entered a persistent vegetative state and could not make health care decisions for herself. There were major disagreements between Terri’s husband and her parents about what her wishes would be. Since Terri and her husband lived in Florida, state law said that a court-appointed guardian has priority over the spouse when making decisions for a mate. Her husband was her guardian, and he eventually made the decision to stop giving Terri food and fluids.
The advance directives, Living Will and Health-Care Power of Attorney, are legal instructions. Preparing these advance directives will do at least three important things: promote communication with doctors and relatives, relieve the family of the decision-making process, and reduce the likelihood of unwanted treatment. These directives can also name a spouse as a legal health care agent - giving them the right to make decisions about their mate’s care. In Ohio, Do Not Resuscitate orders and organ donation are part of the advanced directives authorized by state law.
A Living Will tells medical professionals, and your family, which medical treatments you want to receive or refuse, and under what conditions. It only goes into effect if you meet specific medical criteria and are unable to make decisions yourself.
Health-Care Power of Attorney
A Health-Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make health-care decisions for you any time you are unable to do so. Most people choose trusted family members or friends who are comfortable talking to doctors. The power of attorney can also be referred to a health-care proxy, an appointment of a health-care agent, or a durable power of attorney for health care. It is different than a regular durable power of attorney, which only covers financial matters.
Letter of Instruction
A Letter of Instruction is not a legal document, but it helps families find important information, and saves them from having to dig through papers during a crisis. The letter will outline any special requests you would like carried out, such as plans for a funeral and names of people to contact. It also should include important phone numbers, such as your employer and insurance agent. Some people also include a list of meaningful possessions they would like to give to certain loved ones.
What are Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits?
Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition to a monthly pension. This benefit may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:
- The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment
- The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- The Veteran is a Patient in a Nursing Home Due to Mental or Physical Incapacity
- The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:
The veteran has a single permanent is ability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises
- The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling
Please Note: A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance & Housebound benefits at the same time.
How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound:
You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA regional office having jurisdiction of the claim. That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office. You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician, validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.
The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
Whether the claim is for Aid & Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the individual gets around, where the individual goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day.
For more information contact Glen F. Buttacavoli, Elder Law Attorney, an Accredited Attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs.