The Elder Law Attorney's Role in VA Benefits Planning
Elder Law attorneys are well-suited to help you understand the variety of government benefits programs available for the funding of long-term care. VA benefits are only one aspect of the many considerations that are a part of long-term care planning. In fact, many Elder Law attorneys would consider it malpractice to not advise a client on VA Benefits as a part of long-term care planning.
As a part of our long-term care planning we help you and your family understand:
- The relationship between VA, Medicaid and Medicare and how they apply to you
- Local care options available in the community for both the veteran and spouse
- Your estate planning documents including powers of attorney, wills, trusts, and advance directives
- Income tax, estate tax, or gift tax matters that may need consideration
- Your personal, financial, and family resources and how they may be used as a part of your plan
- Honest and effective asset protection strategies
- The costs and/or benefits of particular planning strategies that may be implemented
- Whether it is advisable to submit a VA claim form and who may do so on behalf of the Veteran.
If a Veteran, after consulting with an attorney on the matters listed above, expresses an intent to file a claim to the VA, an attorney may not charge a fee for the preparation and submission of the claim. The attorney can either prepare and submit the form, free of charge, or direct the client to a local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) or the Veterans Administration which will prepare and submit the form for free.
However, as explained in a letter from the General Counsel at the Veterans Administration, an attorney may charge a fee for planning that involves any of the eight items listed above. To read this letter in its entirety, please click here.