Attorney Role

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:

  1. The relationship between VA, Medicaid and Medicare and how they apply to you
  2. Local care options available in the community for both the veteran and spouse
  3. Your estate planning documents including powers of attorney, wills, trusts, and advance directives
  4. Income tax, estate tax, or gift tax matters that may need consideration
  5. Your personal, financial, and family resources and how they may be used as a part of your plan
  6. Honest and effective asset protection strategies
  7. The costs and/or benefits of particular planning strategies that may be implemented
  8. 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.