About Our Firm Hackman & Phillips Elder Law RI LLC is a firm dedicated to working with individuals, couples, seniors and their families in the areas of law which focus primarily on estate, Medicaid, and long term care planning as well as probate administration, guardianships, special needs planning, debt relief and consumer bankruptcy.
How we can help
- Elder Law, Long Term Care and Medicaid Planning
- Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration
- Veterans Benefits
Elder Law, Long Term Care and Medicaid Planning
Elder Law is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of matters, including estate planning with the senior perspective in mind, to proactively planning to protect assets in the event a long term care situation arises, to handling crises scenarios in which an elder is transitioning to assisted living or nursing home care without any pre-planning.
Without advanced planning or even last minute planning, the exorbitant cost of long term care (an average of $10,000.00 per month) can mean financial devastation to seniors, couples, and their families. Unless you can afford to privately pay for your long term care or have a long term care insurance policy to diminish the monthly cost of care, your option is to apply for Medicaid benefits to provide medical assistance. Our firm understands the federal standards and guidelines for Medicaid as well as the complex eligibility requirements of Rhode Island’s Medicaid Rules and Regulations including the 5-year lookback period, transfer penalties, income caps, proper spenddowns, and how to protect as much assets as possible under the circumstances.
We help many families where adult children or caretakers are jumping into decision making roles for their parents for the first time. Often, using Powers of Attorney or Legal Guardianship, children and caretakers are faced with organizing finances, making decisions about care, and figuring out the best placement for their loved one all at once.
Our firm knows how to help families navigate this stressful journey, protect assets, and qualify clients for Medicaid benefits. We have developed a well-rounded network of professional senior care providers – from geriatric care managers, social workers, home care providers, assisted living and nursing home administrators, financial advisors, and accountants – who serve as resources for our clients to help address the full scope of our clients’ needs.
It’s never too late to seek advice about protecting a loved one’s health, dignity, and assets, even if a loved one is already in a nursing home. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. Our attorneys and staff are willing to travel to a potential client’s home, hospital, or care facility if an office appointment is not feasible. Our firm does charge for an hour of our time to for elder care and Medicaid eligibility consultations. However, we will apply the consultation fee to future legal work that may be necessary in your case.
Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration
Estate planning is not only about planning for what happens to your property when you pass away, but it is also about protecting yourself and our loved ones should you be faced with temporary or permanent incapacity. The sophistication of an estate plan varies depending upon the nature of our clients’ assets, families, goals and wishes. However, even the simplest of plans can spare your loved ones from unnecessary expense, delay and frustration should you become disabled, mentally incapacitated, or pass away.
Our firm routinely prepares Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney for Financial Matters, and Health Care Advance Directives for our clients. We help our clients design estate plans appropriate for their needs and explain how the documents will work for them.
Often, our clients want a plan that will help their family avoid the need to probate assets. We explain how the probate process works, help our clients understand what assets are subject to probate, and encourage proper planning that enables you to pass your estate on to your loved ones in a swift, private manner without undergoing the cost, delay, and public nature of having to probate an estate.
Although many of our clients are elders, we provide estate planning services for all generations. Many of our clients are concerned about naming guardians for their minor children and also protecting assets for their children’s benefit. An estate plan should address who you want to raise your children as well as how your assets should be managed for their health, education, maintenance and support throughout their childhood and possibly beyond. Under state law, a basic Will entitles children to receive their inheritance at age eighteen (18). Often a trust-centered plan is the most effective way to insure your children are protected from financial predators or their own immaturity or spendthrift habits should you or your spouse pass away while they’re young.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Estate planning becomes all the more critical if you have a child or loved one with mental or physical disabilities. Special Needs Planning helps parents and guardians outline a care plan for their loved ones as well as protects assets for their benefit without disqualifying them from any governmental entitlements they may receive such as SSI, Medicaid, food stamps, and housing.
A simple Will-based plan may not be sufficient to protect your loved one with special needs, especially if it directs assets to be administered directly to that person. Our attorneys have the training and experience to draft special types of trusts that meet the governmental requirements necessary to protect a loved one from losing their benefits upon the receipt of an inheritance from a parent or benefactor. Establishing a Special Needs Trust is the first step in protecting a love one and enhancing the quality of their life, but understanding how they operate and how to manage the assets as Trustee is crucial to successfully preventing a loved one from having their governmental benefits reduced or eliminated. Our firm will counsel you on how to serve as Trustee of a Special Needs Trust or help you identify an appropriate Trustee to serve in that role.
Special Needs Planning often includes the establishment of a Guardianship for a child turning eighteen (18). When children turn eighteen, they are no longer considered minors and parents must become their legal guardians in order to continue making decisions related to their health, finances, residency, and associations. Establishing guardianship requires filing a petition in the probate court in the city of town where the child resides. Our firm represents parents and caretakers in probate court in order to establish or modify guardianships.
PROBATE, TRUST, and ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
Your legal needs aren’t limited to designing and establishing an estate plan. Our firm is here to advise you on how to administer your plan when the time comes. Whether you need representation in probate court to establish a guardianship, administer an estate, or you need to privately administer a trust, we will help you and your family through each step from start to finish.
Attorney Kevin A. Hackman is accredited by the Veterans Administration (VA) to counsel clients with respect to their eligibility for Veteran’s benefits and how to apply for benefits. VA benefits are widely misunderstood and underutilized. There are benefits available to Veterans, their spouses, widows, and even their parents to help pay for home care or assisted living.
The VA claims and appeals process is complicated and time consuming. It is important to discuss these benefits with a VA accredited attorney like Attorney Hackman. Although there may be some estate planning and other legal work necessary in order to facilitate one’s eligibility for VA benefits, it is important to understand that no attorney, financial advisor, care manager, assisted living or nursing home administrator, or other professionals may charge a fee for helping a Veteran or their spouse actually apply for VA benefits prior to receiving any notice of denial.
SERVICE CONNECTED COMPENSATION
Veterans with a disability caused by, or exacerbated by military service may be entitled to compensation. Certain Veterans are now eligible to reopen claims they were previously denied because the VA has now acknowledged a much broader list of service related illnesses and disabilities. For example, anyone who had boots on the ground in Vietnam or served in the surrounding blue waters is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. If a Vietnam vet develops any number of diseases including Diabetes Type 2, Ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s and certain cancers, they may be entitled to compensation even if they were previously denied. This compensation is available regardless of a Veteran’s income level and is tax free. Other presumed service connected conditions include:
Arthritis due to prior injury or wound
Gulf War Syndrome
Radiation – cancers
Vaccinations & Medication
DEATH AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FOR SURVIVING SPOUSES AND PARENTS
Survivors of deceased veterans who were killed in action or died of a service-related injury or illness may be entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) – a tax free benefit. For example, a widow or elderly parents of deceased Veterans who are entitled to DIC can use the extra compensation towards their own increased medical, home care or long term care expenses.
NON-SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY PENSION FOR VETERANS AND WIDOWS OF WARTIME VETERANS
Low Income Pension – Low income wartime veterans who are 65 or older, or are permanently and totally disabled if under 65, may be eligible for a tax free pension. The disability does not have to be service connected. Surviving spouses and children may also be eligible for non-service connected disability pension, also known as Base pension.
Housebound – If a veteran or widow is substantially confined to their home due to disability, they may be eligible for increased monthly pension.
AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS – SPECIAL MONTHLY PENSION FOR VETERANS AND THEIR WIDOWS
In addition to disability pensions, Aid and Attendance benefits may be paid to wartime veterans, their spouses or widows. If a Veteran served at least 90 days active duty during a war time period, then that’s the first step to qualifying for Aid & Attendance pension benefits. These benefits are means tested in order to qualify. Your age and ongoing monthly medical expenses are also a factor when qualifying. A veteran or their spouse or widow must also demonstrate they need assistance with at least two Activities of Daily Living such as bathing, feeding, toileting, transferring, walking, or adjusting prosthetic devices. Further, the need for a protective daily environment due to mental or physical incapacity or legal blindness also meet eligibility requirements for the benefits. These tax-free benefits are meant to help senior Veterans and their spouses better afford increased medical bills such as home care and assisted living costs. However, once you become eligible for Medicaid in a nursing home, the pension drops to $90.00 per month since they are both federal programs.