I should get my legal advice from ______________ (fill in the blank).

Over the years, I have heard plenty of crazy stories of people getting legal advice from the bank teller, the hairdresser, the financial advisor, the Medicaid caseworker, etc.

Just because your neighbor’s hairdresser’s mother, went through the “same” situation, doesn’t mean that they have the right advice for your situation. I can tell you that after nearly 11 years of practicing in the estate planning and elder law arena, no two situations are exactly the same. Just because something worked or didn’t work for the bank teller, doesn’t mean that it will or won’t work for you.

I’ve seen financial advisors tell their clients to just turn all of their money into an income stream to “protect” it from the nursing home. This doesn’t work the majority of the time, because all of your income has to go to the facility.

I’ve seen bank tellers tell their customers that the bank account or house is transfer on death to the children, so it’s protected from the nursing home.

I’ve seen the Medicaid caseworker tell people to cash out a $150,000 life insurance policy with very little cash value to it (there are ways to protect this without losing the large death benefit).*

You should only be getting legal advice from an attorney, but not just any attorney. You want to ensure that you are speaking with an attorney who regularly practices in that area. For example, if you are getting a divorce or have a criminal issue, you wouldn’t want MY advice because I don’t practice in those areas. Now, if you have an estate planning or nursing home planning question, I’m your girl.

* These are horror stories and not always the rule. I work with plenty of financial advisors, bank tellers and Medicaid caseworkers who do not give advice outside of their expertise and instead send these people to me to get the correct advice.

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