Disclaimer: With Medicaid, VA, and insurance regulations frequently changing, past blog posts may not be presently accurate or relevant. Please contact our office for information on current planning strategies, tips, and how-to's.
As an insurance agent, you are well-versed in the products and financial aspects of crisis planning. Although you are equipped to guide your clients through the planning process and get them access to the products they need, it’s important to involve an elder law attorney when handling certain aspects—primarily, when utilizing a Medicaid Compliant Annuity (MCA).
A Difference in Roles: Insurance Agent vs. Attorney
Whereas agents like you are more familiar with the financial side of an MCA and the product itself, elder law attorneys are accustomed to dealing with the legalities, rules, and regulations surrounding Medicaid and the intricacies of the products related to it. They understand the full scope of what’s acceptable and what’s not when considering a strategy involving an MCA.
Why You Should Work with an Attorney during Crisis Planning
When dealing with a Medicaid Compliant Annuity, we recommend working with an elder law attorney for several reasons. Not only can the attorney’s involvement benefit your client, but it can also give you peace of mind and provide you access to the latest Medicaid information. Not to mention, attorneys may be required for certain parts of the process.
1. To benefit your client
Working with an elder law attorney shows your clients that you’re knowledgeable in the industry and understand the importance of including a legal professional. It expresses that you have their best interest in mind. Plus, since an attorney is permitted to provide a legal opinion, their recommendation for an MCA may hold additional weight for your clients.
2. To have peace of mind
Although some insurance agents take care of Medicaid applications on their own, having an attorney involved ensures all bases are covered from a legal perspective. This is especially important when dealing with the intricacies of a Medicaid Compliant Annuity.
3. To get access to the latest information
Elder law attorneys are required to stay up to date with any recent legislative changes regarding MCAs or Medicaid in general, which is crucial information that they can then pass along to you and your clients. On a local level, attorneys are also aware of court decisions that may affect how an MCA should be structured for a particular jurisdiction. Attorneys can lay out the details of MCAs and how they impact end-of-life and estate planning decisions for each individual client.
4. To take care of necessities
An attorney is required to handle certain legal documents that may come along with a Medicaid Compliant Annuity, such as securing estate plans, drafting a Power of Attorney, and setting up a Trust.
How Can Agents Find Elder Law Attorneys in Their Area?
When you are ready to find an elder law attorney in your area, there are a few places you can look. But before you start your search, we have a few recommendations. First, make sure you look for an attorney who specializes in elder law or Medicaid planning. Next, you may want to give higher consideration to those who belong to organizations like NAELA, ElderCounsel, or Lawyers With Purpose. This gives them access to exclusive training and up-to-date information in the elder care industry. And finally, you’ll want an attorney who is in good standing with their state bar. Most state bar websites will allow you to search an attorney by name and check for any prior ethical violations.
Now, onto your search. We suggest checking the following resources to find an attorney near you:
- Attorney rating sites (SuperLawyers, Martindale, Avvo, etc.)
- State bar referral sites
- Financial or legal industry publications
- Organizational directories (NAELA, ElderCounsel, Lawyers With Purpose, etc.)
Here at The Krause Agency, we wholeheartedly believe involving an elder law attorney in the crisis planning process is crucial for your client’s wellbeing as well as your peace of mind. Medicaid Compliant Annuities are intricate products with several moving pieces. An error could delay your client’s Medicaid eligibility or worse. If you are still unsure about working with an elder law attorney when handling an MCA, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.