Cona Elder Law



New York Asset Protection Attorneys

A couple discussing future plans with their elder law attorney

Cona Elder Law combines extensive legal knowledge and experience in the fields of Elder Law and Trusts and Estates with passionate advocacy for our clients and their family members. In practice for over 20 years, our attorneys are leaders in the field of asset protection, trusts, estate planning and elder law on Long Island. We are guided by our mission of delivering the highest quality of asset protection legal advice, straightforward guidance and result-driven outcomes. Our thorough and comprehensive Asset Protection services are multigenerational in approach and are designed to make you and your family comfortable.   

Based in Melville, Long Island, Cona Elder Law is an award-winning law firm.  Our Founder and Managing Partner, Jennifer Cona, is nationally recognized and our attorneys are the recipients of numerous awards and honors. Together our attorneys have over 125 years of combined experience in all aspects of Asset Protection, including Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Estate Litigation.

What is Asset Protection Planning for Seniors?

Asset protection planning for older adults focuses on protecting assets from the high costs of long-term care, such as nursing home care, home care and assisted living costs. This can be accomplished by moving funds, real estate and other assets into an irrevocable trust. However, asset protection planning only works before you have incurred a debt to a creditor, such as a healthcare facility or provider. In most cases, assets must be transferred to an irrevocable living trust 5 years in advance. Accordingly, early planning is key.

How an elder law attorney can help 

If you’re like most people, you worked hard all your life, raised a family, stayed out of debt and provided a leg-up for your children. But now that you need care, the cost is going to wipe out your family’s assets in short order. Your spouse will be left scraping by and your kids will have no inheritance whatsoever. This is not how it was supposed to end. That’s where we come in.

The experienced asset protection attorneys at Cona Elder Law have helped thousands of clients and families like yours protect assets for you and your family.

Benefits of Asset Protection Planning

There are many benefits of asset protection planning for you and your heirs, including:

  • Qualifying for Medicaid benefits to pay for the costs of long-term care
  • Preserving assets to pass on to the next generation/heirs/loved ones
  • Protecting assets for your spouse/avoiding spousal refusal litigation
  • Avoiding probate
  • Transfer and management of assets by the next generation

Our Elder Law Asset Protection Plan Strategies

Asset Protection Trusts

Protecting assets is important to everyone. No one wants to needlessly spend down all of their assets to pay for nursing home care or other long-term care. The goal is to become eligible for Medicaid if and when the need arises, whether that is Medicaid nursing home benefits, home care benefits or assisted living benefits. By planning ahead with an Asset Protection Trust, you can ensure that you will qualify when you submit a Medicaid application without spending down your family’s assets.

Special Needs Trusts

The law entitles disabled individuals to protect assets in a Special Needs Trust so that they can keep an unlimited amount of money in this special asset protection trust without reducing or eliminating government benefits, such as Medicaid and SSI benefits. There are two types of Special Needs Trusts: first-party trusts where the disabled individual funds the trust with their own assets, such as the proceeds from a lawsuit or an inheritance, and third-party trusts funded with the assets of another person, such as a parent or grandparent.

Spousal Transfers

Under New York’s Medicaid laws, spouses are protected by a special exemption that allows them to transfer money from one spouse to the other without incurring any Medicaid penalty or waiting period. This allows the spouse who needs long-term care to become Medicaid eligible right away without leaving the spouse in the community destitute.  However, if the spouse in the community has assets over the resource limit once all assets are in his/her name, he/she will be required to sign a spousal refusal. The Medicaid agency then has the right at any point in the future to initiate a lawsuit against the spouse with the assets for reimbursement of monies expended on the costs of the spouse’s care.  

Irrevocable Trusts

In order to protect assets, the Asset Protection Trust must be irrevocable. This means that the living trust cannot be revoked, amended or terminated by you alone, but can be with the consent of the trust beneficiaries.

An irrevocable trust set up for asset protection purposes can hold almost any type of asset, including your home, bank accounts, and investments. You cannot have access to the principal of the trust, but you can retain the right to receive the income (dividends and interest). After five years have passed, the assets held in the trust are protected with respect to Medicaid. You would not have to spend down those assets on the cost of care, and instead the assets are protected and will be inherited by your beneficiaries.

Homestead and Other Statutory Exemptions

There are special rules for transferring and protecting a home. Title to the home may be transferred to certain qualified individuals without incurring a Medicaid penalty period, including:

  • Spouse;
  • Minor Child;
  • Disabled or blind child (of any age)

A Caretaker Child defined as a child who has resided with his/her parent in the homestead for at least two years prior to their parent’s admission to a nursing home and the Sibling of the Medicaid applicant who has resided in the home for at least one year prior to institutionalization and who has an equity interest in the home can also be considered qualified.

Contact Our Trusted New York Asset Protection Attorneys

Cona Elder law is the recognized leader in the field of Asset Protection Trusts, Medicaid Eligibility, Elder Law and Estate Planning. Our award-winning firm has been continually ranked the #1 Elder Law firm on Long Island.

Asset Protection Planning is complicated and complex, with many different types of trusts, special exemptions and key strategies. In this highly specialized area of law, it is imperative that you work with the experienced and knowledgeable Asset Protection attorneys at Cona Elder Law to be sure your assets are preserved and your loved ones protected. Our customized trusts, asset protection and elder law plans have made us the go-to Long Island estate planning law firm for well over 20 years

 Contact us at 631.619.2533 to learn more.

NY Asset Protection FAQs

What Assets Can be Protected for Older Adults in New York?

Almost any type of asset can be protected in an Asset Protection Trust. This includes:

● Bank accounts

● Stocks

● Bonds

● Mutual Funds

● Real estate, including title to your home, apartment, condo, vacation property

● Brokerage accounts

Each of these assets can be re-titled and transferred into an irrevocable living Asset Protection Trust.

How Can I Protect My Elderly Parents' Assets?

The best way to protect your parents’ assets is by preparing a comprehensive Asset Protection Plan as soon as possible. No one knows when a health care crisis may occur so early preparation is imperative. Key elements include preparing a Power of Attorney along with an irrevocable Asset Protection Trust, both of which are part of a comprehensive Estate and Elder Law plan. Because these conversations can be awkward and difficult, they are often most productive with a neutral third party, i.e. the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Cona Elder Law.

When is the Best Time to Start Asset Protection Planning?

The best time to start asset protection planning is well in advance of a health care crisis. In order to protect assets from being spent down on the costs of long term care, including nursing home care, home care and assisted living, Medicaid planning and asset protection planning must begin at least 5 years in advance. Because no one knows when a health care crisis may occur, the best strategy is early planning. Many people choose to protect assets by establishing as Asset Protection Trust as part of a comprehensive estate and elder law plan when they are considering retirement.

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