Jason E Neufeld
Attorney Highlight of the Month - November 2020
We help seniors protect their assets and independence, so they can maximize the quality of their life, access long-term care resources, and eventually pass what they have to who they want, how they want, and when they want.
On the Estate Planning side: we allow our clients to make empowering decisions about what will happen to them when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves and to make sure that their children and grandchildren are taken care of in the precise way our client’s intend.
On the Medicaid Planning side: the truth is that long-term care costs are the greatest threat to most people’s finances. These costs burn through savings. When I’m able to explain how we can slow or stop the financial bleeding and get them assistance paying for home-health care, ALF care or nursing home care – our clients’ sense of relief is palpable. We are absolutely able to increase the quality of our clients’ lives (by giving them access to resources they didn’t know they could access) and then make it more likely that they will have something to pass onto their heirs.
My father is a lawyer and my role model. I grew up learning the importance of service and to treat clients with patience and dedication – because they have real worries and serious problems. Clients place an incredible amount of trust in you to be their solution. That trust is sacred and should be treated as such.
Although nearly 100% of my practice is now Elder Law focused, I have a personal injury background (in addition to my elder law firm: Elder Needs Law, PLLC, I am still affiliated with Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal injury litigation law firm).
This has influenced my elder law practice in several ways:
- When DCF/Medicaid does something that is not in my client’s best interests, I am very comfortable negotiating with the government, and when needed, vigorously advocating on my client’s behalf.
- In dealing with catastrophic injured clients, especially Traumatic Brain Injury or Spinal Cord injury, I learned to be sympathetic and patient. The loss of one’s independence is, itself, a traumatic experience that requires compassion. Similarly, loss of economic security (lost wages in a personal injury context; or huge long-term care expenses in an elder law context) both require decisive action and advocacy.
For the last 10 years, I have made my birthday into a day of service. Instead of taking me out to dinner or drinks, I ask my family and friends to join me in supporting a non-profit organization in the Miami-Dade or Broward county area - both financially (lots of individual small donations) and a service project. We have supported a range of organizations from Broward Partnership for the Homeless, ARC Broward, Special Olympics, Jewish Community Service Kosher Food Bank in North Miami, Salvation Army, March of Dimes and others.
This year, I’m especially proud to support my friend David Ogman, who created the Jordan Avi Ogman Foundation. Jordan is five years old and was born with a rare neurodegenerative disease known as TECPR2. The Ogman family has moved mountains to bring awareness to this disease including a partnership with the University of Florida. Research into TECPR2 can allow scientists to better understand other more well-known neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.
My Medicaid Planning clients usually come to me in one of two scenarios:
- Healthy and Interested in Medicaid Pre-Planning. These clients are usually in their 60s or 70s, and living fully independent lives. More often than not, they watched a relative decline as a result of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and saw (or even contributed to) the immense cost of paying for long-term care - so they want to plan ahead. For these clients, we are able to protect nearly 100% of their assets using an Irrevocable Five Year Trust. Essentially, any asset placed into this trust become invisible to the government if care is not needed within five years. This can be an incredible powerful Medicaid planning, estate planning and asset protection tool.
- Crisis Medicaid Planning. Crises Planning makes up the bulk of my cases. These are clients who need long-term care now and cannot wait five years. Usually there has been a sudden event: heart attack, stroke, slip and fall which landed them in a hospital and then rehab facility. Whether they are going to be discharged home, to an ALF or to a skilled nursing facility, my clients and their families are shocked at the exorbitant price of long-term care, which easily gets into the six figures per year. We have a number of legal and ethical strategies to quickly get assets out of my client’s name in a way that does not trigger the lookback period (no gifting). Depending on the circumstances, we can usually protect 70%-90% of our client’s assets through Medicaid Planning.