At Genesis, our Everett-based elder law attorneys assist seniors with the benefits and challenges of their golden years, as well helping younger clients prepare for senior citizenship and life succession. We do so with compassion, as do most lawyers in this growing area of the law. What sets our firm apart is the quality of our attorneys and our affordability. Our lawyers enjoy legal backgrounds most competitors yearn for, yet cost-saving technologies allow us to charge what may be the lowest hourly rates of any multi-attorney firm in our vicinity. We encourage you to call us at our toll-free number, 866-631-0028. Or visit us at our headquarters located in Everett’s city center, within easy walking distance of the Snohomish County court complex.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some specific types of legal matters that comprise elder law? In its most basic form, elder law includes simple estate planning, such as drafting a will. But elder law often involves much more, such as government medical benefit entitlement and planning (Medicare and Medicaid), medical insurance coverage and eligibility, long-term care planning and provision, gift and estate taxation, delegation of decision-making authority (powers of attorney and guardianship), elder abuse, life insurance, business succession planning, family LLCs, senior housing assistance, social security entitlement, trusts, health care directives to doctors and family members, and probate.
What is the difference between Apple Health and Medicaid? Apple Health is Washington State’s term for its Medicaid program. They mean the same thing in Washington.
Do you help clients apply for government benefits or do you just offer advice and planning? We do both if the client would like. Sometimes clients or their family members are willing to apply for benefits themselves to keep legal expenses down, in which case we often provide advice only.
How much do your elder law services cost? Usually we speak on the phone with the potential client for 5-15 minutes for free as part of our standard intake process. Once we begin charging, our normal hourly rate is $190 per hour (as of 2016 and adjusted periodically for inflation). We also sometimes offer flat fees for projects that involve a high degree of predictability.
I’m not sure if I need to establish a trust, and I hear it depends upon whether my estate is below the estate tax threshold. What is the current estate tax threshold? Beginning in 2014, the federal government set its combined gift and estate tax threshold (or exemption) at $5.25 million, as adjusted annually for basic inflation. As the name implies, this threshold includes gifts in addition to estate tax. That is, qualifying lifetime gifts (large gifts made during a decedent’s lifetime) are added to the value of the estate when determining whether federal estate tax applies.
In 2006 Washington State set its estate tax exemption at $2 million, as adjusted annually for inflation.
I have an aging parent who would benefit from elder law services. Can I bring them in? Yes, you can bring your parent to our office for elder law services if he or she is in agreement and wants your help in locating legal counsel and/or help with transportation. As a safeguard against the possibility of coercion and undue influence, we would need to clarify which of you is the client – the client is usually your parent, not you. Moreover, you should expect that your parent and the attorney will conduct one or more discussions without you in the room.
Notably, you do not always need your parent’s agreement to initiate a guardianship for him or her, and in that instance, you would probably be the client, not your parent.