Littman Krooks, LLP

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Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Guardianship

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New York Elder Law Lawyer

Seniors have unique legal needs that are best served by an attorney with extensive knowledge and experience in the field of elder law. Elder law encompasses a range of issues of importance to seniors, including estate planning, Medicaid planning, guardianship, and estate administration and litigation. Our elder law attorneys can assist you with any of these elder law matters.

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Medicaid Planning

Financial planning for seniors is complicated by the potential need for long-term care. The need for a nursing home stay is unpredictable, and if the need does arise, care is expensive.

Medicare does not cover long-term stays in nursing facilities. Some families have the resources to pay for nursing home costs out of pocket, and others invest in long-term care insurance. However, 6 in 10 nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a need-based program, which means that certain income and resource limits must be met in order to be eligible. This often means that families must spend down their own resources on nursing home costs before finally qualifying for Medicaid.

However, it is possible to be eligible for the program and still preserve your family's assets. This is where Medicaid planning comes in.

Simply transferring resources to family members and then applying for Medicaid will not be successful. The program has a "look-back" period of five years before the application date, and transferring assets for less than market value during that period will result in a period of ineligibility.

Medicaid's financial regulations are complicated, and Littman Krooks has decades of experience in helping families navigate the process involved in Medicaid planning. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your needs and share our strategies to safeguard your family's wealth.

Medicaid Considerations and Long-term Care

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 1 in 3 people turning 65 will need care at a skilled nursing facility at some point in their lives. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the median cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home in New York State was $131,853 in 2016 and is expected to increase 3% over the next five years.

  • Medicare does not cover long-term stays in nursing facilities.
  • Approximately 1 in 3 people turning 65 will need care at a skilled nursing facility at some point in their lives.
  • Six in 10 nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid.
  • It is important to plan ahead and transfer needed assets early to avoid the five year "look-back" period.

  • Medicare does not cover long-term stays in nursing facilities.
  • Approximately 1 in 3 people turning 65 will need care at a skilled nursing facility at some point in their lives.
  • Six in 10 nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid.
  • It is important to plan ahead and transfer needed assets early to avoid the five year "look-back" period.

Asset Protection

When it comes to long-term care, planning ahead can make the difference in preserving significant assets for your family while qualifying for the Medicaid benefits that most families rely on for nursing home care.

We help you take stock of critical factors such as your health, your finances and your objectives. Typical concerns for families are how to balance their plans for retirement and leaving a legacy for their heirs with the potential need for long-term care.

Careful advance planning can help you avoid the Medicaid "look-back" period for transfer of assets to family members. We will consider strategies such as spousal refusal, disinheritance, or a gift-back program as we design an asset protection strategy that is tailored to your family's needs.

Littman Krooks can craft asset protection strategies to meet your family's unique needs.

New York Asset Protection Lawyer

Estate Planning

Planning your estate is a natural extension of the financial planning you engage in to build and protect your family's wealth. Far too many people fail to put a proper estate plan in place.

A good estate plan starts with your will, which dictates how your assets will be distributed. This requires careful consideration, particularly when there are children from a prior marriage. Even if you believe that the division of your assets will be relatively straightforward, you must consider factors such as accounts with designated beneficiaries, which do not pass through probate, and the fair market value of assets such as real estate.

An estate plan may also include trusts for a variety of purposes. You may want a revocable living trust to allow a trusted person to begin managing your affairs during your lifetime and distribute your major assets to your beneficiaries after your death without the need to go through probate. Trusts can also protect assets for young people or family members with disabilities.

When you consult with our estate planning attorneys, we will take the time to learn about your wishes and needs, and we will bring a wealth of experience to bear in crafting an estate plan that helps you avoid conflict, provide for your heirs, and minimize estate taxes.

New York Estate Planning Considerations

Dying without a will means that state law will determine how your resources are divided among family members, which may not be what you would have chosen. The lack of an effective estate plan can lead to disputes among your heirs, causing your family unnecessary strife and expense.

  • If you die without a will, state law will determine how to distribute your assets according to a formula, which may not represent your wishes.
  • Dividing assets requires the consideration of many factors and is not necessarily a straightforward process.
  • You may want to consider using trusts for your estate planning to protect both your wishes and your assets for beneficiaries.

Estate Administration and Probate

It is highly recommend for an estate executor to seek legal counsel. An executor who fails to properly manage the estate and causes financial harm to beneficiaries can face litigation.


If you have been named the executor of an estate, you need to be fully aware of your responsibilities. You must ensure that certain steps are taken, and you have a legal obligation to manage the estate in the interests of the beneficiaries.

In New York State, estates are handled by the Surrogate's Court of the county in which the deceased person had their primary residence. Someone, usually the executor, must ask the court to approve the will. Interested parties are given proper notice, and if the will is approved, the court will issue letters testamentary so that the executor can begin paying the estate's debts and distributing the assets in accordance with the will.

Estates involving trusts, significant real estate, or different types of investments can all involve complications, and the attorneys of Littman Krooks can guide you to solutions.


When a senior loved one is unable to make decisions in their own best interest, guardianship may be necessary. However, it is important to seek legal counsel, because less restrictive solutions may be available, especially if you take the time to plan ahead.

Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss alternatives such as caregiving, trusts, powers of attorney, advance health care directives or health care proxies, and representative payees. We can help you determine the best solution for your needs.

If a loved one becomes incapacitated without any other arrangement in place, then guardianship may be necessary. Three types of guardians exist and must be appointed by the court: guardian of the person, to make decisions about matters such as health care and welfare; guardian of property, to handle the ward's financial affairs; or guardian of the person and property.

Call An Elder Law Planning Attorney Today:
(914) 684-2100

Knowledge and Experience

Littman Krooks LLP combines extensive legal knowledge and expertise with individual attention to your needs. Over 25 years, we have brought astute, honest counsel and strong, thorough representation to every one of our clients.

What Our Clients Say About Us

five-stars-orange (3)

Bernie Krooks is among the leading Elder Law Attorneys in the country and I have seen how he serves his clients with professionalism, unsurpassed knowledge and true empathy. As an attorney, I have worked with Bernie on a number of cases. I have seen first hand how he exceeds client expectations. Very impressive.

- S.M. March 4, 2017

I highly recommend Litman Krooks for special education needs and advocacy. Marion Walsh and Sandi Rosenbaum were able to help us secure the educational services that our child needed, and they did it with extremely little time to prepare. We were very impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to take our case with just a few days notice.

- S.M-C. February 21, 2018

Amy O'Hara, Esq, and her support team were first rate in addressing our estate planning needs. They are experts in the field, skilled and quite professional. They were very helpful to us.

- T.B. January 8, 2018

The professionals at Littman Krooks are top notch, smart, attentive, and effective. Our case against the school district for our daughter was resolved in a positive outcome within weeks. I would highly recommend Marion Walsh for all of your most complicated situations. She has great experience and knows the law!!!!

- T.N. March 2, 2018

Our family relied on the calm caring expertise of the Littman Krooks staff and attorneys to guide us through a difficult time. I have recommend the firm wholeheartedly to other families and will definitely use them again should the need arise.

- P.F. February 4, 2019

Bernard A. Krooks
J.D., CPA, LLM (in taxation), CELA®, AEP® (Distinguished), Founding Partner
Bernie is a founding partner of Littman Krooks and Chair of its Elder Law and Special Needs Department. He is a nationally-recognized expert in all aspects of elder law and special needs planning.
Amy C. O'Hara
Amy focuses her practice on special needs planning, trusts and estates, personal injury settlement consulting, and elder law.

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(914) 684-2100

Littman Krooks LLP

New York City Office
655 Third Avenue,
20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone
(212) 490-2990 Fax


Westchester County
800 Westchester Ave
Suite S-436
Rye Brook, NY 10573
(914) 684-2100 Phone
(914) 684-9865 Fax



This article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. If you need legal advice concerning this or any other topic please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at 914-684-2100 or 212-490-2020.