The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC
Assisting Seniors, Helping Families




Q: What does an Elder Law Attorney do?

A: The list is long – everything from managing medical or financial affairs for loved ones who are not able to do it themselves to securing public benefits. We help clients prepare for incapacity with powers of attorney. We assist clients with qualifying for Medicaid by preparing Qualified Income Trusts, sometimes called “Miller Trusts.” We help our clients stay qualified for Medicaid after an inheritance, court judgment, or settlement. We work with you and your family to resolve real estate matters or find the best care possible for a senior who is ill and recovering away from home while we preserve the assets for the spouse at home. We help families prepare for the future for loved ones with disabilities with trust and other methods. We help individuals get their affairs in order and handled in the way they want after their death through wills, trusts and other solutions.

Q: Why do I need an Elder Law Attorney?

A: The legal needs of seniors are complex and constantly changing. When we focused the practice on the needs of elders, we made the commitment to serve that population and their caregivers as our sole area of legal work. The experience we have gained by concentrating on clients who are 50 and over is invaluable. We use that knowledge to anticipate your needs and help you plan accordingly.

Q: How do I know what I really need for planning?

A: We find all that out when we talk with you and, if you wish, your partner and caregivers. Once we talk about your issues and concerns, we will provide the checklists and paperwork you will need to complete to make your planning decisions known and recorded.

Q: Who needs to know my decisions?

A: The decision of who to tell within your family is completely up to you. We can work together without relatives present or include as many of your significant others as needed. Often our clients come in with their spouse or child or other caregiver to discuss their specific questions. Once we are given direction, we take the next step of preparing the documents you need. We are available for one-on-one conversations whenever you need to talk.

    Q: My father has just been diagnosed with dementia—Now what do I do?

    A: It’s important that you take your dad to see an elder law attorney as soon as possible. His legal documents need to be in place to be sure that taking care of his medical and financial matters doesn’t become an issue later on. Also, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be costly, so consulting with an elder law attorney to protect their assets and plan for Medicaid is advisable.

    Q: Does Carol make house calls?

    A: Yes, Carol is used to working with elderly and disabled clients and makes house calls.

    Q: Fees for service?

    A: We do not bill by the hour for most of our services. Instead, we offer a flat fee that covers what we do as part of the service you need. We will detail what that flat fee covers when we meet and listen to your needs. Services that are billed by the hour include guardianship matters and miscellaneous consultations. Please call (210) 892-4555 for information on our flat fee or hourly charges for services. For your convenience, we accept major credit cards.

    Q: What is an Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?

    A: If your breathing stops or if your heart stops beating, do you want Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)? If so, an Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (OOH DNR) is not for you. If you don’t want EMS to help you, then you need an OOH DNR. An OOH DNR is a medical order written by a doctor, which means your doctor must sign it.

    You can download the form here, and take it to your doctor for signature.


    Be Prepared

    What to bring to a Long-Term Care Consultation:

    • Bank account balances (saving and checking). If any accounts were closed within the last 5 years, we need to know what happened to the funds in the account when it was closed.
    • Amounts of any:
      o  Stocks
      o  Bonds
      o  Trusts
      o  Annuities
    • Value of any real estate currently owned or sold within the last 5 years.
    • Royalties from oil, gas, or mineral rights.
    • Kelly Blue Book or NADA value of vehicles.
    • Monthly amounts received from:
      o  Social Security
      o  Pension
      o  Veterans’ benefits
      o  Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      o  Other government benefits
    • Current value of Life Insurance policies

    What to bring to an Estate Plan:

    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of people they want to appoint to transact for them (ie, executor, power of attorney, etc.)
    • List of assets (bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, vehicles, life insurance).
    • If they have real estate outside of Bexar County, ask them to bring a copy of the deed with them. If they don’t have a copy, ask them to try to track one down. If they say they can’t, tell them we can try to look it up for them later.
    • If they want to leave money or property to someone who is receiving government benefits, find out what type of government benefits they are on (Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, etc.)



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