As Baby Boomers move into their senior years, and families prepare for the road ahead, there’s too often a tragic disconnect between the planning they do and the planning they need. As an attorney who specializes in elder law, and a CPA with a master’s degree in taxation, Anthony B. Ferraro of Rosemont says that the best of intentions don’t necessarily add up to the most sound of strategies.
“We deal not only with what happens when you pass away, but what happens when you don’t,” says Ferraro, who has spent nearly four decades helping his clients prepare for all three phases of life: the maturing years, the senior years and after death.
In particular, Ferraro helps position his clients so they don’t go broke while they or their spouses are in nursing homes. “That’s what’s killing the middle class,” he insists. “Estate taxes and probate aren’t the big issue. It’s long-term care.”
Ferraro stresses that most people miss the crucial difference between Medicare and Medicaid. The names may sound the same, but they work in very different ways. The sweet spot of Ferraro’s practice is getting clients into a position where they can take advantage of all Medicaid has to offer.
“You’ve got to remember, Medicare is for acute care: hospitalization and surgery,” he says. “But the only remedy for custodial care — where there’s no surgery but you need constant supervision — is Medicaid. And it doesn’t come automatically to citizens at age 65, while Medicare does.”
So how does Ferraro put clients in a position where they’re secure and covered? “It’s like being financially eligible for a tax deduction,” he explains. “You have to plan for it, and that’s what we help you do. You also have to fill out applications, and set up specialized trusts and vehicles to qualify.”
For some, the best solution might be long-term care insurance, but that’s a path filled with pitfalls: “If every one of us went to get it, only one in 10 of us would qualify because of strict underwriting standards, pre-existing conditions, and the fact that it’s very expensive.”
And so Ferraro focuses on making sure that his clients prepare for life, which in today’s world usually means a long life in which technological advances keep people alive and in nursing homes far beyond anything they expected.
It takes patience, tenacity and skill to protect a client through every stage of this brave new world. But behind the expertise and determination is an affable man who gives abundant credit to his parents, natives of Rende, near Cosenza in Calabria, for making him the lawyer he is today. “I was born on Taylor Street and raised in Glenview,” Ferraro says. “I learned about tenacity from my dad, who was a custom tailor. And from my mother, who was an elementary school teacher, I got a lifelong love of learning.”
That in part explains why Ferraro is so dedicated to teaching his clients as they go. His website is a wellspring of books and videos on nursing home costs, veterans benefits, Alzheimer’s disease and other germane topics. He encourages anyone who has questions about elder law and estate planning to call his office for a free, 15-minute consultation.
“That’s how we start with everybody,” Ferraro says. “We try to find out right away if we can help, and identify what the issues are.”
The Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro
5600 N. River Road, Suite 764
Rosemont, IL 60018