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How to Navigate Estate Planning, Elder Law, Medicaid With Ronald Fatoullah

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: June 20, 2024
The event, which was hosted by Nancy Rojas (left standing), Vice President of Flushing House on June 15, 2024, saw Fatoullah (right standing) address the complex legal and financial challenges associated with aging. (Image: Mary Lee/Vision Times)

FLUSHING, New York — On June 15, a packed audience gathered at Flushing House to attend a seminar featuring Ronald Fatoullah, a leading elder law attorney. During the event, attendees were treated to an in-depth discussion on topics that included estate planning, trust agreements, Medicaid changes for 2024, and the importance of health care proxies.

The event, which was hosted by Nancy Rojas, Vice President of Flushing House, saw Fatoullah address the complex legal and financial challenges associated with aging. Mr. Fatoullah and his elder law legal team recently joined the firm of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, — a leading law firm based in Mineola, New York.

Fatoullah serves as the chair of the Elder Law Practice Group of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP., and is also a Partner of the Trusts and Estates Practice Group. With over 30 years of experience, Fatoullah and his team offer comprehensive planning resources designed to meet the unique needs of families, ensuring that their futures are secure and well-planned.

During the event, attendees were treated to an in-depth discussion on topics that included estate planning, trust agreements, Medicaid changes for 2024, and the importance of health care proxies. (Image: Mary Lee/Vision Times)

At Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP., the core values of honesty, integrity, and excellence are paramount. The firm’s dedication to these principles is evident in its meticulous approach to client representation. The team is renowned for their attention to detail and personalized care, ensuring that no aspect of a client’s situation is left unexamined. 

This comprehensive service model has earned the firm a reputation for excellence among families and legal professionals alike.

On estate planning

“A will sets forth where your assets go when you pass away,” said Fatoullah. “Now, you might say, why do I need a will because I have beneficiary designations on my accounts. The answer is the beneficiary designation takes precedence. So, if you want to ensure equal distribution or address specific needs, a trust might be necessary to complement your will.”

Fatoullah also advocates for the use of trusts in conjunction with wills to streamline the probate process and protect assets. Trusts can help avoid the lengthy probate process, allowing for quicker and more efficient asset distribution. Specialized trusts, such as irrevocable trusts, are also utilized to provide additional protections and benefits, including Medicaid planning.

On Power of Attorneys

He also highlighted the importance of a power of attorney, particularly for those over the age of 55. A power of attorney allows a trusted individual to manage finances in the event of incapacity. 

“A power of attorney is essential, especially if you’re over 55,” said Fatoullah. “As you age, there is a greater chance of becoming incapacitated. You need someone you trust implicitly to manage your finances. We recommend an elder care power of attorney with provisions for Medicaid planning, estate planning, and other crucial financial decisions.”

The firm also recommends health care proxies, which designate someone to make health care decisions on behalf of the client. Fatoullah explained that these documents ensure that medical and financial decisions align with the client’s wishes, even when they are unable to communicate them personally.

“A health care proxy is where you appoint someone else to make your health care decisions. It ensures that medical decisions align with your wishes, even when you cannot make them yourself,” said Fatoullah, adding, “You need to choose someone you trust, just as you would with a power of attorney.”

Navigating Medicaid changes

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, staying informed about changes to Medicaid is essential, noted Fatoullah. 

“Medicaid is undergoing significant changes in 2024, and it’s important to understand how these updates might affect your planning,” said Fatoullah. “We stay informed about these changes to ensure our clients can maximize their benefits and incorporate these considerations into their broader estate and elder law planning.”

With a team that is well-versed on Medicaid, Fatoullah’ s practice group can provide guidance on how to navigate changes, while ensuring one is able to maximize their Medicaid benefits and incorporate them into broader estate and elder law planning.

The event also addressed the potential pitfalls of inadequate planning. “We had a client whose assets went to a distant relative they hadn’t spoken to in 20 years because they didn’t have a will,” said Fatoullah. “Without proper documents, the state decides where your assets go, which may not align with your wishes.”

Organizer: Flushing House
Add: 3820 Bowne St, Flushing, NY 11354
Tel: (718) 762-3198

With reporting by Mary Lee.