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Michael E. Benoist Jr.

Michael E. Benoist Jr. Attorney at Law

Michael E. Benoist Jr.

Michael E. Benoist Jr. Attorney at Law

Michael E. Benoist Jr.

Michael E. Benoist Jr. Attorney at Law

St. Louis area attorney specializing in elder care law and estate planning. My practice's primary elder care focus is on asset protection against nursing home/skilled care costs and the qualification for long term care coverage, Medicaid, now known as the Missouri HealthNet program, while preserving assets to pass to heirs. I help clients in both the pre-need and crisis stages; that is, both healthy clients looking to pre-plan and clients in an immediate or near-immediate need for skilled care. I work with clients, and frequently, adult children of elderly clients, to make Medicaid applicants' countable assets into exempt assets, to the extent allowed by law, while navigating the complex framework of penalties and lookback periods. Particular focus is on protecting the client's home from Medicaid liens. Depending on a client's situation, marital status, and how early planning is started, it is possible to protect anywhere from 50% to as high as 90% or higher client assets from Medicaid and skilled care costs.

My practice also works with qualifying veterans for benefits available from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, particularly the Aid and Attendance benefit, also known as the Improved Pension. This benefit can provide up to $27,000 per year to veterans or surviving spouses to pay for in-home medical care, and allows for the veteran to pay children or grandchildren to provide the care, which allows clients to stay at home longer and keep money in the family. The VA does have several requirements and conditions to obtain this benefit, and recently enacted both a three year lookback period and a penalty, both of which I work to avoid or minimize with proper planning. With extra planning, clients and pre-plan for both Medicaid and veterans benefits.

My practice also focuses on general estate planning, emphasizing non-probate transfers and asset management both during periods of incapacity and after passing, for clients who wish to place conditions on inheritance.

Specialties: Wills, trusts (living trusts and irrevocable trusts--both grantor and non-grantor), beneficiary deeds, durable powers of attorney for health care, health care directives, Medicaid-compliant trusts, VA-compliant trusts,, probate avoidance, LLC establishment and operating agreements.

Firm Description

Michael Benoist's practice focuses on estate planning and elder law in the St. Louis and St. Charles areas.

He works with clients consulting and drafing wills, living trusts, asset protection and irrevocable trusts, and powers of attorney documents, both for health care decisionmaking and financial decisionmaking. 

He also works with clients and their families regarding planning for long term care needs, particularly helping clients pre-plan and pre-qualify for Medicaid, now known as the Missouri HealthNet program.  This includes clients looking to pre-plan with several years expected before needing care as well as clients in a crisis situation, who are looking at the need for skilled care within a short period of time or even immediately, including clients already in a skilled care facility.  Clients at all stages of the elder law journey can discuss how to protect as much of their assets as is permitted and will receive advice in navigating the process of Medicaid compliance as time goes on, including the Medicaid application itself, relieving the client and client's family of the additional burden of filing forms and corresponding with the state.  Depending on the client's situation, large portions of assets can be protected from long term care costs, as well as preventing or minimzing penalty periods, to the extent possible.  For married clients, work can start on the spouse needing immediate care while, at the same time, start the planning for the healthy spouse for his or her care later on.  

Clients who are veterans can also be advised about the possibility of veterans benefits, including the Aid and Attendance program, which helps clients with in-home care, among other things, and helps keep clients at home and frequently keeps money in the family.  

Because many such clients are unable to leave their homes, he will make appointments to visit clients in their homes, saving them the trouble of travelling.  

He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Missouri National Academy of Elder Law attorneys, and is accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare veterans benefits claims.  

Hours

Day From To
Monday By Appointment Only
Tuesday By Appointment Only
Wednesday By Appointment Only
Thursday By Appointment Only
Friday By Appointment Only

Cost

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?

Main Office

PO Box 14
Florissant, MO 63034


Medicaid 101
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

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How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

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Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

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What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

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Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

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Medicaid Planning Strategies

Careful planning for potentially devastating long-term care costs can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children.

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Estate Recovery: Can Medicaid Take My House After I’m Gone?

If steps aren't taken to protect the Medicaid recipient's house from the state’s attempts to recover benefits paid, the house may need to be sold.

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Help Qualifying and Paying for Medicaid, Or Avoiding Nursing Home Care

There are ways to handle excess income or assets and still qualify for Medicaid long-term care, and programs that deliver care at home rather than in a nursing home.

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Are Adult Children Responsible for Their Parents’ Care?

Most states have laws on the books making adult children responsible if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves.

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Applying for Medicaid

Applying for Medicaid is a highly technical and complex process, and bad advice can actually make it more difficult to qualify for benefits.

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Alternatives to Medicaid

Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited. For those who can afford it and who can qualify for coverage, long-term care insurance is the best alternative to Medicaid.

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ElderLaw 101
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

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Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

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Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

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Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

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Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

READ MORE
Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

READ MORE
Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

READ MORE
Long-Term Care Insurance

Understand the ins and outs of insurance to cover the high cost of nursing home care, including when to buy it, how much to buy, and which spouse should get the coverage.

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Medicare

Learn who qualifies for Medicare, what the program covers, all about Medicare Advantage, and how to supplement Medicare’s coverage.

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Retirement Planning

We explain the five phases of retirement planning, the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, types of investments, asset diversification, the required minimum distribution rules, and more.

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Senior Living

Find out how to choose a nursing home or assisted living facility, when to fight a discharge, the rights of nursing home residents, all about reverse mortgages, and more.

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Social Security

Get a solid grounding in Social Security, including who is eligible, how to apply, spousal benefits, the taxation of benefits, how work affects payments, and SSDI and SSI.

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Special Needs Planning

Learn how a special needs trust can preserve assets for a person with disabilities without jeopardizing Medicaid and SSI, and how to plan for when caregivers are gone.

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Veterans Benefits

Explore benefits for older veterans, including the VA’s disability pension benefit, aid and attendance, and long-term care coverage for veterans and surviving spouses.

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