290 LINDEN OAKS, SUITE 200 ROCHESTER, NY 14625 TEL. (585) 203-1020

Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates, PC

Rochester NY Estate Planning Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions


Do you assist with business negotiations?

Certainly. Whether handling a contract dispute or drafting complex  contracts, leases, or licensing agreements, I have been there to provide  successful results for my clients.  I enjoy assisting family-owned  businesses (which often have a high level of dysfunction) in creating  plans for effective business transition.  I take a great deal of pride in  my creative solutions to difficult family issues. 

What is your process for handling Elder Care issues?

Providing the kind of effective and responsible legal service that you  deserve requires building and maintaining relationships with both you  and your other professional advisors.  We make a point of working  together on your behalf, because I believe that cooperation is the  cornerstone of a plan that works for everyone.  I also recognize that  your needs and family situation will change over time, so planning is an  ongoing process.  A good estate plan is not a one-time thing.  That is  why I offer you several options for ongoing updating of your estate  plan. 

What happens if my former spouse is still listed as my beneficiary on my life insurance or 401(k)?

It is important after a divorce to update your estate plans and  designated beneficiaries so that your assets are being passed according  to your wishes. However, if those changes are not made, New York law  says that ex spouses listed as beneficiaries will be treated as though  they have already passed away, so the assets pass to the next person in  line. 

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare is a federal program which is available to individuals who are  65 years of age and older, as well as certain disabled individuals.  Presently, Medicare provides health care for over 40 million elderly and  disabled Americans without any asset or income requirements. Medicare  does not provide coverage for custodial care, which is generally most of  the care a nursing home patient receives. Medicaid is a federal program  which provides medical care to the poor, to children, and to pregnant  women living under the federal poverty level. It is funded jointly by  the states and the federal government, and is currently administered at  the county level. 

What is the difference between an Executor and a Trustee?

An Executor is responsible for collecting your assets, paying your final  bills and seeing that the distribution of your assets as set forth in  your will is implemented. This plan may include a trust for minor  children and the Trustees’ job is to manage and invest the assets for  the benefit of your children. 

If we have not done any planning and my loved one is in the nursing home now, is it too late to save

No, we can still undertake lawful asset protection planning to save one half to all assets regardless of the 5-year look-back. 


Will I lose my house?

With proper planning your house can be protected.  Planning is still available even after a client enters a nursing home. 

Can I transfer my house to my children or other family members?

Transferring the house is a planning option based on each individual’s  circumstances.  For the vast majority of cases, the house or one half of  its equity can be protected after a client enters a skilled nursing  facility. 

Will my spouse be impoverished because I am required to spend down privately paying the nursing home

Typically, the spouse living in the community is allowed to keep between  $74,820 and $115,920 in total assets. However, if we undertake asset  protection planning, we can often avoid a spend down and protect  substantially all assets for the spouse. 

If I have a revocable living trust, are my assets protected from the nursing home spend down require

No.  A revocable trust does not protect assets from long-term care costs; you will still need asset protection planning.