Advising Maine Elders and Individuals with Special Needs
We represent seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families and fiduciaries, and we provide compassionate and efficient legal services to address some of life’s most important matters. We recognize that each individual is unique, and the legal solutions to any challenge start with recognizing and honoring personal goals and objectives.
Skelton Law Office merges with Rudman Winchell and is now known as Maine Elder Law Firm
As of January 1, 2014 Jane Skelton and the Skelton Law Office has merged with Rudman Winchell Counselors at Law.
The firm is now officially known as The Maine Elder Law Firm, a practice of Rudman Winchell.
We are still conveniently located at 33 Mildred Avenue in Bangor.
Attorney Jane Skelton and her team continue to focus on providing legal services with quality and compassion to elders and their families and to individuals with disabilities and their families.
We love what we do, and we are honored to be trusted with these matters.
Welcoming Rachel Trafton
Maine Elder Law welcomes attorney Rachel Trafton to the firm. Click here to read her bio.
Areas of Practice
Our clients may seek advice on how to protect their real estate, their investments, and their personal savings from various liabilities, including income tax, estate tax, and tax on capital gains, long term care expenses, and the “creditors and predators” of an anticipated inheritance for a child or grandchild. Where appropriate, we call on other professionals, including accountants, financial advisors, and long term care insurance specialists. We also advise clients on the risks of lifetime transfers and the benefits of various types of trusts to accomplish their objectives.
Our estate planning attorneys advise individuals and couples on how to manage and protect their assets during lifetime and how to transfer assets after death in ways that accomplish personal objectives. A complete estate plan typically includes a will and possibly a trust as well as financial powers of attorney and advance health care directives. The estate plan might include planning for a loved one with disabilities through a third party supplemental/special needs trust, planning for child or grandchild unable to manage an inheritance, or planning to minimize exposure to estate tax.
The firm represents parties in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings in Probate Courts across Maine. A guardian is responsible for the physical well-being and the residential, medical, and social needs of an incapacitated individual. A conservator manages the income, assets, and financial and business affairs of an individual who is unable or unwilling to do so. We also advise clients in advance on how to minimize the risk of court-ordered guardianships and conservatorships through planning in advance for the possibility of incapacity.
When an individual faces an immediate need for expensive long term care, our elder law attorneys consider many factors, including the individual’s income and assets, any medical and long term care insurance coverage, military service, family circumstances, and especially the individual’s objectives. Even after a health care crisis, there often are legitimate trategies available to protect an individual’s assets from long term care expenses, including costs of nursing homes, of residential care/assisted living facilities, and of nursing services in the home.
At the Maine Elder Law Firm, we advise personal and professional fiduciaries, including Trustees of revocable and irrevocable trusts, Personal Representatives of decedents’ estates, and Agents acting under powers of attorney and advance health care directives. These fiduciaries may need legal advice on inventorying assets, dealing with creditors and addressing Medicaid estate recovery claims, correctly distributing assets, interpreting legal documents, communicating with beneficiaries, addressing income and estate taxes, understanding their obligations and authorities, and more.
We are honored to guide clients with disabilities with their legal needs, either directly or through their legal representatives. This may include navigating the maze of public benefits, particularly to ensure access to means-tested public benefits including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) and access to the network of housing and caregiving services sometimes associated with those benefits. Special needs planning also includes maximizing resources, possibly by accessing affordable health insurance or protecting assets in a first or third party special needs trust.