Anyone can file for Medicaid and receive benefits from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Part of what makes it so helpful is how accessible it can be. There are some who even dedicate their careers to helping others plan for Medicaid! But were you aware that non-attorneys cannot give legal advice for Medicaid planning?
Only licensed attorneys are able to give you legal advice to protect your assets and prepare your Medicaid planning appropriately!
As of January 30th, 2015, it is illegal to give legal advice for Medicaid Planning while not being a licensed practicing attorney. Giving such advice is considered Unlicensed Practice of Law and may result in a Third-Degree Felony! So what does UPL mean, and what constitutes UPL in the first place?
Unlicensed practice of law refers to the act of providing legal services or advice without being licensed as an attorney. Each jurisdiction has its own laws and regulations regarding who may practice law. Individuals must meet certain educational and professional requirements, such as passing the bar exam and being admitted to the bar association to practice law. Some examples of what a non-licensed Medicaid planning agent cannot do include:
- recommend or prepare a Personal Service Contract
- recommend or prepare a Qualified Income Trust (QIT)
- sell Personal Service Contracts or QITs as they pertain to Medicaid planning
- give legal advice regarding the reallocation or spending of assets for Medicaid
That is not to say that non-attorney agents cannot help in any way…
Navigating the DCF website and submitting an application for Medicaid, while possible for any person, can be difficult on your own and these agents can assist with submitting applications. Ultimately, though, the only way to ensure that you are properly conducting your Medicaid planning and submission is by hiring a board-certified and experienced elder law attorney to help you through the process!
The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.