Here’s the story of a fellow Long Islander, Christopher M. Petillo, who is an experienced elder law attorney:
Tell us why you chose elder care law?
(as told by Christopher M. Petillo, Esq, CPA, CELA – Elder Law Attorney)
Growing up, my grandparents lived under the same roof. Aging, and the challenges associated with aging in place, were real life problems that our family faced daily. My parents and grandparents were not aware of what benefits were out there that could have made that time easier for them.
Tell us about your practice:
I am Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (“CELA”) by the National Elder Law Foundation as accredited by the American Bar Association. Some of the areas I specialize in are:
- Elder Law
- Estate Planning
- Planning to Reduce/Avoid Estate & Gift Taxes
- Planning for a Family Member with Special Needs (to protect SSI and Medicaid benefits
- Planning to Avoid or Reduce Estate Taxes
- Trusts to Avoid Probate
- Irrevocable Trusts to protect assets for Medicaid purposes in the event that Long Term Care is needed
- Decision Making Documents (Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy Living Will (for end of life instructions)
- Medicaid Applications (Nursing Home, Home Care, certain assisted living programs)
What is one thing you are known for over your competitors?
I offer Zoom appointments, in-person meetings and even house calls.
I pride myself on being able to use analytical skills to help craft a plan that meets the needs of clients in an ever-changing world.
Taking the time to understand the facts and circumstances is very important – it can dramatically impact which planning tool works best for achieving the client’s goals.
I am also a CPA, so I am sensitive to tax issues that may arise in planning.
Has your business won any awards?
I was voted one of New York’s “SuperLawyers” in New York Super Lawyers — Metro Edition (Fall 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020).
What is the biggest “win” in your practice’s history?
I went to a charity golf outing (I do not golf often – if you look closely at the trophy in my office, it reads “Westbury Senior Citizen Outing – Highest Score” which, in golf, is not good lol)
At the meeting, a gentleman sat next to me and asked what I did for a living. I told him, and he said “my aunt in a nursing home right now.”
I asked, “Is she on Medicaid?”
“No – she is privately paying for it!”
“How much is that costing her?”
“$17,000 per month!”
“Does she have Long Term Care Insurance?”
“No – she sold her house and that $ is being eaten up every month. We were told there’s nothing we could do because of the 5 year rule.”
“Come to my office tomorrow.”
Long story short – we helped save half of his aunt’s nest egg so that $ was available for private duty nurses and any other expenses to make her life better, while giving her a chance to make a gift of a portion of her life savings, if she so intended.
What would you want potential clients to know about your practice that they may not know already?
I am not a “hard sell” – I share information with my clients at the consultation on what I believe will be best help. I give them a chance to absorb it all without sales pressure.
I may have had a similar experience to what you are facing today. My mother was in need of home care for 6 years before her care needs rose to the level of needing nursing home care for the last 2 years of her life. Long Island nursing homes like the one she was in can cost $17,000 per MONTH. I would like to help you plan in advance before such a care need arises. But, if a crisis is upon us, we can still make the best of the situation – it’s never too late to protect something. All is not lost, nor does it have to be.