Case Studies

MISSOURI ELDER LAW ATTORNEY

What our work really means for Missourians.

Common Case 01.

Mom is doing very well, mentally and physically, but dad is not doing well.

Dad’s condition is starting to take its toll on mom, and even though the nursing home shouldn’t happen for dad anytime soon, if something happens to mom and she’s not available, it becomes more likely dad will need the nursing home. It’s not likely we have 5 years to transfer assets and not be penalized by Medicaid, so what, if anything should they do now?

Recommendations

STEP 1

The first thing everyone should always do is be certain good, current durable powers of attorney have been executed and available.

STEP 2

The next step is to assure mom. If dad needs to go to a nursing home, all assets will not be lost paying for it. With proper planning, it is very likely we can help the family preserve all their assets and the worst case being dad’s income goes to pay the nursing home. We may even be able to properly plan at the time of application that not all dad’s income will go to the nursing home.

STEP 3

The next step should be transferring all assets to a living trust for mom. This is a good idea to protect your parents' assets from scammers or lawsuits by virtue of dad’s actions and abilities during this diminishing time of his life. It is also a good idea to protect the assets in case mom unexpectedly dies before dad. We would want to have a chance for dad to enter the nursing home without any assets in his name. There are many laws effecting this scenario, but the idea is to provide your family with multiple options.

Common Case 02.

Mom is doing very well, mentally and physically, but she is getting older.

There’s no real urgency, but no one is getting younger and we have done no planning before and now it’s time. What should we do?

Recommendations

STEP 1

We commonly say, the most important first step is to ensure mom has good, current durable powers of attorney available.

STEP 2

Next, the only guarantee is that each of us will someday die. Our goal here should be to implement a plan to provide the most options and flexibility. This is similar to purchasing insurance, i.e. guarding against the dreaded “what if this happens” scenario.

STEP 3

Mom has a couple of options to avoid probate. She may place beneficiary designations on each of her assets, or she may transfer title of all assets to what is commonly referred to as a “living trust.” This makes future planning and changes very easy and makes provision in case a child or other beneficiary dies first, becomes incapacitated, and doesn’t have a durable power of attorney for themselves, or has other problems such as divorce or being sued.

STEP 4

Finally, we can discuss with mom the idea of asset protection. If it is likely mom won’t need the nursing home within 5 years and doesn’t have any looming creditor problems, one option is to transfer certain assets to a type of trust that protects the assets from unscrupulous family members or scammers, potential creditors, such as from a car wreck, or her nursing home costs. This trust is not the typical “living trust” used for standard estate planning.

Common Case 03.

Mom is in the nursing home, now what?

Recommendations

STEP 1

There are numerous factors to consider in this scenario, but the first one is to determine whether mom has good, current durable powers of attorney. If she doesn’t, the next question is whether she has “testamentary capacity.” This means she knows her family by name and the relationships, she generally knows what she owns, and she very generally understands, as a layman would, what we’re talking about when discussing durable powers of attorney.

STEP 2

The next important step is to collect all mom’s financial information. This includes all current sources of income, bank statements, deeds to property, and statements or policies on all sources of insurance (including life insurance, home owner’s insurance, health insurance, etc.).

STEP 3

You should discuss other payment options with the social worker or billing department of the nursing home. Options available may depend on whether the nursing home is an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

STEP 4

Medicaid may pay up to $290 per month for a person at an ALF under the Supplemental Nursing Care program, if available. Medicaid may pay all costs at a SNF, or at least all except mom’s income. The Medicaid laws are intricate and extensive; therefore, many options may be available depending on the family and the assets involved.

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Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan Foley at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 2018 and passed the Missouri Bar that year. Prior to law school, Ryan attended the University of Missouri – Columbia where he attained a degree in Business. He is a Kansas City native, growing up in the Northland where he achieved his Eagle Scout rank by doing a project for his high school. During his time in law school, Ryan was introduced to the practice area of Elder Law by one of his professors and has been

Ryan enjoys working with and educating clients to provide advocacy and support during the unfamiliar and often overwhelming probate process. Ryan understands the challenges faced by individuals when faced by the uncertainty and complexity of government systems or even handling a Trust during a time of grief, and he strives to make the process as easy as possible.

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

administrative assistant at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

Makaylee is currently working on her bachelor’s in political science and hopes to soon start law school as an aspiring attorney. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family but most importantly her dogs Taffyta, Tallulah Belle, and Harry. Their favorite thing to do is go on coffee dates and get pup cups.

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

Kathleen Overton, attorney at Paths Law

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

After starting her career as a disability attorney, Kathleen transitioned into estate planning at a mid-sized regional law firm. Kathleen joined Paths Law Firm in 2021 when she decided to return to a boutique law firm that provides excellent service and quality to clients. Because of her background as a disability attorney, she brings a thorough understanding of public benefits to each client meeting. At Paths Law FIrm, Kathleen focuses on traditional estate planning and business entity formation, providing tailored advice unique to each client’s situation.

Public Benefits Assistant

Tena K. Dooley

Public Benefits Assistant

Amanda D. Martin

I have my Associates in Applied Science and have over 20 years of office management experience. I have two daughters and one grandson.

During my time away from the office I enjoy spending time with my family.  I enjoy almost everything outdoors and my hobbies include fishing and gardening.

PARALEGAL

Sydney R. Morris

Paths Law elder law in Kansas City

PARALEGAL

Sydney

Sydney is currently enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing an accounting degree and plans to later attend law school.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her nephews and volunteering at her local church.

 

CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER

Christy L. Phillips

client service manager at Paths Law

CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER

Christy L. Phillips

Phone: 816-640-8635
Email: [email protected]

Christy has 3 years of experience in Elder Law working for seniors and their families as a Benefits Coordinator processing Medicaid and VA applications. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years.

 

Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.

 

Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits

 

Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René

René has worked along side Rusty for 35 years. Not only is she part of the Paths team, she is also his wife. René spends her time working with the accountant to keep all of the finances in order, as well as general office management.

In addition to helping run the office, she helps manage the family and grandkids, tries to keep everyone fed, and has a passion to teach Bible Studies. Her former career in Event Planning trained her to juggle all the activity. She understands Rusty’s passion to serve people from the first mention of law school. It is a great pleasure for her to be an important part of every area of his life.

 

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary R. Tichota

Hillary at Paths Law

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary

Hilary plays a vital role in the daily operations of the office. In addition to her regular office duties, Hilary has a heart of gold.

For more than 5 years, Hilary has operated the front desk at Paths, running the office and catering to clients. Hilary recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She has a passion for people and a focus to share our business practices with the community’s seniors, businesses, and clients. She especially has a heart for seniors, showing they are loved through her visits, treats, the “Pen to Pal” program, and volunteering services at various senior living communities. She is a wonderful wife and mother of two. Most activities with seniors involve her great talent for any type of craft.

 

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer A. Bronson

Jennifer, senior paralegal

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer

Jennifer has been in the legal field for over 25 years and considers Paths her second home.

When she’s not running the office or working for our clients, she’s spending time with her first passion – her children.

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

attorney at Paths Law elder law

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

Phone: 816-640-8635

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings nearly 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was a practicing accountant. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty decided to put his focus on helping the elderly, vulnerable adults, and their families navigate challenging life, end of life, and death events.

Rusty understands the challenges faced by individuals whose capacity is declining and how upsetting the loss of a loved one can be. He understands he may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief from loss, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind. Rusty works directly with client’s long term care issues, including Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Special Needs Planning.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.

 

Practice Areas

 

  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education

 

BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City


Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri


Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate