Elder Law

Elder Law Attorneys Serving the Kansas City Area

We are devoted to legal issues commonly experienced by senior citizens.

"Elder Law" began just a couple decades ago being recognized as a new specialty area of law.

The practice of elder law is devoted to legal issues commonly experienced by senior citizens. Such issues include, but are not limited to, incapacity planning, death planning, and further protecting assets by qualification for certain long-term care benefits. Such long-term care benefits include Medicaid and VA for payment of in-home, assisted living, and nursing home costs.

Elder law assistance

Medical Care

One big concern for seniors is planning for final health and medical care. It's not limited to seniors, but this would involve execution of an advanced directive, including a durable power of attorney for health care and/or a Living Will. Properly done, the power of attorney is a legal document allowing an elderly person to appoint a trusted third party to make major healthcare decisions in case of later mental incapacity. A living will is the way for a person to direct the termination of life support should they find themselves in a persistent vegetative state often associated with a terminal illness, permanent unconsciousness, or brain death. These instruments give the senior advance control over their final medical and life-prolonging situations. Without such directives implemented in advance of incapacity, health related decisions will require a guardian be appointed.

Financial Decisions

What is a General Durable Power of Attorney?

A General Durable Power of Attorney (or sometimes referred to as a financial power of attorney) similarly grants a trusted person authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the senior. Basically, this is for required decisions and authority as to any matter not related to the body itself. Without a general durable power of attorney, a conservator will be appointed to manage property. The appointment of a guardian and a conservator is accomplished by a judicial proceeding.

Family together

Nursing Homes

Older persons should also prepare for the possibility of living in a nursing home. These stays can be for convalescence or rehabilitation from surgery or illness or to receive long-term custodial care. These are very expensive propositions that can be eliminated or mitigated with advance planning. Monthly costs for nursing homes in our area range from $5,500 in cost to $8,000 a month. Even if the senior can make such payments there are many reasons why they may prefer to utilize federal government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA for support.

Medicare

Medicare vs. Medicaid

Medicare provides for the acute health care of older and disabled citizens. Medicare is more available than Medicaid, but it generally provides less coverage. Medicare covers nursing-home care for only a short period of time such as for rehabilitation. There are limits to the time available for rehabilitation based on one's progress and the type of insurance they have. Medicare Advantage plans offer far less rehabilitation than traditional Medicare with a supplement. Medicaid provides extended nursing-home care. Many families believe Medicaid requires the recipient to be impoverished to qualify, however this is not true. The law provides many avenues to protect families' income and assets.

Elderly couple taking a walk through the park.

There are a number of private elder law organizations as well as state bar associations who have formed elder law sections. These sections consist of attorneys who keep abreast of changes in the law affecting them as a group.

How It Works

STEP 1

The first appointment can be scheduled quickly if the situation requires such. This is usually only a day or two. At the appointment, you will talk with an attorney who collects information and discusses your goals for a Missouri or Kansas Medicaid Lawyer. The attorney will provide options for your specific case and answer questions to help you make decisions.

STEP 2

After 2 to 3 weeks, you will again meet with the attorney to review and likely sign your estate planning documents.

STEP 3

In 2 to 3 weeks, you’ll have what is likely your last face-to-face appointment to receive the original and copies of your documents and begin retitling your possessions and beneficiaries, depending on whether you opted for a Will or a Trust.

STEP 4

Unless a major event occurs in your life, requiring changes for your documents, the attorney will contact you in approximately three (3) years for a brief review to ensure your current estate plan remains relevant to any changes that may have occurred.

Education

attorney at Paths Law elder law

About

About Paths Law Firm in Kansas City

Our legal experts have more than 25 years experience as Missouri Medicaid Lawyers focusing solely on issues common to seniors and their families. This commonly includes planning for the inevitable with Wills and Trusts or planning for the unforeseen with Powers of Attorney, Guardianships, and Medicaid or VA benefits.

Our caring staff listens to your situation and concerns, then calmly and expeditiously explain your options with a timeline for completion. Our goal is to provide each client with security in legally planning for the inevitable and unforeseen regarding their passing and long-term care needs.

Happy People

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Educational Seminar

It's Never Too Late To Plan!

Paths Law Firm provides Free Educational Elder Law Seminars to help you plan for your future.

Educational Seminar at Paths Law Firm

Paths Law Firm provides a Free Educational Elder Law Seminar every month to help you plan for your future.

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