MEET THE TEAM

Evergreen Elder Law

HOLLAND MCBURNS
Managing Partner

ALEX HOWIE
Attorney

DALTON LUKE
Paralegal

CHRISTY RISLEY
Firm Administrator

HEIDI BOEHL
Client Engagement Specialist

Holland McBurns, Managing Partner

Attorney Holland McBurns has been a lifelong resident of Spokane, Washington. Growing up on the South Hill, she spent her early years committed to academics for the purpose and ultimate goal of making a difference in her community. This determination resulted in a BA, Cum Laude, in Women’s Issues from the University of Washington, and Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude, from Gonzaga School of Law.
Since 2000, Holland has had a successful law practice. In 2004, Holland was awarded the VLP award for legal representation of indigent clients. Her practice focuses on family value based planning, guiding each family to make the best decisions for themselves. Each plan is designed for the unique needs of a particular family or client, including pre-planning and crisis planning for Medicaid and long-term care, special needs planning, estate planning, estate administration, and guardianships.
Holland is currently a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the Spokane County Bar Association, the National Association for Elder Law Attorneys, the Washington Association for Elder Law Attorneys, the Elder Counsel, and the National Business Institute.
In addition to her legal practice, Holland is a committed wife and mother of three wonderful children who love to bike, hike, run and garden. Understanding the struggles and needs of families, Holland is dedicated to providing her clients with the kind of support and guidance necessary for the best possible results.

Alex Howie, Attorney

Alex Howie is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate from Gonzaga University School of Law. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Vancouver Island University in British Columbia and moved to Spokane in 2014 to pursue a career in law.  She enjoys the opportunity to assist elderly clients and their families with their legal needs.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, baking, and gardening with her husband, daughter, and Labrador retrievers.

Dalton Luke, Paralegal

Dalton Luke is an American Bar Association accredited Paralegal. He obtained his degree from Spokane Community College in 2013. He enjoys that the legal field is stimulating and challenging, while also giving him the opportunity to help clients and their families. He was born and raised in Spokane, Washington, and has lived here his whole life. In his spare time, Dalton enjoys spending time with his wife, cooking, reading, and watching movies.

Christy Risley – Firm Administrator / Lead Paralegal

Christy Risley is an American Bar Association accredited Paralegal, having earned her Paralegal Degree from Spokane Community College. Christy has worked in the legal field for 11 years, with the last 10 years having been primarily focused on estate planning and probate administration.

Christy has lived in Spokane since 1994 with her husband, who is a veteran of the United States Air Force, and their two daughters. In her spare time, Christy enjoys traveling, boating and spending time with her family.

Heidi Boehl – CLIENT ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Heidi Boehl joined Evergreen Elder Law as Marketing Director in late 2016. Heidi has lived in Spokane, Washington since 1994 and has owned, operated and marketed several businesses. Heidi brings wonderful energy, a caring nature and commitment to educate and reach out to our community in order to bring the best solutions to each individual and family with respect to estate planning and long-term care.

In her spare time, Heidi enjoys gardening, hiking and beachcombing. Heidi is blessed with a large family consisting of several nieces, nephews, God children, a daughter and the apple of her eye…a grandson named Jax.

commitment to service

The Evergreen Elder Law Team

Evergreen Elder Law is committed to helping you create comprehensive legal, financial, and physical security for you and your loved ones. We have the knowledge, compassion and professionalism to guide you in planning for the future, giving you peace of mind as you or a loved one makes important decisions for your family and future.

Let us provide you with a free 30-minute consultation. We are available throughout the week by phone and e-mail. Contact us now to set up the initial consultation, and we will make meeting with us easy – even if you need a personal consultation at your home, nursing home, or your financial advisor’s office. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to come up with the best plan to meet your needs.

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LOCATION

621 W Mallon, Suite 306
Spokane, WA 99201
INSIDE THE FLOUR MILL
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CONTACT

Business Phone: (509) 325-5222
FAX: (877) 331-5798
Email: info@evergreenelderlaw.com

RECENT ARTICLES

Caring Transitions of Spokane Interview (audio)

Host Michael Begley, owner of Caring Transitions of Spokane, speaks with Holland McBurns. Holland is an Elder Law attorney at Evergreen Elder Law in Spokane. She is accredited with the Veterans Administration to help clients receive their Aid & Attendance Benefit and can help clients preserve their assets when dealing with Medicaid. Furthermore she works on cases related to probate, estate planning and long term care. Don’t miss this podcast, there is a lot of great information.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: The Costs of Dementia

November was Alzheimer’s disease and Awareness month. It’s the perfect time to educate people about the disease of Alzheimer’s (and other dementias) and the effects of the disease on its victims and their loved ones. In this edition of the ElderCounselor™, we are going to focus on the high costs associated with dementia during the final years.

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Veteran’s Benefits for Senior Veteran’s and Surviving Spouses

There is a little known benefit available to Veteran’s and their surviving spouses to help pay for long-term care. This is the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit which is a cash benefit that is tax free. Why is this benefit important? Many seniors today are faced with the ever-rising cost of long-term care and the question is how will they be able to pay for care without going broke. In Washington State, longterm care costs continue to rise each year. For example, Assisted living costs are often well above $4,000 a month depending on the particular needs of the senior. Skilled Nursing facility monthly costs are peaking at often over $9,000. Many seniors find themselves selling their homes and depleting their assets in order to pay for care for themselves or their ill spouse. The Aid and Attendance Pension benefit can help. This monthly cash benefit is available to Veterans and their surviving spouses to help pay for and offset the continued rising costs of long-term care.

While the VA offers a plethora of benefits, such as home loans and burial benefits, the Pension Aid and Attendance benefit is a specific benefit for seniors who need help paying for long-term care. One of the often misunderstood things about this benefit is that the veteran does not need to have a service related illness or injury.

There are however certain criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for this benefit. First, the veteran must have served 90 days of active duty and one of those days must have been during a period of conflict. The periods of conflict are as follows:
WWII: 12/7/1941 – 12/31/1946
Korea: 06/27/1950 – 12/31/1955
Vietnam:08/05/1964 – 05/07/1975
Persian Gulf: 08/02/1990 – Present

Although one of the 90 days must have been during a period of conflict, it does not need to be in country, the veteran must simply have been enlisted and in active duty. Second, the veteran must have a discharge other than ‘dishonorable’.

In addition to the time in the military, the veteran or surviving spouse must meet the medical test. This includes needing assistance with at least some of the following: bathing, toileting, general hygiene, meal preparation, medication management, transferring, and transportation. Most seniors with high costs of care already satisfy the medical test.

The final qualifications are that the veteran or surviving spouse must meet an asset and income test. The asset test is a complex formula that takes into account all of the ‘countable’ assets that the veteran or surviving spouse owns at the time of application and their life expectancy. Determining whether you qualify for the asset and income part of the test can be complex and difficult to understand. An accredited VA elder law attorney should be consulted.

Satisfying the income test considers your gross income minus your medical expenses. The resulting figure is considered your income for VA purposes. The veteran or surviving spouse must have high recurring medical expenses to qualify. For example, If a surviving spouse has income from social security and a pension that total $3,000 a month, and needs to reside in an assisted living facility with a monthly cost of care at $4,000, the surviving spouse has an ‘income’ for VA purposes of -$1,000 and would satisfy the income part of the test. Typically, the need for longterm care will always satisfy this income test for VA purposes.

If you think you have too much income or assets, do not be mistaken. Determining which assets are countable and how many you can have can be complex and confusing. There are also many strategies that can be utilized to qualify for both the income and asset part of the test. We recommend that you always speak with a VA accredited elder law attorney to see if you qualify for this cash benefit.
The cash amounts are paid directly to the veteran or surviving spouse on a monthly basis for the remainder of their lives. This cash benefit is also tax free. The total benefit received is often substantial, particularly when added up over a lifetime. The monthly cash benefit amounts for 2015 are as follows:
Veteran’s Pension: $1,788
Veteran’s Pension with one dependent: $2,120
Surviving Spouse: $1,149

The benefit continues for life and can have a huge impact on the level and quality of care for senior veterans or their spouses. For example, if a veteran qualified for the Aid and Attendance benefit with one dependent and is in long-term care for the next 5 years the total amount received would exceed $125,000. Too many veterans and/or surviving spouses don’t take advantage of this benefit because either they don’t know about it or don’t understand the complex qualifications.

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit can be difficult to navigate and determine if you actually will qualify, but it is an incredibly underutilized resource that more veteran’s and their surviving spouses should take advantage of. Consulting with a VA accredited elder law attorney is the best way to find out how to obtain this cash benefit. Don’t delay. This cash benefit could help prevent your family from going broke paying for long-term care.

Why We Fail To Plan for Long-Term Care

Most Americans do not know, or refuse to accept, the facts surrounding their potential need for long-term care and the costs associated with it. This was reconfirmed recently in a telephone survey of 1,735 Americans over the age of 40, funded by the SCAN Foundation and conducted by the Associated Press (AP) – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (“survey”)1. This survey highlights many of the misconceptions Americans have about long-term care, including: the potential that a loved one may need some sort of long-term care within the next five (5) years; lack of knowledge of the positive impact of “person-centered care” practices; lack of understanding of coverage of long-term care services by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance; and an increase in lack of concern over failure to plan for the costs associated with long-term care.

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