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In this section of our website you get to know the attorneys and staff of our Southern Illinois elder law office. All of our attorneys and other life care planning experts are knowledgeable and are adept at handling all of your elder care and life care planning needs - from explaining Medicaid benefits, to finding the right type of long-term care living facility, to drawing up the important legal documents you will need on your Elder Care Journey.

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We Know Your Pain . . . Because We Have Walked the Same Path in Your Shoes

Richard Habiger's knowledge and experience with Medicaid and helping his clients negotiate their journey through the long-term care maze began with a personal journey. The following is his story:

In 1986 my father had a stroke.  When he left the hospital he went to a Medicare certified nursing home for physical therapy.  But within a week or so Medicare coverage was discontinued.  Mom was still at home. They had very little savings and could not afford to pay for the nursing home.  My brother and sister went into panic mode when they learned that Mom could end up exhausting her savings, have nothing to live on, and might lose her home.  Mom and Dad had worked very hard all of their lives, and it did not seem fair that Dad's medical condition would now rob them of their home and the very little savings that they had managed to put aside.

At the time, I was the managing attorney for the Southern Illinois University Law School Legal Clinic.  The Legal Service to the Elderly program at the clinic provided civil legal services to persons over 60 years of age in the southern-most 13 counties of southern Illinois.

Frequently, I was asked about asset preservation planning for someone who needed care in a nursing home.  As with the case of my parents, I would be asked what could be done to protect the home of someone going into a nursing home or to maintain the joint income of a married couple for the benefit of the well spouse who was going to remain at home.

I spent many hours researching the issues at the law school library, unquestionably one of the best law libraries in the state of Illinois, but found that there was very little information available.  It was very frustrating.

I began working with other attorneys across the nation who were being asked similar questions by their clients.  Those other attorneys and I began sharing ideas and strategies. Eventually I joined those other attorneys to become a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

I found that there was such a need for what I do, that in 1993 I decided to open a private practice devoted to serving the elderly and their families.  It's a calling. It's my passion.  It's something I dearly love. It's always interesting and challenging.  Each person's situation is so unique.

My staff and I are dedicated to helping your loved one get the care and benefits they deserve while legally protecting your family's home or farm, life-time savings, investments, and other assets.  And if the need should ever arise, we help you learn how to find the right nursing home, how to get good care there, and how to pay for it without going broke.

Addendum #1:  Shortly after my father died, my mother began to decline. First she sold her home and moved in with my sister. At the time, my sister had a small home and two growing and very active teenagers; so this first transition was not the best choice that could have been made. Thus, mom moved to a senior independent living high-rise not far from my sister.  A few years later, mom's physical decline had became such that she required care in a nursing home.

Addendum #2:  The evening of July 4, 2009, my wife, Marty, and I were home watching the July 4th musical and fireworks celebration on our local PBS station. Suddenly "fireworks" started going off in her head. Marty had difficulty moving and was unable to follow simple instructions. Later, at the hospital, I learned that Marty had suffered a massive cerebrovascular accident (CVA), i.e., a ischemic stroke. After receiving a clot-busting medication, she was transported to a hospital in St. Louis. To make a long story short, Marty spent the next 7 months in various hospitals and rehab facilities in the St. Louis area. Marty returned to Carbondale in February 2010 to continue receiving rehabilitation in a local care facility.  She and I fondly hope that she will recover sufficiently to return home.  She is much too young!

Addendum #3:  If all of the foregoing were not enough, my adult son is disabled and a grandson has autism. Planning for their futures presents challenges of how to keep them qualified for their governmental benefits . . . while providing them with at least a modest trust fund to give them a higher quality of life than they might otherwise have without these additional funds.

Needless-to-say, I have "been there" with my wife as well as my father, mother, son and grandson . . . and I continue to "walk in your shoes."

Our Attorneys

» Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.

Our Staff

» Diane M. Johnson

» Angelica Vickers

» Jennifer J. Boyd

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» Danielle Maaks

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Phone: 618-985-4529
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Physical Address
1808 Clark Street, Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: 618-985-4529
Toll Free: 800-336-4529

Mailing Address
1808 Clark Street
Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: (618) 985-4529