Swain Law Firm
515 East Crossville Road Suite 110 Roswell, Ga  30075
Phone 770 500 3074  Fax 770 587 0050
Dedicated to Estate Planning and Assisting Veterans, Elders, and their families for 30 years.
The Swain Law Firm ~  515 E. Crossville Road, Suite 110, Roswell, GA 30075 
p. (770) 500-3074 
f. (770) 587-0050
The Swain Law Firm
Founded by James “Jim” B. Swain, an attorney for over 30 years, Swain Law Firm made a commitment to the senior community of northern Atlanta to provide A Holistic Approach to Planning for SeniorsTM

A Holistic Approach to Planning for SeniorsTM is unique to legal planning for seniors because it makes sense in all areas which uniquely effect seniors today and tomorrow.


Swain Law Firm is dedicated to assisting Veterans, Elders and their families with Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, and VA Pension and Benefits for both the Veteran and Surviving Spouse.

VA Benefits

VA Improved Benefits was established to provide financial assistance to veterans and spouses. Most veterans have never heard of the benefit, which is not related to service injury, much less how to qualify for the already earned benefit. Much of Swain Law Firm's efforts have been focused on helping the veteran to receive what is rightfully theirs because of their service to this country.

VA Pension and Benefits
Helping veterans and their spouses navigate the complexity of the VA maze and pursue what they have already earned is the primary focus of Swain Law Firm.

VA Pension and Benefits
Helping veterans and their spouses navigate the complexity of the VA maze and pursue what they have already earned is the primary focus of Swain Law Firm.
Elder Law

Many elderly people rely entirely on their children, family members or other trusted individuals to help them. This dependence upon caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable to abuse and financial exploitation. Some times,legal arrangements and protective actions by family may be necessary to shield loved ones from making bad decisions or from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people .
Estate Planning

Probably the most common mistake is the failure to plan, having the wrong plan or even having an outdated plan.  Planning can help you whether you have a large or small estate.  In fact it can save a greater percentage of the estate for the smaller estates. 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

                                                                                                               Benjamin Franklin
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The Fiduciary and VA

The purpose of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) fiduciary program is to ensure VA benefit payments made to a fiduciary on behalf of a beneficiary are used for the well-being of the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s dependents. Our mission is to protect Veterans and beneficiaries who are unable to manage their financial affairs. A Guide to VA Fiduciaries 2013 Version 1.0

Beneficiary- A Veteran, or his/her survivor, who has been awarded VA benefits, but who is not capable physically or mentally to manage his/her VA funds or financial affairs. 
Fiduciary – An individual or entity that has been appointed by VA to receive VA funds on behalf of a beneficiary for the use and benefit of the beneficiary and his/her dependents. Two types of fiduciaries are as follows:
1. A submitted Fiduciary by application
2. If no responsible relative is available, a court appointed Fiduciary

In some cases, the attorney may become the Fiduciary. 

fiduciary account is one where the funds of which are owned by one party but are managed by another (such as an agent, bank, or trustee) for the owner's, or a beneficiary's, benefit.

In considering an individual to serve as a fiduciary for any account or asset, it is important to fully define the duties required. This will help prevent any confusion. It is imperative that the fiduciary maintain the highest level of trust and serve the best interests of the beneficiary.

Verifying Medical Expenses in a Facility

If your loved-one is in an assisted-living, nursing home, or memory care facility, a special form must to be filled out to qualify for VA Aid and Attendance. This Facility Verification Form must be signed by a facility authority. It is good to check for the following:

  • all fees are updated and correct
  • all ADLs (help with bathing, dressing, feeding, toiletries, etc.) are listed properly
  • expenses are greater than or equal to monthly income
If the income is still greater and you are not sure what to do, call Swain Law Firm and we can provide assistance by establishing a Caregiver's Agreement. This additional help provided by family members will not only legitimately add to the expense amount but may be a necessity as most states only require  approximately 3.5 nursing hours out of 24 hours spent with a patient.  

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy Veteran's Day 2017! our heartfelt thanks to all who have served this great country of ours. if you are not sure whether or not you have earned your VA pension, a resounding YES! is the answer. Call Swain Law Firm and we will assist you in getting what is rightfully yours.

Caregiver Agreement

Caregiver Agreement

Through a caregiver agreement, also known as a personal-care contract or family-care contract, a family caregiver receives financial compensation for the time and effort he or she gives in caring for a parent or elderly relative.

First, let's establish that a spouse cannot be part of a caregiver's agreement. There is an expectation that one will care for his or her spouse's needs. Second, a caregiver agreement can be signed between an adult child and parent, or other family member. 

Why have a caregiver agreement?

  • This way, family members get paid for the job they may already be doing, such as preparing meals, grocery shopping, bathing,etc. With a written agreement, everyone knows who is in charge, what is expected, and what the boundaries are. This can alleviate some family tensions. This allows more of the person's assets to be retained by the family and not absorbed by the government or nursing home. 
  • For those interested in VA Pensions, such as Housebound or Aid and Attendance, these monies used for care are added to the medical expense column which must be equal to or greater than their monthly income. 
  • Without a written agreement, the elder who pays a family member for care can be disqualified from Medicaid coverage if they need nursing home care in the future. Caregiver Agreements are an excellent way to keep your assets working for you, and help to reduce or eliminate the Medicaid penalties.The personal-services contract then becomes a useful tool to help the Medicaid applicant legally spend-down their assets in order to help qualify for Medicaid. The money a parent pays to a family caregiver, absent an agreement in writing, will be deemed a gift by Medicaid.

2018 increase in VA Pensionsnter a Descriptive Title for your New Blog Entry



                                        MONTHLY  ANNUALLY
Basic Improved Pension
                                              $1,436    $17,233
                                              $1,679     $20,159
Aid and Attendance
                                              $2,169      $26,034
Basic Improved Pension
                                              $1,096      $13,158
                                              $1,340       $16,083
Aid and Attendance
                                               $1,829       $21,958
Basic Improved Pension
                                                $ 735        $8,825

                                                 $ 898        $10,783
Aid and Attendance
                                                 $1,176      $14,112

Aid and Attendance vs Housebound

There are three types of pensions offered veterans:

Aid and Attendance

Housebound means that you can care for your basic needs, such as cooking or bathing, but need to have someone go to the grocery store for you or take you to doctor's appointments.

Aid and Attendance means that someone must assist you with certain personal tasks, such as bathing, cooking, feeding, or personal toiletries.  

We always suggest going for the higher of the two pensions. We have discovered that if you are Housebound, there are usually more ADLs (Assisted Daily Living) issues than you realized. The following list has the acceptable ADLs:

  • Veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
  •  Veteran is bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
  • Veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Veteran’s eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

Congress sets limits for yearly income

Congress has set limits on yearly income in order  for veterans to receive their VA pensions. There are many legal ways to achieve these limit goals.Do not let the amounts below to dissuade you from pursuing your pension. Swain Law Firm has navigated these turbulent VA waters for veterans and their families for the past sixteen years. Please call and let us help you.

2017 Family Income Limits (Effective Dec 1, 2016)

If you are a...

Your yearly income must be less than... *

Veteran with no dependents


Veteran with a spouse or a child


Housebound veteran with no dependents


Housebound veteran with one dependent


Veteran who needs aid and attendance and have no dependents


Veteran who needs aid and attendance (A/A) and have one dependent


Two Vets Married to Each Other


Add for Early War Veteran (Mexican Border Period or WW1) to any category above


Add for Each Additional Child to any category above


* Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security Income. It's also important to note that your medical related expenses are considered when determining your yearly family income. 
To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR,  or,  $645
** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR,  or,  $845

Eligibility for Vietnam VA Pension

Were you a Vietnam Veteran? Because of the gradual involvement of the United States from 1950 to 1975, there are some unusual dates associated with VA eligibility. If you were boots on the ground between February 28, 1961, and August 5, 1964, you are eligible, but only if you were on land. Mind you, you could have been off your naval ship a day(and can prove it); that counts as boots on the ground. Being on a ship off the coastline does not count for this time period.

Beginning August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975, and stationed globally you can qualify for the Vietnam VA pension. Unfortunately, those who served prior to February 28, 1961, are not eligible. Call and we will help you discover your eligibility. 

So many veterans to reach!

The 2016 Fiscal Year VA Benefit Report was shocking! 

Of the 620,000 living of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, only 50,053 veterans collect their VA Pensions.

Out of the 5 million who served in the Korean War, only 2.5 million are still alive today. Of the living, only 54,109 have made VA pension claims.

Due to poor record keeping, it is estimated that there were somewhere between 2-3 million who served in Vietnam with only an approximation of 860,000 still alive today. Of that group, only 167,416 have made pension claims.

These numbers do not reflect survivors (spouses) or Aid and Assistance. Veterans these are your well-deserved benefits.

Special groups who may receive VA Pensions

Many people believe that if you were not a member of the WWII armed forces during war time, you cannot receive VA pensions. However, you could have been part of a special group who supported the war effort, such as Merchant Marines, and receive a VA pension. Some civilians are eligible. For instance, if your airlines were under contract to transport goods and troop personnel., you may also be eligible for pension benefits. Swain Law cannot research your special group for you. Please go to https://avapp.org/blog/ for a complete list of special groups. 

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