One afternoon, I met with an elderly gentleman and his wife in my office. After shaking my hand, he exclaimed – “This should only take about 20 minutes! It’s really simple. I just need you to write up a Will.
You can copy the one my parents had done.” Ninety minutes later, we finally wrapped up our discussion.
Yes, I “write Wills” – but only as one aspect of addressing the challenges of aging. The elderly face a complex array of legal issues, all of which require great care and diligence on the part of the client and attorney. For this reason, custom solutions – and not fill-in-the-blank forms – are the cornerstone of my practice.
Life has a way of “just happening.” While the process may be gradual or sudden, we will all likely require the care of others at some point in our lives.
When “life happens” suddenly and a family does not have a solid elder care plan in place, conflict may develop among the caregivers. This conflict, if left unchecked, may result in permanent grudges among siblings – and a steep decline in their parents’ quality of life.
When approached by families in crisis mode, I give them the tools they need to settle their differences – and promote the well-being of their sick relative.
The State of Florida provides generous long-term care benefits to the elderly through the Medicaid program. You may have heard horror stories about families having to “spend down” all of an elderly couple’s money before getting help on nursing home bills. While this may be partially true in other states, Florida’s Medicaid laws offer a number of loopholes which enable families – and particularly married spouses – to become Medicaid eligible without breaking the bank.
I help families structure their assets to protect them should they require Medicaid in the future, and assist them with the application process when care is needed.
FENDING OFF THE VULTURES
A client once met with me days after her husband suffered a life-altering stroke. As you can imagine, the client was beside herself with fear – her entire world was turned upside down. While visiting her husband in a rehab center, she was approached by a hard-sell, non-attorney “Medicaid specialist” who told her that “if you don’t pay me $4,000.00 right now to protect your money, you will lose all of your retirement savings to paying for your husband’s care.” The wife sighed a breath of belief when I informed her – “That sounds like a load of b——!”
When crisis strikes, the vultures begin to circle. One of the most valuable services I offer is helping the elderly and their families review the wisdom of big decisions. By paying for an hour of my time, clients may avoid becoming a crime statistic in their moment of greatest need.