Tag: florida elder law attorney near me

7 Questions to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney

As we age, the legal and financial landscapes we must navigate become increasingly complex. Elder law is a specialized area of legal practice focusing on the needs of Older Americans and their families, dealing with everything from estate planning and financial management to long-term care planning and end of life challenges. Choosing to engage with an experienced elder law attorney can be pivotal in securing not only your assets but also your quality of life in later years.

Finding the right Florida elder law attorney for you involves knowing what questions to ask to ensure they understand your needs and can offer comprehensive solutions. These attorneys not only provide legal advice but also guide you through planning your long-term goals, managing your assets, and ensuring your wishes are upheld. With the right guidance you can prepare effectively for the future, avoiding common pitfalls and leveraging opportunities you may not have previously considered.

We know firsthand that navigating the complexities of elder law and estate planning can be challenging. Whether you are planning for your own future or helping an aging loved one, consulting with an elder law attorney can provide clarity and peace of mind. If you are wondering just where to start, let us share seven crucial questions to bring to your consultation as you begin thinking about the future.

  1. Do I need a durable power of attorney? A durable power of attorney is an essential part of your Florida estate planning. It allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Ask your attorney about the benefits of this planning tool and how it fits into your overall estate plan. When you plan forward you can ensure your financial affairs and long-term care decisions are in trusted hands.

 

  1. What is long-term care? Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long timeframe. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own. Understanding what constitutes long-term care in Florida and how to plan forward is crucial in planning for the future.

 

  1. How early should I plan for long-term care? Discussing when to start planning for long-term care is vital. Early planning can significantly impact the quality of care you or your loved one receives and the financial burden that comes with it. Your Florida elder law attorney can help you understand the timelines and the best strategies for early and effective planning.

 

  1. Is Medicare going to pay for long-term care? Many people assume that Medicare will cover all their long-term care needs, but this is not always the case. Medicare’s coverage of long-term care is quite limited. Your Florida elder law attorney can explain what Medicare covers and help you plan for the expenses that Medicare does not cover.

 

  1. What is Medicaid? Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible elderly adults and people with disabilities. In the context of elder law, it is crucial to understand how Medicaid can help cover long-term care costs, which are often not covered by Medicare.

 

  1. How do I plan for Medicaid eligibility? Planning for Medicaid eligibility is a complex process that involves understanding asset and income limits. It is important to ask your Florida elder law attorney about Medicaid planning strategies, which can help protect your assets while ensuring you qualify for benefits when you need them.

 

  1. How do I age in place safely? Aging in place refers to staying in the comfort of your own home as you age, rather than moving to a senior living facility or nursing home. Discuss with your elder law attorney about how to create a comprehensive plan that includes legal, financial, and community resources to support aging in place.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. Asking the right questions during your consultation with a Florida elder law attorney can help ensure that your legal, financial, and healthcare needs are all addressed effectively. With their expertise, you can navigate the complexities of elder law with confidence, ensuring a secure and dignified future for yourself or your loved ones.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Key Items To Consider Before Choosing A Nursing Home

Do you have an aging loved one who may need a nursing home soon? Are you wondering how to even start selecting one? How do you decide on the best place for your loved one? Are you worried about locating a nursing home that will take the very best care of your loved one?

To begin, skilled nursing facilities, commonly called nursing homes, are residential care facilities that provide around-the-clock medical care and supervision to seniors. The seniors in these facilities need help with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. We would like to go over key items that you should be aware of and for you to consider before you choose a nursing home:

  • Be aware that there are different levels of care: Nursing homes offer different levels of care, from short-term rehabilitation to long-term care for residents with chronic conditions.
  • It is vital that the staff is qualified: Nursing homes are staffed by trained healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants.
  • There are a wide variety of services available: Nursing homes provide a range of services, including medical care, medication management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and social activities.
  • The cost of care should be planned in advance whenever possible: Nursing homes are expensive, and the cost varies depending on the level of care and location. Some nursing homes accept Medicare or Medicaid, while others are private pay.
  • The quality of care is very important, as well as, the quality of the overall facility and services: The quality of nursing homes can vary widely and it is important to research and visit facilities before making a decision.
  • It is important to know that there are state and federal regulations: Nursing homes are regulated by state and federal agencies, and must meet certain standards of care and safety.
  • Be aware that the residents do have rights: Residents of nursing homes have certain legal rights, including the right to privacy, dignity, and quality care.

When you review these key items you will be equipped with the knowledge to help make sure that the facility your loved one moves into knows and understands how to rightly protect aging seniors. Most importantly, when you visit your loved one you can observe whether the nursing home is caring properly for their aging and frail residents. With the health and well-being of vulnerable loved ones at stake, it is vital that you look out for bedsores and neglect when you visit.

Another key point is that if you suspect an aging loved one is suffering from neglect or bedsores in a nursing home, it is highly recommended that you speak with your Florida elder law attorney to do something about it. Do not wait. If you have any questions, do not wait to contact our law office to ask them.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Three Tips to Prevent Your Parents Losing a Lifetime of Savings to Long-Term Care

Have you been able to provide the necessary care on your own for your aging parents and now it is not enough anymore? Are you facing the difficult decision to place your aging parents into a nursing home? Are you concerned about the cost of nursing home care and trying to help your parents protect a lifetime of savings from being completely used up by the cost of care?

Because May is both National Elder Law Month and National Older Americans Month, this is an important time of year to ensure our aging loved ones have the support they need. Let us discuss three tips to prevent your aging parents from losing their life savings to a nursing home.

1. Early Planning. The most important thing your parents can do to preserve their life savings is to start planning for the future before those plans need to be put into effect. Meet now with a Florida qualified elder law attorney to engage in long-term care planning, this planning can be critical.

2. Know the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid. Your parents may be hoping that Medicare will help with nursing home costs, but they probably should not. Typically Medicare only covers 100 days of nursing home care. If your parents qualify for Medicaid, then the Florida Medicaid program will take over when Medicare benefits are no longer enough. Medicaid will cover nursing home costs for qualified individuals for as long as they need it. But there is a catch! Medicaid rules require your parents to spend down most of their life savings prior to qualifying for the program. Medicaid also has a look back period of 5 years. Medicaid will see what your parents held in assets, and what their income and expenses were during this time period.

3. Stay 5 Years Ahead in Planning. By working with a Florida qualified elder law attorney, she can help your parents plan around this 5-year “lookback” rule to protect the life savings of your parents. Your attorney may advise that the best way to do this may be to ensure that the assets of your parents are transferred out of their estate prior to the 60 months before they need nursing home care. Since the need for this care may be on the horizon, it may be best to start planning early. Your attorney can work with you to figure out the best approach.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Is Protecting Your Digital Assets a Key New Year’s Resolution?

When you made your New Year’s resolutions did you include understanding how to protect your digital assets? Digital assets are a hot topic and data security is in the headlines.  In addition, digital privacy is on the mind of many Floridians making this month a perfect time to be sure that our digital assets are secure now and in the future, including after we pass on. 

As you create or update your Florida estate plan, did you know that digital assets can be included in your plan? One aspect of securing your digital assets in the future can be accomplished while creating or updating your estate plan. We would like to share some  guidelines that may assist you in understanding how to include digital assets in your estate plan while keeping them secure in the meantime.

A critical first step in addressing the security of your digital assets is to preserve and protect your passwords. Most of us protect our digital assets with passwords. That being said, it is often tough to keep track of all of the different passwords you use to access different accounts on a frequent basis.  In fact, you may have resorted to using a memory or list feature on your computer or on your cell phone to keep track of all your passwords. Saving to some type of device is, unfortunately, not the most secure of practices.  Remember, it is important to choose strong passwords that cannot easily be guessed, and to change them frequently, even if only once a year. Always check frequently to be sure that your passwords have not been compromised. Update them immediately if they have!  We suggest that you keep track of your passwords by making a written list and keeping it in a locked desk drawer or safe deposit box. Wherever you keep this list it should be somewhere you can access frequently, so that you can make updates to the list.

What assets can become part of your estate plan?  Financial digital assets, like a digital Paypal, Venmo, or bitcoin account. Also, sentimental digital assets, like a collection of photographs or videos of your children and grandchildren. With any and all assets like these, someone needs to be able to access these assets after you pass away.  How do you accomplish this?  You may want to consider picking a “password person” who can be trusted with this information and keep him or her informed of where you keep your password list so it can be accessed if and when the time comes. As stated previously, when you create or update your estate plan you may also wish to detail who should have access to your digital assets or leave your personal representative instructions with respect to your passwords. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Do You Know the Danger of Making Holiday Gifts When It Comes to Elder Law Planning

During the holidays are you considering giving gifts of money to loved ones? Are you aware that monetary gifts can impact Medicaid eligibility? Did you know that if you needed to apply for Medicaid in the next five years, these gifts could have significant consequences? If you answered yes to the previous questions, be aware that the impact could be on both the giver and receiver.

With respect to the gift giver, be aware that the IRS allows a tax-free annual gift per person with an unlimited amount of donees. However, this relates to tax law planning, not to Medicaid eligibility.

In regard to gifting, Medicaid takes a different stance. In applying for Medicaid eligibility, when a person’s assets are reviewed, there is a “Look-Back” period of sixty months, depending upon the state. If it is found that the Medicaid applicant gifted money, or made an uncompensated transfer in order to be eligible for Medicaid, the penalty may be Medicaid ineligibility. The length of time of ineligibility is determined by the amount of the gift and the average cost of a private pay nursing home in the area.

Are there any options for the person deemed ineligible for Medicaid due to gift giving? Possibly. The gifter could collect the gift back, or reimbursement, in order to “undo” the penalty. Even if possession of the money makes he or she ineligible for Medicaid, he or she can spend it down by temporarily paying for long-term care or making a home modification related to his or her disability until he or she reaches eligibility status. In addition, there may also be a possibility of an undue hardship waiver, if Medicaid ineligibility will cause the person to go without medical care, food or shelter.

There may also be important impacts on the gift receiver. All states have an asset limit to be Medicaid eligible and it is not very high. In fact, Florida allows a single person to only have two thousand dollars. Even a small gift can push a potential Medicaid recipient over the eligibility limit.

With the assistance of an experienced Florida elder law attorney, a potential Medicaid recipient does have some options if he or she receives a gift. Your elder law attorney may suggest paying off debts and/or purchasing a funeral plan or a Medicaid eligible annuity. If money is received before applying for Medicaid, the money can also be spent down in a similar fashion.

Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.