Tag: seniors

Tips and Pointers on Where to Keep Your Original Florida Estate Planning Documents?

As a senior adult, are you like many Americans, still keeping your important paperwork and valuables at your bank? Do you believe a safe deposit box is the best place for storing important documents? After all, is it not logical that renting a safe deposit box is a much safer bet than keeping everything at home? These are all good questions and we would like to address them in our blog.

Now that you, together with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, have created your documents for your Florida estate plan, you may be thinking about keeping your documents at your bank. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are pros and cons to this plan. We would like to share more on this topic so you can make a decision and, as always, do not hesitate to ask us your questions.

Interestingly, many estate planning attorneys may urge their clients not to keep the original copies of their estate planning documents in a safe deposit box. Let us share four tips and pointers as to why: 1. The bank is only open on certain days and at specific times. 2. Access to safe deposit boxes is limited to the owner or owners. 3. If you are the sole owner of a safety deposit box, your family and/or the personal representative(s) of your estate may need a court order to get your documents. 4. There can be ways around this, such as adding additional owners to the box, but you may not want to or forget to use them. We recommend you speak with your attorney because you can designate access to your safe deposit box in your durable power of attorney. A word of caution, though, banks do not always honor these documents when the time comes. Further, they cease to work upon your passing.

Where should you put your original estate planning documents, other papers and valuables? Instead of putting your original estate planning documents in a safe deposit box, consider these tips and pointers: 1. A fireproof and waterproof lockbox at home. 2. A home safe. 3. A secure container on an upper shelf of a closet or cabinet.

No matter where you decide to keep your original documents, remember to make copies. You can safely take copies of your documents with you to any professional visits you need to make, for example, your physician. Your original estate planning documents need to remain safely stored away so that there will be no challenges in the future for your needs, the needs of your family and your legacy. Be sure to discuss this now with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney.

As always, we are here to answer any of your questions and help address your concerns. You are welcome to ask us about storing your original estate planning documents, or about any estate planning matters, at any time. 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.

Understanding How to Keep Seniors Safe from Sweetheart Scams Throughout the Year

Are you a senior living in Florida? Are you aware of the tragic fact that Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals? This is because it is perceived that seniors have access to money, are less tech-savvy than younger adults, and suffer higher incidences of loneliness and social isolation. There is a type of scam called the romance scam, or “lonely heart” scam, that is rising among seniors. According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams stole more than $304 million from Americans in 2020. Whether you are one of the Florida seniors who are prime targets for cyber criminals or have a loved one who is a Florida senior, let us share a few key tips about how seniors can protect themselves throughout the year.

Cyber criminals meet their victims online and present themselves as interested in genuine love or companionship. Once they have made an emotional connection with the senior he or she is typically lured into buying gifts, sharing personal information that can be exploited by identity thieves, and sending money through credit cards or financial institutions. As a major precaution, a senior should discuss any new online relationship with friends, family, and caregivers and pay attention to any advice they may give.

Keep in mind that it is never a good idea to send money to a romantic interest you have not met in person. It is a major red flag if a new social media or message board love interest asks you to send money, personal information, or data to access your bank account! Do not do it, in fact, no matter how tempting it is, you should break off all communication immediately. This is just one of the ways Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals. Do not offer to accept money either, as it may be another way of gaining access to your financial accounts, or it may be an illegal money laundering trap.

As a Florida senior, you should always be extremely cautious if you spot a nice floral arrangement pop-up ad, get a thoughtful e-card from an odd acquaintance or stranger, or any other online gift. Remember to look for telltale signs of fraud before clicking on any online buttons. There are numerous fake websites and advertising scams out there that look real to the untrained eye, but are in fact fraudulent. In addition, also:

• Be wary of websites and offers that do not accept common payment providers like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal.
• If you are going to buy something, stick to reputable websites that you already know.
• Avoid online greeting cards from unknown sources as they could be infected with malware.
• Google a curious website or ad’s name + “scam” or “complaint” and see what pops up.

Never forget that Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals and be on guard at all times. If you or someone you know has been the victim of online romance scams, do not wait to contact law enforcement.

Most importantly, make sure you have picked an advocate who has the legal authority to act for you in a crisis that leaves you incapacitated. Under your Florida durable power of attorney your agent will be able to monitor your identity and accounts when you cannot to ensure that you do not fall victim to any scams. We encourage you not to wait to ask us, your Florida elder law attorney, any questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today.

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 Pros and Cons of Planning for Medicaid Early in Florida?

Are you a senior living in Florida and enjoying your golden years? That is good, but are you also considering your future? Have you started planning for any long-term care needs you may have in the future? Right now would be a good time to begin to investigate how you could pay for your care if you were to need it in the future. Let us discuss more about planning for long term care in the Sunshine State.

Are you planning for Medicare coverage as an option for long-term care? Unfortunately, even though you use Medicare for your health insurance, it will not cover much in the way of long-term care, whether in a nursing home or in your own home. Although Medicare is what most senior citizens use for health insurance, it has an extremely limited nursing home benefit, covering only up to 100 days of care and only in some circumstances. It is not a reliable source of coverage if you end up needing real long-term care.

Are you wondering what other options for long-term care are available for seniors? Some seniors may rely on family members to help as they get older. There may be an adult child or another relative who can come to the senior’s home regularly or the senior may be able to move in with them. We are, however, living longer these days, and with different generations living in different parts of the country, in-person consistent help from family might not be something you can rely on. This may be particularly true if your children are raising their own children at the same time you need the most help.

If you have no other options, you might be wondering what to do next. A Florida elder law attorney is an excellent next step. Make an appointment and consult with a Florida elder law attorney who specializes in Medicaid planning to find out whether you qualify for Medicaid or how you can plan to qualify for Medicaid when the need for long-term care arises. Qualification depends on your income and assets at the time of your application for coverage. The sooner you meet with a Medicaid attorney, the better the attorney may be able to help you plan for the future. If you are able to qualify for coverage, Medicaid will cover all nursing home costs you may need in the future.

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.

Tips for Creating a Loving Legacy for Your Children This Valentine’s Day

Do you enjoy giving your adult children gifts on Valentine’s Day? Most of us do. This year, though, are you trying to look for a gift that will show them how much you love them and care about their future?

A gift that will show your love and concern for their future can be accomplished in many ways. As we move forward through the month of February and beyond, we would like to share a few ways that you can plan to protect your family and create a loving legacy that will provide for them in the future, especially this Valentine’s Day.

1. Put a plan in place to protect your legacy from long-term care costs. The cost of long-term care for Older Americans is expected to rise. It is, therefore, important that you be prepared now to afford the long-term care that you may need in the future. This is critical so that your spouse and children are not left struggling to find answers or to have to pay the long-term care costs. Floridians must realize that the failure to plan can cost them their goals for the legacy they create for their children.

We encourage you to develop the planning needed with your loved ones and discuss shared goals for long-term care. A vital next step in the development of your plan is to meet and speak to an experienced estate planning attorney. Most estate planning attorneys are also knowledgeable about elder law issues, and will understand your goals and needs and can help you prepare the appropriate planning documents.

2. Planning to retire soon? You can still start right now to leave a legacy for your children. As you consider the legacy you want to leave behind, find out whether retirement will impact your legacy and also how your long-term care plan could be affected.

Retirement can bring you and your loved ones many changes. Creating an estate plan is one of the best ways to ensure that your children have a clear understanding of how you want to use your retirement savings, as well as how you want it to provide for them and their families in the future. This is the way you can begin to create your legacy, which is how you will both protect yourself and your family’s future. Plan now, not later, to create a legacy for your children so that they are protected in the event something happens to you.

3. By creating your planning documents early you can define your legacy and discuss it with your loved ones. Do you want to ensure your loved ones are well taken care of in the event of your passing or sudden incapacity? Create an estate plan! In addition, it is a way to prepare for your own care as you get older. With your estate plan your family will know the legacy that you have created.

We urge you to not be like so many others and put off this type of planning until it is too late. Be very aware that without the ability to make decisions, you cannot be involved in any planning for yourself or create your own documents. By choosing to not move forward with your planning you may leave your family vulnerable in a crisis. Further, it is not enough to simply make your estate plans, your planning needs to be discussed with your loved ones. This will give them the peace to know that you have an estate plan and now they know what you want for the future.

These are just a few of the ways you can plan to protect your family and make the plans you need to provide for them when you are gone. As we reflect on Valentine’s Day and show those in your life the ways you love them, now is the time to get started. Preparation is key to successful planning and to help you accomplish your goals. 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.

Breast Cancer Resources for Senior Women and Their Loved Ones

Breast cancer impacts millions of women, and by extension millions of families and loved ones. If there is a singular message to this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is that these people are not alone. In fact, a major component of the annual October awareness campaign is to promote breast cancer support resources. 

The resources take many forms, but have the common thread of helping those suffering from the disease, and those who have survived it, often at no cost. Research tells us a staggering one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and two-thirds of women with invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed after age 55. This puts aging adult women, and some men, at elevated risk.

Research also shows that early detection and access to support resources can be an effective means for combating the disease. Participation in support groups, where afflicted individuals can receive help and survivors can share support, has been shown to mitigate related emotional stress. Large, reputable organizations providing support like this include the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

A list of other leading organizations can be found here. Almost all of these groups provide access to online or in-person support communities. Such programs include: 

  • The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s “Beyond The Shock” initiative. This is an around-the-clock online support group where breast cancer survivors are available to answer questions from new patients and share their inspiring stories. 
  • The American Cancer Society’s “Reach To Recovery” program. This offers newly diagnosed patients one-on-one support with breast cancer survivor volunteers. 
  • The Cancer Support Community. This organization hosts free support resources in cities across the country, and provides online support groups hosted by licensed professionals for those who cannot attend.
  • GriefShare. This is a support program for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from breast cancer or needs help coping with related stresses, contacting any of the above mentioned organizations may be able to provide some relief. Moreover, do not wait to contact an estate planning attorney for assistance in crafting critical health care-related estate documents. This step can provide an added measure of peace during a difficult time. Remember, you are always welcome to reach out to our law firm for help preparing the documents you may need now or in the future.

Important Medication Management Tips for Florida Seniors and Their Kids

Many things in life are uncertain, but aging is an inevitability. As we get older, taking multiple medications for different health conditions is not uncommon. Unfortunately, however, without proper care and management, seniors may take a higher dosage than required, miss doses altogether, or even take the wrong medication. This is why it is so important for seniors and their children to implement a simple system to help avoid these common mistakes. To help get you started, we want to share with you a few ways to help the senior loved one in your life safely manage his or her medications.

  1. Make a list.

It is important to keep a record of the names, dosages, and frequency of all medications your loved one’s doctor prescribes. Do not forget to include any over-the-counter medication your loved one may be taking! By keeping this detailed list, your loved one and any caregivers or new doctors can easily see the types of medications your loved one is currently taking. This can help ensure your loved one is taking their medication safely and is not prescribed any medications that may have a negative effect.

  1. Do your research.

Just because your loved one’s doctor prescribes them a new medication, does not mean you cannot ask questions and do some research of your own. Feel free to ask the doctor why they are prescribing a particular medication, why it is to be taken during the day or at night, and whether it should be taken with food. The more you know about your loved one’s medication intake, the easier it will be to create a routine and keep track of each medication your loved one is taking.

  1. Separate the medications.

If your loved one’s doctor requires him or her to take multiple medications each day, it can be confusing to keep track of their medication intake. Utilizing a pill box, for example, can be an effective way to safely separate your loved one’s medication. Pill boxes are typically labeled with the days of the week and are available in different colors so you can separate the medications based on whether they need to be taken during the day or at night.

  1. Use an alarmed medication reminder.

If your loved one needs a stronger reminder to take his or her medication than a sticky note or pill box, consider purchasing a medical alert device. These devices are specifically tailored to remind your loved one to attend doctor’s appointments, take medication, or check-in with loved ones. These reminders are easy to set and can be adjusted at any time based on your loved one’s daily routine.

We know that caring for a senior loved one can be challenging at times. If this article raised more questions than answers for you or if you are in need of further suggestions for ways to manage your loved one’s medication intake, do not wait to contact us with your questions.

Hurricane Preparations for Seniors/Estate Planning

As the summer months start heating up and the threat to South Florida for hurricanes becomes the annual what-if, being informed is perhaps the greatest advantage you can have. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. When considering the tremendous destructive potential of hurricanes, extra preparation can make all the difference, especially when it comes to planning for the seniors in your life. Attorney Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys PA offers some advice. “You should make a list “of how a hurricane may affect your loved ones “and ask if they live in a flood zone. “Are there large branches hanging over their house “that are susceptible to high winds? “What is the quickest path out of their neighborhood? “Is there access to a public shelter and a hospital? “Do they have enough medicine on hand?” Having a disaster plan is an important step for protecting your family. You also need Florida estate planning to ensure that there is a person with legal authority who may act for your loved ones in a crisis. Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide person service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.