Tag: Tips

4 Tips for Reviewing Your Florida Estate Plan During National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Did you know, during the third week of October every year we focus on National Estate Planning Awareness week? How familiar are you with estate planning in Florida? Did you know estate planning involves putting legal protections in place to help secure a future you want for yourself and your loved ones? Do you have a Florida estate plan right now but need to make sure it reflects what you need?

Many of our potential clients have estate planning that is years out of date. It does not reflect their goals for their:

• Decision makers for finances and health care
• The age or marital status of their children
• Is missing key beneficiaries such as grandchildren
• Does not reflect their disability needs
• Does not represent the legacy they wish to leave

Let us share four tips on how to review your Florida estate plan with your attorney on our blog.

1. Is it from Florida? While this may seem like an unusual question to begin with, your out of state estate plan may not work in Florida. Start by reviewing your plan to make sure that it was written and executed in Florida. After you determine the state of origination, look at the dates. Is it only a few years old? Or older? Laws change over time and you may need to work with your attorney to update it to reflect the current laws.

2. Does it consider your incapacity planning? Incapacity planning allows for considerations such as having someone you have selected assist you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. The most important tools for incapacity planning include a Florida durable power of attorney, health care planning tools, and living will.

3. Does it reflect your goals for your legacy? Creating a legacy is what most of our potential clients who come to our firm are looking for. While the last will and testament may be the most common legal document for estate planning, there may be more flexibility to create the legacy you want through a trust agreement. What are your goals? Have they changed since you last created your estate plan?

4. Make a list of what you want, now. Your needs met change over time. They may have changed since you last created your Florida estate plan. Go ahead and make a list of what you want, now, and the changes you anticipate you will need to make. You can bring this list to your meeting with your estate planning attorney so that she can help you update your existing Florida estate plan or create a new one to reflect what you need.

Whether you schedule an appointment with our firm during the month of October or anytime throughout the year, our law firm is here to help you. We can guide you through your Florida estate planning options and update your existing plan to ensure it reflects what you want. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a meeting with our experienced Florida attorneys.

Protect Your Parents Before They Enter A Nursing Home

Do you anticipate that your parents may require full-time nursing home care due to their age or their health condition? If so, you should consider helping them put a plan in place now.  According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home facility is over $100,000.00 per year. Although nursing home care can be incredibly expensive, there may be ways that you can help ensure that the assets of your parents are protected and that they do not lose all of their savings paying those exorbitant nursing home bills.   

There may be a variety of ways in which you can help protect your parents by planning for nursing home care payments. Long-term care insurance plans can be an affordable option to offset the costs of care, especially if your parents are young enough and healthy enough to qualify for the best rate. Veterans benefit programs, if available to your parents, can help cover the costs of nursing home care. Medicare also provides coverage in limited situations. Primarily, however, people depend upon Medicaid coverage to pay for nursing home care. Access to Medicaid coverage, however, requires that the nursing home patient fall below a certain asset and income threshold. An elder law attorney can help you and your parents understand what benefits and coverage options are available and ensure your parents are protected.

Even if you do not think your parents would qualify for Medicaid with their current assets and income levels, it may be important that you contact an elder law attorney because there are many strategies that can be employed to protect your parents’ assets and still allow them to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Because May is National Elder Law Month, now may be the perfect time to do so and help your parents take this significant step towards protecting their future. 

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.

5 Tips For Caring For Aging Seniors During National Elder Law Month

Did you know that May is both National Elder Law Month and Older Americans Month? It is a month in which we celebrate our seniors and those who assist seniors in navigating their planning needs. Caring for your senior loved one can be stressful and difficult at times, but also very rewarding. Let us take a look at five tips to employ when you are caring for your aging senior to make your life, and his or her life, a little bit easier:

1. Be organized. When caring for your senior loved one you may find the amount of assistance that is actually needed, overwhelming. In addition to ensuring that your loved one’s medical needs are attended to by the appropriate healthcare professionals, you may also need to provide your loved one with assistance in regular daily tasks like getting dressed, eating meals, and taking medication. Creating schedules and to-do lists can help you make sure you are able to keep everything on track

2. Be patient and flexible. The needs of your loved one, and his or her condition, may be ever changing and it can be important to help ensure that he or she understands that you are there to provide support, no matter what. 

3. Be consistent. Keeping bedtime, mealtimes, activities, and social events as consistent as possible can provide structure and help you and your senior loved one create expectations for each day.

4. Share caregiving responsibility. If all of the caregiving falls on your shoulders, you may burn out quickly. If possible, share the caregiving responsibilities with relatives or friends so that you are not solely responsible for all tasks.

5. Seek the advice of an elder law attorney.  You should also contact an elder law attorney to discuss how to best plan for your senior loved one’s long-term care. Care for our seniors can be very expensive, but there are a variety of state and federal programs in place that may help alleviate a lot of the financial burden.

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.

No Time To Waste: Why Your Aging Parent Needs A Power Of Attorney Now

Have you talked to your parent about incapacity planning? Although talking with your aging parent about planning for his or her potential incapacity is never an easy task, it can be critical to have these difficult conversations to help ensure that your parent may be protected. A power of attorney can be an essential legal document because it can allow someone to put in place a plan for managing his or her affairs in the event he or she is unable to do so due to something such as incapacitation.  

An example of such a circumstance that may benefit from a power of attorney being in place could be a tragic car accident where a person suffers injuries that impact his or her ability to make sound decisions. Alternatively, a common concern as our parents get older, a senior may begin to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. With a power of attorney in place, you can help ensure that your aging parent’s wishes are carried out in accordance with his or her plan if your parent is ever in the position where he or she is unable to manage affairs.

In the power of attorney document, your parent will identify one or more persons to act as his or her agent in the event of incapacity. The power of attorney document outlines the specific powers and authority that the agent has and it can be crafted based on your parent’s wishes. The agent acting pursuant to the power of attorney is a fiduciary to your parent so the agent must act only in your parent’s best interest. It may be important to note that putting a durable power of attorney in place can be important for incapacity planning. The durability feature means that the power granted under the power of attorney survives incapacitation of the principal, your parent.  

If your aging parent does not have a power of attorney in place, then you may need to enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to put one in place for your parent now. As with all estate planning, many people may think that there is no need to rush. A power of attorney, however, can be critical because, in many states, including Florida, if you feel that your parent is unable to manage his or her own affairs, you may need to have your parent placed under guardianship if there is no power of attorney in place. This may mean a court will have to determine whether your parent is in fact incapacitated and unable to act on his or her own behalf. The court may need to hear from a doctor or witnesses to make this decision.  Once your parent is deemed incapacitated, the court next decides who manages his or her affairs and how to do so. The power of attorney can eliminate the need for court intervention and give your parent the ability to control who acts as his or her agent. 

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.

Don’t Miss These Benefits for Seniors During National Nutrition Month

This March we celebrate National Nutrition Month. Nutrition is an important facet of all of our lives but this holds especially true when we are considering how we will care for the Older Americans in our lives. “Older” Americans is a term that refers to individuals who are over sixty years of age in America and are the individuals and their loved ones that we focus on helping in our law practice.

When it comes to elder care, it is never too early to plan forward. Our goal is to ensure that you are protected both now and well into the future, whether you are a Florida senior or caring for one. We know that this type of planning can raise significant questions, especially as you start to think about your potential long-term care needs and who can make decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.

One of the keys to success for you and your loved ones is to be armed with the information you need. Whether you are an Older American, or caring for one, let us share a few fun facts and tips that can benefit you this March and throughout the year!

1- Get informed about your options. When we think about nutrition, most of us think about improving our health overall. Whether you are starting with improving your eating habits, exercise or something else entirely, do your research. Learning what is best for you and your loved ones, as well as being knowledgeable about what is available in your local community, can be a great step in the right direction.

2- Learn to prepare healthy alternatives. It can be hard to determine how to cook healthier options, especially as you age. For most seniors, there are more robust options available for healthy eating than there were fifty to sixty years ago. The goal now, is to learn how to prepare these foods so they can be enjoyed. Luckily, there are more and more tools on the internet you can use to teach you how to prepare healthy food. For example, just click this link to watch the Next Steps to Better Nutrition video developed for seniors by the National Council on Aging.

3- Eat your veggies. It is not just a catchy saying, it is the truth! There are incredible benefits for seniors that come directly from eating vegetables. For example, green, leafy vegetables have strong health care benefits and research shows that they can assist with health care conditions, such as macular degeneration or cataracts.

4- Remember physical activity. While it may be harder to get outdoors during the winter months, there is never an excuse for failing to exercise. Most health professionals recommend a minimum of thirty minutes a day. Remember, especially if this is a new routine for you, that this can be broken up into smaller increments. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians shares that you can add exercise into your daily routine by parking farther away from your destination or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.

We know this can be a confusing topic. We encourage you, however, to step outside your comfort zone and learn more about ways you can improve your life or the life of an Older American you care about. Do not hesitate to ask us your questions about this or any other elder care issue you are facing. We are your local community law firm here to help you both now and in the future as you face challenges associated with the aging process.

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.