What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

Could you benefit from the expertise of a Florida Elder Law Attorney? To answer that question, let’s begin by understanding what elder law entails. With May being National Elder Law Month, it’s the perfect time to dive into this topic. While elder law has gained significant traction in recent years, it remains a relatively new field. Many individuals are unaware of the extensive support provided by an elder law attorney because this area of law encompasses a wide range of interconnected issues.

Assisting with the Legal Challenges of Aging

An elder law attorney specializes in helping individuals and their families navigate the legal obstacles associated with aging. While a large portion of our client base consists of retirees, we also work with near-retirees, Baby Boomers, the elderly, disabled individuals, young adults turning 18 who require healthcare documents as their parents are no longer legal guardians, and parents with young children seeking to safeguard their families. In essence, we handle the full spectrum of life’s experiences and challenges!

How We Can Support You

According to The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, elder law attorneys provide assistance in various areas. These include:

  • Estate Planning and Probate
  • Estate and Gift Tax Planning
  • Guardianship/Conservatorship
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Entitlement Programs
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Age Discrimination
  • Elder Abuse/Neglect
  • Housing
  • Long Term Care Financing
  • Medical Decision Making
  • Disability Planning
  • Insurance
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Real-Life Scenarios

To give you a clearer picture, here are a few stories that illustrate how we’ve recently supported our clients. Names have been changed for privacy, and the stories have been simplified for clarity. Have a look and see if any of these situations resonate with you:

Protecting Assets for Future Generations

“Greg and Susan” have concerns about their daughter’s troubled marriage. Anticipating a possible divorce, they want to ensure that their son-in-law cannot access the inheritance they intend for their daughter and grandson. We proposed the establishment of a trust that not only benefits their daughter and grandchild but also safeguards the funds from their son-in-law. Greg and Susan were thrilled with this plan, as it lifted a significant burden from their shoulders.

Planning for Remarriage and Inheritance

“Hal,” a 74-year-old widower, is preparing to remarry. He wants to guarantee that his new wife can stay in his home if he passes away. Additionally, he wishes for his children from his first marriage to inherit the assets he and his late wife accumulated. Hal approached us to understand his obligations under Florida law. After discussing options such as a prenuptial agreement and other planning strategies, we developed a comprehensive plan that accomplished all of Hal’s objectives.

Preserving Assets while Ensuring Quality Care

“Dolores,” an 80-year-old, faced a challenging situation when her husband “Frank” suffered a severe stroke. With Frank now residing in a long-term care facility and his condition unlikely to improve, Dolores is shouldering a significant financial burden. She was advised that her only option to avoid financial ruin was to divorce Frank, a heartbreaking prospect. However, we provided Dolores with alternative solutions. Through legal techniques, we expedited Frank’s Florida Medicaid eligibility, allowing Dolores to preserve a substantial portion of her hard-earned nest egg.

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Empowering Young Adults to Make Medical Decisions

“Alexandra,” an 18-year-old preparing for college, approached us to create a health care power of attorney. As a legal adult, she realized that her parents no longer had access to her medical records or the authority to handle health insurance matters on her behalf. Alexandra wanted her parents to be able to step in and assist her during a health emergency. With their financial support, we drafted the necessary legal documents. This case highlights that elder law attorneys serve individuals beyond just the elderly.

Protecting a Loved One’s Future

“Marilyn” sought our assistance regarding her daughter “Vivian,” a 42-year-old with bipolar disorder who struggles with employment and financial management. Marilyn wanted to provide for Vivian’s future without jeopardizing her government benefits. We decided to establish a Special Needs Trust that would fulfill Marilyn’s goal of supporting Vivian while safeguarding her eligibility for SSI benefits.

Ensuring a Secure Future for Children

“Phil and Jennifer,” a couple in their 30s with three young children, recognized the need for long-term planning. Even though they were young and healthy, they understood the importance of naming a guardian for their children and making provisions for their financial well-being if both parents were to pass away. Through comprehensive discussions about their brokerage accounts, bank accounts, IRAs, and beneficiary designations, we were able to create a will that not only protected their children but also provided Phil and Jennifer with peace of mind. Additionally, we assisted them in preparing Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills to cover all eventualities.

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Financing Education for Future Generations

“Thomas” sought guidance on how to fund his twin granddaughters’ college tuition. We examined Thomas’ assets and explored various financing methods, considering the tax advantages and disadvantages of each option. Together, we developed a plan that satisfied Thomas’ goals and left him pleased with the outcome.

Caring for Aging Parents from Afar

“Monica” contacted us about managing her 88-year-old mother’s situation. Although her mother insisted on remaining in Florida, Monica believed her mother could no longer live independently and expressed concerns for her safety. As the agent-in-fact under her mother’s Florida Durable Power of Attorney, Monica sought legal leverage to assist her. We met with Monica to address the legal aspects and also provided guidance on potential living options, local agencies offering assistance, and recommended geriatric care managers who could actively monitor her mother’s well-being.

Maximizing Inheritance for Future Generations

“Bill and Donna,” a married couple in their 60s, found themselves subject to federal estate tax due to their success in the stock market during the early days of the tech boom. To maximize the inheritance for their children, we explored estate tax minimizing strategies, gifting programs, and options such as Charitable Remainder Trusts and Life Insurance Trusts.

Guiding Families Through Challenging Times

“Herb” and his sister “Dawn” arrived in Florida following their mother’s passing, seeking guidance on the next steps. We now handle the probate and other administrative matters for their family. Adjustments to their late mother’s estate plan are also necessary given their new circumstances. Additionally, we plan to address long-term care needs through possible Medicaid planning and V.A. planning in a future meeting.

If you identify with any of these situations, it may be time to schedule a consultation with an Elder Law Attorney. Contact Garrity Traina, your trusted Florida Elder Law/Estate Planning Attorneys in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, or Port St. Lucie, to discuss your unique circumstances. Visit our website here for more information.