Believe it or not, elder care is not just for the elderly. An elder care attorney can help you care for a senior loved one, plan for your future in the event you need long term care, provide guidance for a family member with a disability and assist with a wide range of legal issues from discrimination in employment to elder abuse and estate planning.
In this post, our Florida elder law attorneys at the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC will help you identify some situations in which an elder care attorney can help you. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but to point out some circumstances in which you should consult with an elder care attorney. If you have a situation that is not included on this list, feel free to reach out to schedule a personalized consultation.
- You need to create an estate plan. If you do not already have a comprehensive estate plan, it’s important to make one as soon as possible. A quality Florida estate plan will include multiple legal tools and mechanisms to help you avoid probate. Depending on your circumstances, this may involve a will, trusts, a living will and/or healthcare directive, and co-ownership with survivorship rights for your spouse or dependents for certain critical assets. Lacking an estate plan can leave your loved ones without resources that they depend on, so it’s important to have a plan in place.
- Your estate plan is no longer up to date. Doing the hard work of creating an estate plan is a big step, but your job is not over. Once you have an existing estate plan, it’s important to update it after life changes, such as births, deaths, or divorces. Other reasons for updating an estate plan include the acquisition of assets and the creation of a business. It is a good idea to check in with your attorney every few years to make sure that your estate plan is still current. The national average for updating an estate plan is 19.6 years and that’s just too long!
- You or an elderly loved one is no longer able to make sound decisions. If you or someone you love is no longer able to make decisions in their own best interest due to mental incapacity or other conditions related to health or age, guardianship or another legal action, such as power of attorney, may be appropriate.
- You or an elderly loved one is not doing well health-wise. If you or an elderly loved one is having serious health issues, it’s important to ensure that you have a healthcare power of attorney, healthcare directive, and living will. Such documents ensure that your wishes will be respected with regard to medical care and that someone you trust will be able to make medical decisions in your best interest if you are unable to. It is also important to make sure you have your affairs in order and that you have an estate plan in place.
- An elderly loved one has suffered nursing home abuse. If an elderly loved one is showing signs of nursing home abuse or abuse by a caregiver, it’s important to consult with an elder care attorney to get them the help that they need. An attorney can also help you to hold the facility or caretaker accountable for the harm that they caused and pursue compensation for the victim.
- Medical malpractice. The elderly need extensive medical care and they don’t always get the best service. If negligent mistakes are made, such as prescribing the wrong medication, refusing to perform necessary tests, or failing to diagnose a condition, the doctor and medical facility can be held accountable by bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This will also allow the victim to recover costs and damages resulting from medical negligence.
- Assistance receiving social security and/or disability benefits. Qualifying for and receiving Medicaid, Medicare, and disability coverage can be much harder than it sounds. If you need assistance qualifying for these entirely necessary benefits on which most elderly individuals are reliant, an elder care attorney can help. Having a dedicated and experienced legal advocate to help guide you through the application process and advocate for your rights and interests can make all the difference when it comes to getting the coverage you need.
- You or an elderly loved one has a complex financial situation. If you have significant assets or a complicated financial situation, you do not want your estate to be distributed through intestate succession. It’s important to make sure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place that has planned for all aspects of your financial situation and ensures that your loved ones will be provided for in accordance with your wishes.
- You or an elderly loved one has an estate that is subject to estate tax. If you have an estate that would be subject to state and/or federal estate taxes, it’s important to have an experienced elder care attorney make sure you are taking full advantage of all available estate planning tools to maximize tax benefits and reduce culpability. Otherwise, a huge portion of your assets may unnecessarily go to the government instead of to your loved ones.
- You or an elderly loved one are incapacitated or in need of long-term care. If you have an elderly loved one who will be in need of long-term or ongoing care, it is important to plan for this financially. An elder care attorney can help create an estate plan that provides for necessary care during an individual’s lifetime as well as gets them the Medicare and Medicaid benefits that they may need to get the care that they deserve.
Contact the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC
If you are in need of a Florida elder law lawyer or require assistance with a legal matter related to an elderly loved one, the experienced elder law attorneys at the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC, located in Oviedo, Florida, are ready to help. We have three Florida Bar Board Certified Specialists in Elder Law on our team. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.