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REPRESENTATION OF SENIORS

Protection from Depletion of Your Assets through Medicaid Planning. Representation of Seniors is an integral part of estate planning. Whether you are planning for yourself or for your parent or parents, there may come a time when you or your parent will require institutionalized care (e.g. a nursing home), or constant care at home from a professional care giver. Such care is likely to be very expensive, and a drain upon your assets, or the assets of your parent. In Florida, and elsewhere, applicable federal and state statutes and regularions normally require, as a condition of qualifying for governmental benefits, that an individual completely lack any substantial assets or income of his or her own (with certain exceptions, such as the home). Giving away assets within several years prior to your need for such care won’t normally solve the problem.

One of my tasks as your advisor is to help you plan for such eventualities in a legitimate way, so as to insulate your assets from needing to be drained before you can qualify for governmental benefits. Last minute planning for such eventualities is seldom as effective as advance planning along with steps taken well in advance that will achieve your asset-preservation objectives.

Protection from Abuse. With increasing age, individuals are subject to undue influence by other family members or by their caretakers or by others. Through careful dialogue with you, and with your permission, dialogue with other family members if appropriate, I work to insure that you have not been unduly pressured or influenced. I also insure, through having gotten to know you, and having conversed thoroughly with you about your priorities and intentions, that your estate planning documents are ones that you thoroughly understand, and that reflect what you want. In so doing, one of my objectives is to insure that your estate planning documents are not later challenged by a family member or other person as having derived from undue influence and are not challenged on the grounds that you did not understand what you were executing.

Often, bringing other family members into the discussion of your estate planning objectives, and how you intend to leave your assets, is a constructive step in preserving family harmony and avoiding controversy, after your death, because family members are then not “surprised” by what you have done. At the same time, the extent to which you share with family members your estate planning objectives is a completely personal decision; and no approach in that regard is “wrong.” If other family members are involved, particular care must be taken to assure, and to inform other family members, that it is you who are in charge.