Here are just a few common scenarios we often help clients with:
- Mom Diane (age 75) and mom’s adult children, Brian and David, worry about who will be able to help Diane with medical decision making and financial management in the event that later due to advanced age or illness Diane were ever not be able to handle these responsibilities herself or struggle with them. Diane has significant assets and she also wants to avoid probate and estate taxes, if possible.
- Mom (Laura) and dad (David) have fixed income (Social Security and Pension), a home, and savings and are currently able to cover all their routine living expenses. Laura has been David’s caregiver at home for almost a year now. However, David will need additional help (home health, assisted living, or memory care) in the future and Laura is very stressed about the likely cost and how long they can afford his care. Frankly, the toll of caregiving is already beginning to affect Laura’s well-being. Their adult children are worried about both parents and want to help, but not sure what the options are for dad’s care and paying for care.
- Aunt Carol died suddenly. Her niece, Michelle, is designated as Personal Representative under the Will and Successor Trustee of the Trust. There are 5 other nieces and nephews all asking questions of Michelle. She feels overwhelmed and wants to be sure she handles everything correctly to both honor her Aunt Carol’s wishes. She is willing to handle the estate and trust administration but also does not wish to risk personal liability because she has seen friends go through litigation and conflict after someone’s death.
- Carlos and Lydia have been married for 40 years and have 2 adult children. Their youngest child, Bernard, has special needs and receives SSI and ALTCS benefits. Carlos and Lydia are Bernard’s current legal co-guardians. They want to be sure that after their deaths they want to ensure that Becky will be appointed as Bernard’s legal Guardian and that Becky will be able to manage Bernard’s one-half interest in their estate under a third-party Special Needs Trust so Bernard will not lose eligibility for government benefits and the Trust will be used to supplement his needs. Becky also wants to be sure that her estate plan appropriately provides for Bernard, in the event of her death.
- Grandpa Howard has Alzheimer’s with significant behavioral issues. He has refused necessary medical care and any attempts to bring in home health, despite his doctors advising he can no longer live safely alone. Recently, he has been calling the police with paranoid delusions and threatening the neighbors. He has also been the victim of financial exploitation by his new “friend” and his utilities are about to be shut off due to non-payment despite the fact he has plenty of money to pay his bills. It is clear he needs in-patient psychiatric treatment to stabilize his paranoid delusions and then placement in memory care to manage his care needs. However, he refuses to see the doctor or consent to placement. Someone else also needs to gain exclusive control over his accounts and assets to ensure his bills are paid, including but not limited to memory care, and to prevent further financial exploitation.
- Robin (widow, age 83) has a Trust and estate plan that she and her late husband, Ralph, created 10 years ago together. Unfortunately, Ralph died 5 years ago. She has not updated her estate plan since his death and is not even sure what she can update, if anything. They never had children. She is not sure who she should designate as her Agent, Personal Representative, or Trustee now, and has delayed visiting with an attorney because she needs guidance and has so many unanswered questions. She does have a niece who lives out of state, but no one close that can help her with doctor appointments, transportation, etc. She is feeling isolated and not sure what her next steps should be.
- Fernando (widow, age 86) recently fell and while in the hospital had a serious stroke. He will likely not be able to return home to live independently. Thankfully, he did have powers of attorney in place which allowed his daughter, Rachel, to make his medical decisions and handle his financial matters. However, Fernando only has enough funds to pay for the adult care home placement he will need for about 7 months. Rachel needs help to apply for ALTCS benefits for her father to ensure his application will be timely approved to continue receiving the quality of long-term care he deserves and needs once his funds run out. If possible, she would like to preserve some of his funds for his future out-of-pocket costs. She cannot afford to pay his care or other expenses out of her pocket so ALTCS approval is critical. In addition, she works full-time and does not have time to handle the ALTCS application herself. She is worried because she has learned that most people who apply for ALTCS without advice from counsel are denied.
We have the solutions to these problems, and more! Elder law attorneys focus on issues specific to older adults, and have knowledge in many areas of the law including the following:
- Estate Planning (power of attorney, medical directives, Wills, Trusts)
- Probate and Trust administration
- Medicaid (Arizona Long Term Care System)/Medicare/Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension
- Long-Term Care Planning
- Fiduciary Administration (Trustee and Agent representation)
- Financial Exploitation
- Asset Protection
- Special Needs Trusts and planning
The needs of older adults are often different and more specialized than the needs of younger adults. Elder law attorneys do not just handle estate planning matters, we also handle the day-to-day issues affecting the actual care of older adults, such as long-term care needs, medical advocacy, and more. We are equipped to handle the often sensitive emotional and physical needs of older or disabled adults, challenging circumstances, and family dynamics. We frequently work with other professionals such as care managers, financial advisors, and medical professionals to ensure clients have information needed to make the best personal, financial, and medical decisions, while taking advantage of the best legal tools to achieve their goals and objectives.
Call our office at 480-922-1010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment and see just how we can help you, or your loved one. We love to see families less stressed and prospering from the advice and advocacy we offer. We are here to help!