Are you a Florida senior? Are you finding it hard to believe that the end of the year is approaching? In fact, is it even harder to believe that in just a few short weeks it will be 2023? Are you busy finalizing your end of the year holiday plans with your children and grandchildren? Do you need to purchase last minute holiday gifts, prepare special family holiday dishes and finalize arrangements to spend time with your family? Actually, as you rush to make sure you have holiday gifts for all your children and grandchildren, we want to recommend the best gift you could give this year that does not even require gift wrapping!
What gift could we possibly be writing about? We are writing about creating a comprehensive Florida estate plan. This gift will let you make decisions about your assets and their distribution, choose your trusted agents to take care of your finances and your healthcare decisions and protect the legacy you want to continue when you pass away. With this gift you will give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind now, in the future and when you pass away.
As a Florida senior, are you wondering how to begin preparing an estate plan? Or do you have a Florida estate plan but have not looked at it in years? Or, finally, did you move to Florida from another state with an estate plan and never thought to make a Florida estate plan? Do you now have questions and wonder how to start? Do your thoughts include questions such as:
All of the above questions are important and we often hear questions just like them from our clients and their family members. As you work with your qualified Florida estate planning attorney to create your estate plan, you need to be assured that your estate plan will work when you need it to. This holiday season, a completed Florida estate plan that lets your loved ones know what you want for yourself and for them is quite possibly the best gift you can give and it does not even need to be gift wrapped.
Finally, we want you to know that while Florida estate planning is a critical part of your health and well being there is a second planning component that needs to be addressed and completed as well. This is your long-term care planning. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans will need some form of long-term care once they reach the age of 70, so the time for planning is now. You need to know that much of this care is not covered by Medicare and will, instead, fall on you, the Florida senior, to pay for out of pocket. As Florida estate planning and elder law attorneys we can assure you it does not have to be this way. We can work with you to create not only an estate plan but also a long-term care plan that can protect the estate plan you are putting in place and allow you to be able to leave a legacy for your family, no matter what the future holds.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
As a senior, have you thought about what would happen if you were to suddenly become incapacitated? Who would take care of you and where would the care take place, in your home or in a nursing home? With less than half of all Americans today having an estate plan, is it any wonder that even fewer have planned for their long-term care needs. Long-term care planning addresses the need for a possible future where you may need to rely on another person each day due to physical or mental cognitive issues. This means, in simple terms, a time when you cannot safely care for yourself.
We speak with seniors and their loved ones each day on what it means to need long-term care and how to plan successfully to meet those needs. We want to share some quick planning tips that can make a difference for Florida long-term care that you can use and begin to get the answers that you need.
1. Start planning now, do not put it off! When it comes to long-term care most people either do not plan at all or start planning too late. Of course, no one wants to think about a future that would involve the need for long-term care, but the best gift you can give yourself is to have a plan in place so that should the time come, you are prepared and not at risk.
2. Start researching long-term care, the cost of long-term care and how you can pay for it. Long-term care in any setting is expensive. So begin by looking at your finances. You can learn the cost for the type of care in our state by using this link from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Become familiar with the different types of long-term care. Most people do not want to live in a nursing home, however, there are many steps in between nursing home care and home care. These steps range from homebase care to independent care to assisted-living care and skilled nursing home care, there are many options. You can use this link we want to share with you from the AARP website.
3. Start looking into long-term care insurance, now, before you need it. Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance that can provide financial assistance should you need long-term care. Find out now if long-term care insurance is an option for you. In addition, if you have a new diagnosis or a chronic condition, speak freely with your doctor about what you should expect in the future. While your long-term care needs are unique to you, your doctor knows you and will be able to give you advice on what to understand and potentially plan for. You should not put off speaking with a long-term care insurance agent to learn more about what your options might be.
4. Speak with an experienced Florida elder law attorney who knows long-term care planning. An experienced elder law attorney will be able to advise you on what your options are for long-term planning in numerous circumstances. He will help you devise a plan to make sure you, your family, and what you care about most, is protected. In addition, your attorney can be sure your estate plan is up-to-date and reflects what you want. While it is not a long-term care plan, through your estate plan you can give legal authority for healthcare and financial decisions to another person that you trust. You can also designate this person or persons the authority to make decisions when you are not able to do so independently. Long-term care, the aging process, and family relationships are all complicated. Your experienced Florida elder law attorney is there to assist you in all your decisions in regard to your Florida long-term care and estate plan.
We know this list may seem daunting. We also know you may have more questions now that you have read it. Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
Have you created an estate plan? Are you planning to? Did you know that, according to a 2022 wills survey, less than one-third of Americans have an estate plan in place? Interestingly, though, almost two-thirds of Americans admit that having an estate plan is important. The primary reason why people do not have an estate plan in place, even though they believe it is important, is because they believe that they do not have enough assets, according to this same survey. We would like to discuss four important reasons for you to begin working with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney to create an estate plan to protect your assets and your wishes.
1. Minimize estate taxes. By creating your estate plan you may be able to minimize the amount of taxes your estate may have to pay. It depends on the size of your estate and the location of your property, as to whether the tax burden may be very substantial if the proper estate plan is not put into place.
2. Take care of your children. There are multiple reasons why estate planning can be important if you have children. One very important reason is that you have the opportunity to name in your will who you would want to raise your children in the event of your death. If you do not have a will with this information, the court will probably have to step in and make that decision. Another important reason is in the handling of your assets for your children. You, of course, want to decide how your assets are distributed to your children in the event of your death. However, if you die without an estate plan, the decision about the distribution of your assets will probably be governed by the laws of the state of Florida.
3. You want everything private. Are you concerned about the public nature of probate? Do you want to keep your estate affairs more private? By working with a Florida estate planning attorney you can take advantage of a variety of estate planning documents that can help you accomplish this task.
4. You need to plan for incapacity. Are you aware that estate planning is not just about what happens to your assets when you die? In fact, no matter what your age or what your assets are, what would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated due to an accident or illness? Who would pay your bills, monitor your business, take care of your children or make medical decisions? All of these questions can be answered in a good and thorough Florida estate plan.
Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to creating a good Florida estate plan. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
Is there a senior loved one in your family who has been able to live on his or her own successfully for years? Are you beginning to notice signs of fatigue, loss of weight or more days of not feeling good? It may be time for your senior loved one to move into a nursing home. It is a difficult decision to make, but have you and your family realized that your loved one needs a higher level of skilled care that only a nursing home may offer. Are you and your family concerned and want to protect your loved one from any abuse and general mistreatment in a facility? What should you and your family do now?
First, when you begin your search, make sure the nursing home is Medicare certified and accepts Medicaid. Medicare certification will assure you that there are standards that must be maintained and Medicaid approval may be able to help your loved one financially. We would like to share a few other ideas you can add to your checklist to help you and your family make the best decision for your loved one.
1. Find out if residents may have their personal belongings, including furniture, in their rooms. Is there storage space, such as an appropriately sized closet, in the room?
2. Find out what the various amenities are that are provided by the nursing home. Is there a computer and internet access in the bedroom? Is there a television? Is there a window to provide natural light? Having these types of comforts can help ease the transition into the nursing home.
3. Find out what type of activities the home offers and if the facility helps residents who may not be mobile. Are there outdoor areas for your loved one to use? Will your loved one be able to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?
4. Find out about the support provided for residents with advanced health care needs. This is very important if your loved one is not in very good health and, in fact, this is the reason you and your family are looking for a nursing home. For example, a common disease that impacts many Older Americans is dementia. If your loved one has dementia, you will want to know if the nursing home has specific policies and procedures related to the care of residents with dementia. If the facility does have patients with dementia, what types of non-medication based procedures do they employ when trying the first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms for residents living with dementia? Find out what percentage of residents have dementia and are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication. This will help you to understand the type of residents that your loved one will be surrounded by as well as the home’s workload.
Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. Our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting time.
Are you an adult child caring for your aging parent? Did you know that loss of memory may be a part of the aging process? As you care for your aging parent, how do you know when memory issues are serious enough to warrant intervention? What happens when your parent will not tell his or her physician that he or she is experiencing memory issues. Let us discuss some warning signs your aging parent may need memory care soon.
1. Appearance changes. With declining mental status there may be changes in appearance. For example, your parent may forget to bathe or stop putting an effort into his or her appearance, or even continuously wear the same outfit. This may be happening because he or she is forgetting to tend to hygiene or has confusion regarding the steps involved in hygiene. You know your parent best and are in a good position to see if there is a significant change in appearance.
2, Weight loss. Severe dementia may cause your parent to lose weight but there may be several other causes. Forgetting to eat may be the simplest cause, but if your parent does his or her own shopping he or she may be from getting lost on the way to the market, misplacing credit cards or having them turned off because your parent forgot to make the payment. Often, a combination of these factors may make the process of shopping for and eating food feel too overwhelming, and your parent may simply try to survive on what he or she has. If you do notice a sudden unexplained weight loss, you will need to engage your parent in a conversation about meals and grocery shopping. From a safety perspective, you should also determine whether your parent is at any risk of cooking related injuries, including burns or leaving the stove on, which may warrant immediate intervention.
3. Medication not taken. Are you noticing extra medicine around, or is your parent experiencing medical symptoms from not taking the proper medications, such as suddenly increased blood pressure or elevated blood sugar? These are sure signs that your parent is forgetting to take his or her medications.
4. Starting to get lost. If your parent is wandering or getting lost on routine routes this is a primary sign of dementia. When you try to talk to your parent, however, he or she may be unwilling to discuss it out of fear or shame, or his or her memory loss may cause him or her to be too confused to fully comprehend the situation. Try to visit your parent at a different time of day to see if they are wandering or getting lost or ask his or her neighbors to call you, if they see anything out of the ordinary.
5. Often agitated. Memory loss can be emotionally stressful. If your parent seems to be a little off, or gets easily angered, or begins lashing out, your parent may be experiencing memory loss. Often, memory decline will cause your parent to accuse family members and friends of stealing, as an explanation for misplacing things. If your parent accuses you of stealing, rather than take it personally, it may be time to call his or her doctor.
6. Depression. The aging process, medications, or a number of other reasons may cause depression. If you start to notice signs such as withdrawing from going outside, interacting with others, and increased isolation it may be time to not only talk to your parent but seek medical help.
If you observe any of these symptoms in your parent, first make sure he or she is in a safe environment and check on him or her more frequently. After this, speaking with his or her physician will provide you guidance in getting him or her appropriate memory care. Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
Did you know that National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is in November? During the annual public education campaign, affected and at-risk seniors, their family members and caregivers are given up to date information and support. Also included in the campaign are advocates across health care, the legal field and nonprofit communities. One goal of the campaign is the dispelling of common misconceptions, as such it is important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is a lot more than just old age and forgetfulness. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5.8 million Americans and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Alzheimer’s, a brain disease, is the most common form of dementia. What is dementia? It is a general term for memory loss and the erosion of basic cognitive abilities. It is not a normal part of the aging process. Because the brain serves as the central computer for all of the body’s functions, affected individuals lose the ability to perform even simple daily tasks.
Forgetfulness and confusion, such as forgetting names, misplacing objects and mixing up times and places, may be the first symptoms to appear. Over time, the progressive nature of the disease will cause diminished thinking, judgment and behavior. Furthermore, jumbling words, difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions, struggling with routine tasks like getting dressed, and unpredictable behavior are all signs the disease is worsening.
In advanced stages, people living with Alzheimer’s can lose the ability to have conversations or respond to their surroundings. In addition, they may eventually become incapable of basic functions and cease to have the ability to cough, swallow or even breathe. People with Alzheimer’s disease live an average of just eight years after symptoms are first discovered.
Even though increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, it is not strictly an elderly disease. About 200,000 Americans under age 65 have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Do you know someone experiencing abnormal memory loss? You should consider encouraging them to see a doctor. Skilled physicians can diagnose Alzheimer's disease with more than 90 percent accuracy. Although there is currently no cure, medical treatments can help slow the progression of many symptoms.
If you are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in any way, you are not alone. There is a worldwide effort that is fighting for a cure and organizing to support people in need during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and throughout the year. For more information or guidance concerning related legal matters, contact our office today.
Did you know medical alert systems are critical safety net technologies used by millions of senior adults? With the press of a button on a wearable device, a senior user can alert an emergency operator for help. In a health care crisis for an Older American, every second counts.
This National Medical Alert System Month, we want to help you evaluate whether you need to add this adaptive technology to your lifestyle. Let us share with you ten things to consider when purchasing a medical alert system for yourself or a senior loved one.
These are just a number of things to consider when choosing the best medical alert system for your loved one. If you have any questions regarding this topic or about the best resources available to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We are here for you and your family.