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On the whole, Americans are living longer, healthier lives. We are staying productive longer and are better able to enjoy our retirement in active and enriching ways. All of this is great news, but if you haven’t properly planned and prepared for your later years, you may find yourself facing difficult challenges physically and financially, without being in the best position to deal with a crisis or sustain your standard of living and quality of life.
Elder law is the field of law dealing with all of the issues commonly faced by people as they age. At Shalloway & Shalloway, our West Palm Beach elder law attorneys specialize in providing sound legal advice and professional representation in all of these areas for individuals and families dealing with elder law issues for themselves, their spouses, or their parents or grandparents. A Florida Bar Board-Certified Elder Law Specialist at Shalloway & Shalloway can help you plan for the future, deal with current needs, protect and preserve assets, manage your health care and make smart choices regarding the possibility of incapacity or need for long-term care.
Below is a brief look at some of the main areas of elder law focused on by our firm. Click on a topic for more information, or call our office at 561-686-6200 to arrange a conversation to discuss your needs.
If you don’t already know how much long-term care costs, be prepared for a shock. Nursing homes in Palm Beach County average about $10,000 per month. Assisted living facilities cost nearly as much, and even quality home health care can cost more than your income and savings allow. And don’t expect to turn to Medicare for help; Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. Medicaid, on the other hand, will pay for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or as much as five hours per day of in-home health. Qualifying for Medicaid, however, can require you to spend-down those hard-earned assets you were hoping to have for your retirement or leave to your descendants.
Our Palm Beach elder law attorneys understand the Medicaid asset limits, what you can have and what you can’t, and how to protect your valuable income and property and still qualify for Medicaid. Don’t think you can just transfer title to property to your children or grandchildren for safekeeping. Making the wrong moves can disqualify you from Medicaid for years. Let our lawyers engage with you in the right kind of asset protection and long-term care planning to meet your needs.
A federal program known as Aid & Attendance provides qualifying veterans with tax-free monetary assistance to help pay for health care, including long-term care. Our VA-accredited attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify and help you get the maximum benefit available given your assets, cost of care and other factors. We understand the complex asset and income requirements that go into determining eligibility, and we engage in smart, constructive planning to help you qualify with the maximum benefit.
Only VA-accredited attorneys, agents or veteran service organizations are authorized to represent claimants before the Department of Veterans Affairs, so call Shalloway & Shalloway to speak with a VA-accredited attorney today.
Individuals with special needs often cannot support themselves through employment and rely heavily on public benefits through programs such as Social Security and Medicaid to afford food, shelter and the basic necessities of life. Well-meaning family members may wish to help out with financial assistance, but that kind of help can backfire and render the individual ineligible for public assistance. With a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust, the individual remains eligible for public assistance while still able to access trust funds for certain supplemental purposes, such as affording a home, a car or rideshare membership, vacations and travel, insurance and more. Our special needs planning attorneys set up the right kind of trust to receive gifts, inheritance, a personal injury settlement or other qualifying funds.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a position to help a grandchild with special needs, talk to our special needs planning lawyers about how to structure that financial assistance in the best way possible.
Individuals 65 and older benefit greatly from the low-cost health care assistance funded by Medicare. However, due to the Medicare Secondary Payer law (MSP), individuals with other health insurance must first access benefits under the other insurer as the “primary payer.” The MSP law also views a personal injury or workers’ compensation settlement as a primary payer. This means you would have to deplete your settlement on future medical expenses before Medicare benefits will kick in. With a Medicare set-aside trust, we can help you preserve those much-needed and important funds for future needs while still receiving the benefit of Medicaid.
When a person is unable to care for or act for oneself, a guardianship is often appropriate. A legal guardian has the legal authority and responsibility to look after another person’s (the ward’s) person and/or property. A guardian may be able to make medical decisions for the ward, enter into contracts or pursue legal claims, manage finances by making investments or paying bills, etc. Guardianships can be pursued voluntarily or involuntarily, they can be limited or plenary in their powers, and they can have responsibility for the person, the person’s property (estate), or both.
Our West Palm Beach guardianship attorneys handle guardianship proceedings in a number of different instances, including minor children who have lost their parents, adults with developmental disabilities, and older adults with diminished capacity who recognize the need for help or whose concerned relatives feel this step will enhance their loved one’s quality of life. We represent prospective guardians and wards in both voluntary and involuntary guardianship proceedings, as the case requires. Often, the need for a guardianship can be averted if proper estate planning has been done in advance. Shalloway & Shalloway can help there, too.
Estate planning is important at any age. For seniors, it is essential to get planning done and have the right documents in place to be prepared for any eventuality. Wills and trusts ensure your spouse, children and loved ones will be taken care of, while minimizing the time and expense of probate and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations. Instruments such as living wills, health care directives and powers of attorney see to it that your own healthcare, legal and financial affairs are managed in accordance with your wishes in the event you fall ill and cannot manage these affairs independently, even for a short period. We’ll take the time to sit down with you, understand your needs and wishes, explain your options, and craft the right set of wills, trusts and other estate planning documents for a comprehensive estate plan and the security and peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family are properly taken care of.
The field of elder law encompasses many different legal activities, all of them focused on maintaining your dignity as you age, ensuring your intentions are respected regarding your own health care and financial needs, protecting the lives of those most important to you after you are gone, and leaving the legacy you desire to leave for future generations. the elder law attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway can help with all of these matters. For help with elder law questions and answers in Palm Beach, Dade, Broward and surrounding counties in South Florida, call Shalloway & Shalloway in West Palm Beach to schedule a consultation with our dedicated and experienced elder law attorneys.