Elder Law and Special Needs Planning
Elizabeth P. Allen, Esquire, of Gibbons, Neuman, Bello, Segall, Allen & Halloran, P.A. assists Tampa Bay area seniors and their family members with elder law issues. As an increasing number of Americans are aging, elder care and the financial and emotional impact associated with that care have become a concern for many families. Ms. Allen helps clients understand their options so they can make informed decisions that carry out their wishes.
What is elder law?
Elder law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness and incapacity. It incorporates the use of wills, trusts and other legal instruments relative to estates. Elder law additionally involves a wide scope of matters that seniors and their families need. Ms. Allen can assist in:
- Creating estate planning documents
- Assisting in long term care and Medicaid pre-planning and crisis Medicaid planning
- Creating legal documents for the management of the client’s personal and financial affairs should the client become physically or mentally incapacitated and in need of medical and/or long term care
- Putting medical directives in place so family members can handle medical issues for the client
- Preparing documents to deal with potential end-of-life decisions about the type of life-prolonging treatment desired
- Making decisions regarding the need for and financing of long term care, such as home health care, retirement community living, assisted living, and nursing home care
- Assisting with Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security issues
What is Special Needs Planning?
Special Needs Planning is not just for the elderly. Special Needs planning is used to preserve public benefits being received or to be received by an individual with a disability and also to provide for those individuals who cannot or should not manage finances or personal issues. Ms. Allen incorporates disability and incapacity planning in her practice to assist those who care for a loved one with a disability to plan for the future care of that loved one. Special Needs planning also involves dealing with personal injury settlements for persons with disabilities so that needed governmental benefits are not jeopardized due to a monetary award.
Legal instruments that can benefit the elderly
Many legal options are available so clients or their family members can make appropriate choices for their needs. Legal instruments or strategies used include:
|Powers of attorney||Veterans' benefits|
|Durable power of attorney||Guardianships or guardianship avoidance|
|Healthcare advance directives||Conservatorship or conservatorship avoidance|
|Living wills||Retirement plans|
|Medicaid qualification||Business succession|
|Gift tax planning||Generation skipping taxation|
|Special Needs Trust|
A team approach for the best care and services
Ms. Allen works in collaboration with other professionals to advocate for her clients. She can advise about changes in Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security benefits, along with providing legal guidance as to long term care facilities and support services.