WHAT IS “ELDER LAW”?
Elder law refers to various areas of the law that primarily involve protecting and assisting the elderly. At Butler Elder Law, P.A., we understand that aging presents difficult challenges for seniors and for their families. The firm’s practice is dedicated to assisting its clients through these challenges, and helping them prepare for the future.
Each person has a situation that is unique to him or her. Our legal services for the elderly and disabled include creating appropriate legal strategies, advising on actions to be taken, and preparing documents to be executed. These include:
Medicaid Planning & Asset Protection
The costs of long-term care can be extraordinary. However, in Florida there are steps that can be taken to protect personal assets and income while still having access to quality health care. Most people, even those with substantial assets, can still become Medicaid eligible. A key aspect of our practice is to help our clients comply with Florida and Federal laws in order to become eligible for Medicaid and receive benefits. For more information, click here.
Trusts are private documents which create legal entities that are permitted to own and hold assets. Trusts are administered by a Trustee, for the benefit of Beneficiaries who may or may not be the Trustee. Trusts are used in various aspects of estate planning, in order to plan for health care, providing income to children, relatives, or close friends, and for other purposes. Different types of trusts exist for different purposes. For more information, click here.
Advance directives, such as Powers of Attorney, Health Care Surrogates, and Pre-Need Guardianship Designations, are key planning tools for every individual, regardless of age. Powers of Attorney appoint a person or persons who you wish to give power to act on your behalf in the event of certain circumstances, such as a traumatic disability. Health Care Surrogates are people you chose as a “health care agent” to act on your behalf with regard to your health care, in the event you are unable to express your own wishes. For more information, click here.
A will is a formal legal document that sets out the manner that your property and assets will be distributed when you pass away. Wills can be, and sometimes are, contested by potential heirs, who challenge the will in court. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your will reflects your actual intentions, and complies with the various legal formalities designed to ensure its authenticity. Wills and trusts often work hand-in-hand, as they can ensure your property is disposed according to your wishes, while minimizing the potential for costly probate disputes and court proceedings. For more information, click here.
Estate planning is crucial to ensuring that as you age, your wishes will be carried out, and your health care will be paid for. An estate plan is an important investment in your future, and clients of all ages can take steps to ensure that their money and assets are protected not only after death, but also during their lifetime. We understand that each client’s situation is unique, and an estate plan must be individually tailored to the client. For more information, click here.
For individuals who do not have, or who have lost, the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, or make decisions about their health care, it may become necessary for a family member or friend to petition the court for a guardianship. Proper planning, through advance directives, can avoid the necessity of costly court proceedings, which is one reason our estate planning services are so important. Unfortunately, most individuals do not have these documents in place, and guardianship law is one of the main focuses of our practice. We can assist concerned family members and friends who are seeking to have a guardian appointed for a loved one. We also assist elderly and disabled individuals who still have the capacity to make their own decisions, and want to maintain their independence in cases where a guardianship is improper. For more information, click here.
Special Needs Planning
For individuals receiving public benefits, Butler Elder Law, P.A. can assist with drafting special needs trusts, which are a unique type of trust designed to be held for disabled individuals to receive benefits. Through a special needs trust, individuals with permanent disabilities can obtain a higher quality of life. For more information, click here.
Probate & Trust Administration
When an individual passes on, their assets cannot be distributed without a formal court proceeding. For people with a will, this legal process is called probate. For people without a will, their assets are distributed according to rules set down in Florida statutes. For people with trusts and other financial documents which contain beneficiary designations, the probate process can be avoided, which can save both time and money. Butler Elder Law, P.A. assists its clients with issues that arise involving the administration of trusts and the distribution of assets after death. For more information, click here.
Elder Abuse & Fraud
Florida is, unfortunately, an attractive state for con artists. Florida tops all states in the percentage of seniors 60 and over - almost a quarter of the state’s population. Statistically, one in every five individuals over 65 will be the victim of financial fraud. Moreover, elderly and disabled individuals can also be the victims of neglect and abuse by caregivers. Butler Elder Law, P.A. assists its clients in cases of suspected abuse and fraud. For more information, click here.