Elder Law

The practice of Elder Law focuses on planning for the care and protection of seniors.  It is a highly specialized area of law.  When dealing with issues such as long-term care benefits, including Medicaid and Veterans’ benefits, or managing the needs of an aging or disabled family member, you should seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Elder Law.

DeBellis Law, P.A. takes a holistic approach when working with Elder Law clients.  When developing an estate plan with our clients, we feel it is imperative to look at the whole person, including current and future medical needs, family dynamics, current and projected finances, and personal goals.  

 

The failure to plan ahead can lead to unnecessary stress and added expense upon disability or death.  By putting a plan into place, it will make it easier for your family members and loved ones in the event that you are unable to manage your own affairs.  Many people do not realize that much more is required beyond a standard Last Will and Testament.  A will covers what happens to your assets after your death, but Elder Law involves more than just planning for the end, but also for the care and protection that may be required in advance of that.

 

According to recent reports, nursing homes in Florida can cost anywhere between $90,000 and $130,000 annually.  Individuals typically remain in nursing homes for 3 years on average, but this figure nearly doubles for individuals with cognitive issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Paying privately for this kind of care is simply unsustainable for most families.  The attorneys of DeBellis Law can help you develop and implement a plan to prepare for the costs of long-term care.

Paying privately for long term care over an extended period of time is simply not possible for most families. There are some government benefits, such as Medicaid and the Aid & Attendance Pension offered by the Veterans Administration, that will cover most of the cost of long-term care costs for you or a loved one.  However, these programs are “means-tested,” which means that there are strict income and asset limits in order to qualify for each program. 

 

At DeBellis Law, we take an in-depth look at your current and projected finances and health to determine whether you may be eligible for these benefits now or in the future.  Most people receiving these types of benefits do not automatically meet the income and asset requirements.  Without the guidance of an experienced Elder Law attorney, many people are forced to spend down their assets on private-pay care before qualifying.  At DeBellis Law, we can work with you to reduce and protect your assets in a way that the law permits in order to obtain eligibility for these benefits.  If you or a loved one is concerned about the current or future cost of care, schedule a consultation now.

Qualifying for Medicaid or Aid & Attendance

Long Term Care Insurance

Most people who have purchased long term care insurance believe that they do not have to do any additional long-term care planning because their cost of care will be covered in full by their policy.  Although long term care insurance is an excellent tool and can provide great benefits, most policies have limits or caps for the amount paid on your behalf.  If you or your loved one needs care in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or full-time care at home, most policies will not cover those costs in full, and you will have out-of-pocket expenses.  It may be necessary to do some additional planning in order to manage these extra costs.  DeBellis Law can help review your current long-term care policy and determine the best course of action as the cost of care continues to increase.   

Protecting Assets for Future Generations

At DeBellis Law, we provide a full range of legal services tailored to meet the needs of our clients.  In addition to our extensive experience drafting wills and trusts, our specialized knowledge of strategic long-term care planning tools will help to protect and shelter your assets in order to qualify for governmental benefits without having to spend down your hard-earned money.  By utilizing some of these tools, we can protect assets so that they pass to future generations instead of spending money on the high cost of long-term care.  

Help for Your Parents

As we age, we start to rely on those we trust to manage our finances and major life decisions.  Often, as parents age and become unable to manage their own affairs, one or more of the children or close family members take on that responsibility.  This can be particularly difficult when your parent lives in Florida and you live out of state.

 

At DeBellis Law, we understand that caring for a parent while managing your own busy life can seem overwhelming.  Obtaining care for the aging is a very difficult area to navigate, especially when you have no experience in doing so.  The attorneys and staff of DeBellis Law will help guide you through this process and will make sure your loved ones receive the care they need while protecting their assets.  Even if your parents are in good health, we can suggest many planning techniques to prepare for long term care costs and incapacity in the future.

Our office is located in Palm Beach Gardens, but we are happy to schedule a consultation closer to you or in your home, particularly if you or a loved one has difficulty travelling. 

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