Elder law is an area of legal practice that deals with matters that affect the aging population. The goal of elder law planning is to prepare the elderly person for financial freedom and autonomy through planning of finances and long-term care options.
Van is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. We handle a range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Medicare, Medicaid, and other long-term planning needs.
Special Needs Trusts
We can offer guidance to the trustees, financial planners and personal injury attorneys whose clients are individuals with disabilities and their families. We can advise whether or not a special needs trust (SNT) should be created to hold funds, and we can assist trustees regarding SNT distributions that will not disqualify for public benefits
The following are some areas of law important to the elderly:
• End of life Planning. This could extend to planning your health care support system as you age, setting power of attorney, establishing a living will, and other issues surrounding end of life care.
• Financial issues. This often covers retirement and financial planning, housing financing, income and estate tax planning, and gift tax issues.
• Long term care. This could include planning for asset protection, insurance for in-home care or assistance with activities of daily living, Medicare planning, insurance, Veterans benefits, and more.
• Workplace discrimination issues. Older Americans sometimes face age and disability discrimination in the workplace; we can help you evaluate such claims and pursue claims.
• Guardianship issues. This might include guardianship avoidance, planning wills and trusts, planning for the future of special needs children, probate court, and other issues surrounding minor or adult children.
• Abuse, neglect, and fraud. We may be able to assist in cases where an older client is being victimized. In these cases, we may serve as a victims advocate and help get the client placed in a safer area if needed or get restitution from the abuser.
Our business and commercial practice encompasses a large body of work that spans multiple sub specialties. From planning and forming your new business, to navigating management of corporate assets, internal reorganizations, shareholder issues or the purchase or sale of a business, we have the experience necessary to guide you through these waters.
We can assist in handling all legal matters related to real estate, including disputes and transactions. We write and review purchase agreements, title and transfer documents, and other important documents. We also can help deal with realtors and title companies to make sure the property transaction is legal and in the best interest of the client.
The death of a family member can cause questions and uncertainties about property ownership, real estate title, access to bank accounts and funds for final expenses, how to deal with creditors and how to protect assets of the estate. Probate is the general area of law which deals with these questions and issues, and we will be glad to assist. Probate is the process of dealing with assets in the name of the deceased person. Depending on the size of the estate and the kinds of assets involved, there may be summary procedures available to simplify the passing of ownership. For other estates, more formal probate is necessary which involves filing the case with the probate court and having an executor or administrator appointed to take charge of the assets and see to the orderly payment of creditors and distribution of the assets of the estate.
Many assets of a person's estate pass by designation of beneficiaries, such as life insurance, pension plans, IRAs,and other assets where a beneficiary can be designated. We can help decide which assets pass to beneficiaries and which assets will be part of the probate estate.
Real estate title issues can arise when estates have never been probated for persons who died years earlier. When the time comes to sell or otherwise deal with real estate interests of a decedent that have never been probated, it may not be possible to have clear title. It may require some determination of the heirs of the decedent in order to deal with real estate title.
We will be pleased to help deal with any of these issues, whether a family member has recently passed away or whether there are title issues from years ago.
We can assist in planning for protection and orderly transition of personal assets. This area of practice most commonly deals with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, business succession planning, asset protection through various agreements and trusts, charitable giving and other estate planning vehicles.
At the heart of every estate plan is what the client holds dearest: children, spouse, life partner, or friend; faith or community organization; even pets. Working around this, a successful plan considers the risks and challenges that may be faced, such as death or illness, and seeks to prepare for these.
When we help you with your estate planning, we create documents that convey your intentions for your assets after death, identify those responsible for settling any debts and distributing your assets, and express your preferences with regard to your care if you become disabled before death. Typical estate documents include wills, trusts, healthcare and financial powers of attorney, and living wills.
Too many people wait to establish wills and trusts because they simply don’t want to think about it. But it is so important to put your wishes in a legal document so that they can be carried out and not challenged. Often, people think that if they don’t yet have children, they don’t need a will. Everyone should have a will. You may have assets you don’t realize. If you die without a will, a court will decide how to distribute those assets. Trusts are also a vital planning tool. In many cases, trusts can save an estate a money by avoiding probate. We can advise you on whether your estate and your goals warrant establishing a trust. Then we can draft a trust that will achieve those goals. We handle revocable and irrevocable trusts.
We provide competent and skilled advocacy along with a practical and pragmatic approach to resolving disputes. If trial is appropriate for the case, we are prepared to be in the courtroom. If other approaches to resolving your case are required, then we take those paths. We also have experience with arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution that may be appropriate for your case.