For decades, Verras Law has been providing superior elder law services throughout Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg. Lead attorney Spiro J. Verras is known to be knowledgeable, highly skilled, and personally concerned with the well-being of his clients. His in-depth understanding of the challenges of aging makes him a wise choice when it comes to dealing with elder law issues.
As baby boomers age, a significant portion of the population is looking for assistance about how best to protect their assets, manage their legacies, and ensure that their wishes regarding healthcare and wealth distribution are carried out. At the same time, their adult children or other close family members are trying to keep their senior relatives comfortable, safe, and well-prepared for the future.
What Sets Verras Law Apart
We maintain a dual perspective by looking at each elder law situation from the point of view of both the older person and the person who provides their care and support. Both roles can be difficult and confusing, so we are sensitive to the dynamics of the relationship.
While older individuals typically have an increasing need for help with transportation, financial matters, lifting, etc., in most cases they also want to maintain their independence. On the other hand, the concerned relative is typically stressed as they try to balance their loved one’s need for autonomy with their own profound desire to protect their loved one from harm. Spiro Verras fine-tunes his advice to be diplomatic as well as effective.
Elder Law Services Verras Law Offers
Once you contact our talented elder law attorney, he will clarify the following matters as they pertain to your particular circumstances and help you with:
- Asset protection planning
- Healthcare planning with advanced medical directives
- Long-term care planning for assisted living or home health care
- Maintaining eligibility for Medicaid by creating an irrevocable trust
- Establishing other trusts for various purposes (e.g. special needs or spendthrift trusts)
- Creating conservatorships or guardianships
Estate Planning for Older Clients in Florida
More older adults than you might imagine have never created an estate plan and now realize it is essential to do so. Other seniors, while they have created estate plans, have failed to review and update them for too long. Whether you have to start at the beginning or revise documents to reflect your present circumstances, we are here to help.
Foundational Documents We Will Prepare for You
We are well aware that no two clients are in identical situations, so we take the time to get to know the details of your life so we can properly customize your plans and documents. Even so, every client needs the following foundational documents:
- Last Will and Testament (Will) to name a personal representative and beneficiaries and, if necessary, a guardian for a minor child in your care (e.g. a grandchild)
- Durable Power of Attorney to authorize a trusted individual to manage your financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated
- Health Care Proxy to appoint the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself
- HIPAA Release form to name the family members you want to have access to your private medical information
- Advance Directive (Living Will) to state your wishes concerning end-of-life care, detailing which life-saving measures you want to be taken or not taken if you are unable to express your wishes.
You May Need One or More Irrevocable Trusts as Part of Your Estate Plan
Some of our clients are best served by having a trust-based, rather than will-based, estate plan. This is most often true for individuals or couples with high-net-worth or complex estates, for example, those in which the client owns multiple properties outside the state of Florida.
A will-based estate must go through the probate process, which can be costly and time-consuming for complicated estates. For this reason, it is beneficial for such clients to create a trust-based estate plan. The creation of a revocable (“living”) trust accelerates the distribution of funds to your beneficiaries and also keeps your financial information private since trusts, unlike wills, are not a matter of public record.
Beyond the possible need for a revocable trust to avoid probate, we may also recommend one or more irrevocable trusts. These trusts are designed to be helpful in specific circumstances, such as to:
- Protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, divorcing spouses, and estate taxes
- Provide money for a special needs person while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits
- Protect an irresponsible or addicted beneficiary from their own worst impulses
- Provide for a pet you predecease
Planning for Possible Incapacity
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of Americans over age 65 will require long-term care at some point. This means that all of us should prepare for possible incapacity and end-of-life care by having the above foundational documents drafted and executed.
In addition, because the vast majority of individuals and families cannot afford to pay for long-term healthcare at home or at in-patient facilities, it is imperative to prepare for this eventuality. Our elder care attorneys will help you to do so by, for example, assisting you in:
- Obtaining long-term healthcare insurance
- Connecting you with other talented professionals
- Creating a trust so that you can qualify for government benefits while protecting your resources
In most cases, as people age, they need more and more assistance navigating their daily routines. In some cases, this means that they require someone to handle any necessary financial and legal actions as well as their personal care.
One task we take very seriously at Verras Law is establishing guardianships or conservatorships when necessary. Both of these arrangements legally authorize a more competent person (the guardian or conservator) to oversee and guide the vulnerable person(the ward). The difference between the two is that the guardian plays a more personal guiding role, while the conservator manages only finances. Frequently, one person takes on both roles.
Contact Our Experienced Elder Law Attorney Today
At Verras Law, we routinely assist older adults who want to create, update, or revise their estate plans. We also advise loved ones about how best to help their older family member handle the challenges of aging. We have the know-how and empathy to guide you to appropriate decisions. Contact us now to talk to Spiro J. Verras for the competence and compassion only a seasoned elder law attorney can provide.
Verras Law provides elder law services for clients in and around Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg.