Elder Law Firm

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. My Will was executed in a different state. Do I need to execute a new will in Florida?
    1. If the Will was validly executed in the other state, it is valid in Florida. However, you should have it reviewed by an estate planning attorney in Florida, to ensure the Will is self-proving and it still meets your needs.

  2. Besides a Will, what other estate planning documents do I need?
    1. In addition to a Will, I encourage my clients to execute Advanced Directives i.e. Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate with a Pre-Need Guardian, Living Will and Medical Authorization.

  3. My child is disabled. How can I ensure he or she is taken care of when I pass away?
    1. You will most likely need to create a Special Needs Trust to ensure your plan for the disposition of your assets does not interfere with your child’s eligibility for public benefits (i.e. Medicaid or SSI). In addition to doing special needs planning, you may want to consider appointing a standby guardian advocate, if you are currently serving as your child’s guardian advocate.

  4. How complicated is probate?
    1. In Florida probate proceedings are not as complicated as you may have heard. Pursuant to Florida law, probate attorneys must adhere to strict time requirements for the completion of formal probate proceedings. A formal probate proceeding can be completed in 6-12 months. Please read my legal guide on the issue.

  5. My relative is incapacitated, do I need a guardianship?
    1. It depends. Whether or not a guardianship is necessary is dependent on a number of factors. Please read my legal guide on the issue.

  6. My child has a developmental disability, and I am being told I need a guardianship. What do I need to do?
    1. In Florida, there is a special proceeding for developmentally disabled persons called Guardian Advocate Proceedings. Parents of children with developmental disabilities face challenges when those children reach the age of 18. When this happens, parents no longer retain the legal authority to make decisions for their children. Guardian Advocate proceedings enable a family member or caregiver of an individual with developmental disabilities to acquire legal authority to act on the individual’s behalf. Florida Statute § 393.12 governs Guardian Advocate appointments.

  7. If I go on Medicaid, will the state take my home?
    1. No. As long as an applicant for Medicaid Assistance intends to return to his or her home (it doesn’t matter that you can’t return to your home, only that you would if you could), the state will not take the applicant’s homestead property. There are many Medicaid guidelines regarding a Medicaid applicant’s homestead property. An experienced elder law attorney can explain the guidelines that are relevant to you. In addition to explaining the Medicaid guidelines regarding homestead property, an experienced elder law attorney can ensure your homestead property passes to who you desire, upon your death.

  8. My spouse needs to go to a nursing home, will I need to deplete our life savings for his or her care?
    1. No There are Medicaid guidelines that can protect you. An experienced elder law attorney can help you develop a life care plan for your spouse which ensures he or she is properly cared for without impoverishing yourself in the process.

  9. I think my relative is being exploited by his or her caregiver. What can I do?
    1. You should report the suspected exploitation immediately. Call the Elder Abuse Hotline at (800) 962-2873.

  10. If I can't afford your services in full right now, can I pay in installment payments?
    1. Yes. I work with clients to ensure that my services are affordable and meet their financial needs