Gracie Questions & Answers

Q: What is an Elder Law Attorney?

A. Elder law attorneys are lawyers who specialize in helping seniors with a variety of legal issues. The specialty of “elder law” evolved in the 1980s as it became increasingly clear that the complicated legal issues confronting seniors — in particular qualifying for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care — were beyond the expertise of general-practice attorneys.

Q: How does Elder law or elder care attorneys typically help families?

A. Typically they plan for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, and apply for coverage when the time comes; plan and administer an estate; represent guardians and conservators; and create and administer trust.

Q: What is a Pet Trust?

A. A pet trust is a estate planning strategy you may use to be sure your pet receives proper care after you die or in the event of your disability.

Q. Does Florida law provides for animal owners to create Pet Trusts?

A. Yes. Florida’s Pet Trust statute (F.S. 737.116) gives pet owners the ability to name their pet as the beneficiary of a trust created for the pet’s lifetime benefit.A trustee should be appointed to administer the trust assets and oversee the activities of the pet caregiver. An Animal Care Panel can also be appointed for additional protection of the pets.

Q. When is a pet trust created?

A. You may create a pet trust either (1) while you are still alive (an “inter vivos” or “living” trust) or (2) when you die by including the trust provisions in your will (a “testamentary” trust).

Q. What is hospice care?

A. Hospice care is a formal system of care, specific to end of life for individuals who have a life-limiting illness that is no longer responsive to curative treatment. The patient must be certified by a physician to have approximately 6 months or less to live. Hospice care is provided by certified hospice agencies.

Q. My children would like me to execute a Power of Attorney. Do I need one and who should I appoint?

A. Everyone should consider signing a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you (the principal) to appoint another individual (your agent) to act in your place for the purposes stated in the document. Powers of attorney can be used to assist you in managing your day-to-day financial affairs. For example, a power of attorney can grant your appointed agent the authority to write checks on your behalf or to sell or purchase property for you. A power of attorney may also be used to permit someone to act on your behalf in the event of a sudden emergency or to manage your affairs if you should become incapacitated.

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