Answers To Your Pressing Estate Planning And Elder Law Questions
Caring for your loved ones and planning for your family’s future are crucial but come with plenty of questions. At Heuler-Wakeman Law Group, P.L. our attorneys combine for more than 50 years of estate planning and elder law experience, serving clients in Tallahassee and throughout Florida.
Below, we provide the answer to some of the most common questions we receive from potential clients. For advice on your specific circumstances we invite you to call 850-792-8496 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
“I’m young. Do I really need a will?”
No one wants to think too hard about the “what ifs” in life, particularly the grim ones like “what would happen to my loved ones and assets if I died tomorrow?” Unfortunately, what happens tomorrow is out of our control. What we can do is control whether or not we’re as prepared as possible. Having a last will and testament in place is important for people of all ages. If you have children it’s critical to make sure there is a plan in place to provide the resources and support they will need in your absence.
“Won’t the State just figure it all out if I don’t have a will?”
Yes, but that’s the same state that makes you shudder every time it’s time to renew your driver’s license, pay your tabs, or schedule an inspection. Do you really want to leave your life’s legacy up to the state and send them through a process that can resemble a trip to the DMV? Having an estate plan is your opportunity to make your wishes known, provide for your children and other heirs, and leave the gift of peace of mind for those you leave behind.
“How can I care for a family member with special needs?”
If your child, parent, other loved one or a friend is unable to make critical decisions on their own it may be time to pursue a guardianship. A guardianship is a legal arrangement that allows an appointed guardian to make decisions on a person’s behalf. Guardianships are often sought to help people physical or mental disabilities, dementia, and other special needs.
What can I do to make sure I have the resources I need for long-term care?
Planning now while you’re relatively healthy can help you avoid spending a disproportionate amount of your estate’s financial assets in the event you need long-term care as you age. Careful planning can minimize your tax exposure and take advantage of the resources available via programs such as Medicaid.
How can I make sure my healthcare financial wishes are respected?
One of the reasons it’s so important to engage such elder law issues with forethought while you’re healthy is that, once you’re incapacitated by illness, it’s too late. Creating living wills and/or advance directives now is the best way to make sure your healthcare wishes are followed when you are sick or otherwise incapacitated. It also relieves your children and other loved ones of the burden that comes with making life-or-death situations without knowing what you would have wanted.
What happens if I’m not able to make decisions about my finances at the end of my life?
Much like an advance directive or living will can make your healthcare of end-of-life wishes known, a durable power of attorney (DPOA) can put your mind at ease when it comes to your future finances. You can choose a trusted individual such as a child, sibling, friend, or attorney to step in and make financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated.