As we age, there are important legal issues for seniors to consider in terms of health, wealth, and even family situations. Each of these areas may benefit from the assistance of an elder law attorney. If you’ve never utilized the expertise of this type of attorney, you may be unfamiliar with all of the legal services they can offer. Here are some things to consider if you need an elder law attorney in Florida.
What is an Elder Law Attorney?
An elder law attorney is a lawyer who specializes in helping individuals and families with an aging loved one. Their expertise covers a wide range of potential issues including health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, public benefits, etc. In addition, they assist with trusts, wills, probate, and probate avoidance. Elder law attorneys can draft important legal documents that may be needed such as durable powers of attorney, advance directives, and living wills.
When Should I Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
While there is no specific age for hiring an elder law attorney, it is recommended that you begin preparing important legal documents and advocating for the wishes of your estate as you age. When you hire an elder care attorney it allows you to protect your finances, navigate elder law issues regarding your estate, and have an advocate who can assist in family decisions or disputes.
Even if you or your aging family member has not encountered difficult health and/or end-of-life concerns, beginning your planning ahead of time can help ensure that your wishes will be followed and the impact of probate and court delays will be minimized. Establishing a relationship with an elder law attorney early means that you will have someone who knows your wishes for any life issues that may occur in the future. Ultimately, this type of preparation helps protect your family and your assets after your passing.
What Types of Questions Should I Ask an Elder Law Attorney?
There is a lot of specialization among attorneys. And even amongst elder law attorneys, they may have a specific specialty within the elder law field, such as Medicaid and VA planning. You want to ensure that the attorney you choose to hire for your loved one specializes in the kind of legal assistance that is relevant to your situation. Some questions to ask may include:
- How long have you practiced law?
- How much time do you devote to elder law?
- Do you have a specific emphasis on elder law?
- What information should I bring with me to our initial meeting?
- How do you bill your clients?
What is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?
Estate planning and elder law often get confused with one another because of the overlap that exists between establishing what happens to your money when you die (estate planning) and managing your money while you are alive but older and/or in poor health (elder law). While different, estate planning and elder law often go hand-in-hand because elder law attorneys are experts at estate planning.
If you need an elder law attorney, we can help. At The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. we understand the nuances of the law related to the care and concerns common for older adults and can help you think through the many concerns that may arise. To effectively plan for the wishes you want to be carried out, contact us today.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2021, but has been updated for freshness and accuracy.
The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen is pleased to announce the expansion of its practice to serve Indian River County, Florida!
Ms. Van Fossen said, “In response to client demand, we are eager to expand into Indian River County. We look forward to serving our neighbors with the same quality and compassion as we have in Brevard County since 2004.” This expanded practice area allows the experienced team of attorneys at the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen to represent more individuals along Florida’s eastern central coast.
Families in Indian River County needing expert care for their aging veterans will now have access to expertise in veterans affairs. Ms. Van Fossen said, “As an Elder Law firm, we offer a unique practice that assists in attaining public benefits. With three VA accredited attorneys on staff, we are able to serve our Veterans with knowledge and confidence in obtaining benefits.” Families in Indian River County needing expert care for their aging veterans will now have access to specialized care in this unique area of the law and a full range of elder law services.
The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen understands the deeply personal aspects of elder care law. The team provides practices in elder law, estate planning, guardian advocacy, case management, probate and trust administration, trust funding, Medicaid planning, and veterans benefits.
Located at 211 E New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901, you can contact The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen at (321) 345-5945. To learn more about their full range of services, visit www.amybvanfossen.com. Learn more about monthly Seminars and Events or register for a VA Benefits Seminar, Medicaid Planning Seminar, Estate Planning Workshop, and Trust Follow-Up Seminar on the website as well.
There is a lot to consider when making estate plans. Legal issues, health concerns, and costs may all be changing as family members work to make sure their aging loved ones are cared for in the best way possible. Two terms that come up often in this stage of life are estate planning and elder law. As you work to care for your loved one, you may be wondering, “What is the difference between estate planning and elder law?” Our attorneys at the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. are here to answer this question and other legal advice related to the legal services, health, and estate care of your family member.
What is Estate Planning?
Someone’s “estate” includes everything they own. Proper estate plans may include someone’s home, car, additional real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, physical possessions, and/or investments. Regardless of how much or how little someone has accumulated in their lifetime, it still has to go somewhere after they pass. The process of estate planning determines how and where you want your estate to go while planning for the smallest impact on taxes, court, and legal costs.
What is Elder Law?
Elder law is a specialized law practice focused on caring for the decisions of someone who has become incapacitated and/or at the end of life. The training of elder law attorneys equips them to handle the specialized needs of older adults, such as concerns related to medical care, nursing homes, long-term care, or even crisis planning. At the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, we are committed to welcoming you into a caring environment to discuss your concerns for your aging loved one.
Why Should I Hire An Elder Law Attorney?
Many people wonder if they need an elder law attorney. An elder law attorney is generally recommended for anyone after the age of 60 to begin preparing estate planning documents, power of attorney, etc. Even if you or your loved one have not encountered difficult health and/or end-of-life concerns, beginning your planning ahead of time can help assure that your wishes will be followed and the impact of probate and court delays will be minimized.
How do Estate Planning & Elder Law Work Together?
Estate planning and elder law go hand-in-hand because specialized elder care law attorneys are experts at estate planning. Because we understand the nuances of the law related to the care and concerns common for older adults, we can help you think through the many concerns that can arise during those years and effectively plan for the wishes you want to be carried out.
Whether you are just beginning to consider estate planning or elder law needs, or you have found yourself in a situation where you need to create plans and documents quickly, we can help. Please contact the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. for all your elder care and estate planning needs!
As we age, many of us begin to consider issues we may have not thought about during our younger years. In addition to considerations like health and retirement, many people begin to ask questions about their finances and estate. What kind of support might I need as I age? How can I make sure I am not a burden to my children? What will happen to my assets once I am gone? At what age should I contact an elder law attorney?
These kinds of questions are common. Not knowing the answers is common too! The knowledgeable and compassionate staff at The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen are experts in elder law services, available to help older adults with legal matters related to aging and/or incapacitation so that your important wishes are documented and carried out.
Why is Elder Law an Important Practice Area?
Since 1965, the Older Americans Act (OAA) has been federally protecting certain services for senior citizens. From this, legal services were created to help older adults, resulting in the important, specialized practice of elder law. Working with an attorney with this specialty offers asset protection for older adults seeking to protect their estate from probate, unnecessary taxes, or decisions made by someone other than the trusted individual of your choice.
At What Age Should You Contact An Elder Law Attorney?
After recognizing that you may need specialized legal advice from an elder law attorney you may wonder, “When is the best time to contact an elder law attorney?”
As a general rule, elder care law may be sought after the age of 60. It is recommended if you’re in your 60s or 70s, you may benefit from working with an elder law attorney. However, establishing basic estate planning documents such as a power of attorney or healthcare surrogate are recommended as soon as you become a legal adult at the age of 18.
By contacting an elder law attorney during these years, you have the advantage of considering legal issues with someone who specializes in concerns that can develop in someone’s older years. Additionally, you can also factor in more immediate life changes that may be occurring such as retirement, changing from full-time to part-time work, and/or any health conditions that may later require nursing home care or power of attorney.
While immediate and long-term care planning may seem like a lot to consider, having these discussions now ensures that your health, financial, and/or estate decisions will be carried out should you become incapacitated. And, it also protects your family members or parties of interest that you wish to be provided for following your passing.
Let Our Elder Law Attorneys Care for Your Specialized Needs
We recognize that no matter your age, it can be difficult to consider end-of-life or incapacitation issues. However, doing so with an expert in these matters can make it easier, offer peace of mind, and help you feel confident that you have made wise, protected choices for yourself and your loved ones whenever those difficult days come. Contact our elder care law firm experts at The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen today.
Today’s tip of the day for case management is to have an emergency plan. Ask yourself some questions. If you were to fall ill tomorrow and you had to go to the hospital, do you have someone to lean on? Have you written down your preferences? Do you know what hospital you would want to go to, what pharmacies you’d want to use? Even if it were a long stay, do you know what rehabilitation facilities you would want to use or what home health agencies you’d want to use?
Think about your trusted person, do they know your preferences? Have you written them down? If you haven’t, then now is a good time to start. And if you are not so sure how to start with all of those options and need some help, a case manager is right there for you. They’re in touch with these agencies all the time and oftentimes can tell you the good and the bad about many of them, even payer sources, and how to get help to pay for some of these things if they’re not covered by insurance.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, At the Law Offices of Amy B. Van Fossen, we’re always here to help. Contact us with any questions regarding case management.
The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen is celebrating 18 years as a legal service specializing in estate planning, elder law, and closely related practice areas.
How We Began
The former Law Office of Amy B. Jackson P.A. officially became the Law Office of Amy B. Fossen P.A. in 2004. Ms. Van Fossen established a practice in Brevard County that would serve Florida’s interests related to elder care, including multiple specialties. Through the years, specialties have expanded to include Estate Planning, Case Management, Guardianship, Probate, VA Planning, Medicaid Planning, Silver Divorce, and Civil Litigation. The most recent specialty is Trust Management, including Trust Maintenance.
Ms. Van Fossen’s road to serving the elder community in Florida began with an undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior from Rollins College, followed by her JD from Barry University School of Law earned in 2003. She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004.
Why We Are “Family”
When establishing her company, Ms. Van Fossen realized that many people need or want legal counsel but may be intimidated by the idea of talking with a lawyer. Her goal was to create a comfortable, relaxed environment where people could ask important questions. One of the goals of the company is to become your “counselors for life.” They achieve this by listening to your goals and concerns, getting to know you, and offering legal solutions in easy to understand language. In all these years, more than a few clients have become lifelong friends through this process.
In addition to this comfortable environment for you and your family, The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen has quite literally become a family affair as well. Ms. Van Fossen’s two daughters, Katie and Savannah, also share her passion for the elder community. Katie is now a second-generation attorney, chairing the Probate, Medicaid, & VA departments for The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. And, Savannah is also contributing to the care of the elder as an RN.
Interests, Awards, and Accolades
Ms. Van Fossen’s passion for elder care has earned her and her company many accolades, including:
- Client Champion 2021 – An exclusive achievement that fewer than 1% attain
- Accreditation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for Aid and Attendance Claims, making her one of Brevard County’s only VA accredited attorneys
- Business Partner of the Year for Holland & Palm Bay Elementary Schools (2015-2016)
- Overall Small Business Partner of the Year Award for Brevard County Public Schools (2016)
- Business Spotlight for Florida Today (May 2015)
In addition to these business recognitions, Ms. Van Fossen herself has a strong personal interest in local youth, animal rescue, and supporting individuals with special needs. She is a Club Esteem Ambassador which serves youth from economically disadvantaged communities.
Where We Are Now
From its establishment in 2004, The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen now has three additional full-time attorneys as well as ten employees who serve as legal assistants, benefits specialists, paralegals, case management, administrators, and office assistants in our new location in downtown Melbourne, Florida.
At The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, we are proud of our 18 years of elder care law serving Florida residents in and around Florida’s Space Coast. For all your elder law needs, please contact our caring team at 321.345.5945. We look forward to meeting with you!