With Over 100 Years of Elder Law Experience Our Team Can Help Guide You Through Every Step of your Elder Law Needs
Protecting the rights and dignity of elders throughout Seminole County and Volusia County, including Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona, Orange City, DeBary, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange, Astor, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater since 1902.
If you are in need of an elder law attorney, we have a dedicated team of attorneys and support staff ready to help. Our elder law team is experienced in estate planning, revocable trusts, probate, Medicaid planning, elder abuse, nursing home abuse, Veteran Benefits and more.
While it’s never pleasant to address issues of illness, old age or sudden death (especially if you’re healthy and enjoying life), confronting these topics and planning for what’s to come should be one of your highest priorities.
No matter what age you are or how healthy you may be, it is extremely important to create your estate plan early and it’s best to revisit it often, as your assets fluctuate and your relationships have the potential to change.
In life we learn to expect the unexpected, but with the guidance of the right elder law attorney you can establish security for yourself and your loved ones.
At Landis Graham French we develop long-term relationships with each of our clients and their families. With our guidance, understanding and expertise, we assist clients with all facets of estate planning, including:
- Revocable Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Pet Trusts
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Health Care Surrogate
- Living Will
- Medical Authorization
For more information on Estate Planning, contact our elder law team at (386) 734-3451.
A will helps assure that your wishes are carried out when the time comes to distribute your assets and settle your estate. The drafting of a will also names an individual you trust to oversee the process.
A living trust is an invaluable estate planning instrument that ensures assets inside the trust are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries as designated by the trustee without having to go through probate. The Elder Law team at Landis Graham French can help you decide if a revocable trust is right for you.
Special Needs Trusts
The goal of a Special Needs Trust is to protect one’s financial assets, while still maintaining eligibility for assistance like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the high cost of care. At Landis Graham French we can help you provide for yourself, a disabled child or family member with a self-settled, third party or pooled Special Needs Trust.
Our elder law team can find a way for disabled individuals and their families to pay for the high costs associated with quality living assistance and medical care, so they may preserve their assets for needs not covered by public aid. For more information contact us at (386) 734-3451.
If you’re facing probate matters in the wake of a death of a loved one, the probate attorneys at Landis Graham French will thoughtfully and efficiently handle the process until the estate is closed.
There are two options for administering an estate: by Formal Administration and by Summary Administration. In addition to these forms, there is a more simple proceeding called Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.
The most involved of the three Probate proceedings, a Formal Administration can take 6-12 months or more to complete. Summary Administration is a less complex, less time-consuming form of estate administration. Pursuant to F.S. § 735.201, Summary Administration may be used when it the value of the entire estate subject to administration does not appear to exceed $75,000.00 or the decedent of the estate has been dead for more than 2 years.
Pursuant to F.S. § 735.301, Disposition of Personal Property without Administration can be used when the value of the decedent’s assets does not exceed the sum of the amount of funeral expenses—as well as reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred within the last 60 days of the decedent’s last illness. This proceeding does not require the assistance of an attorney.
The attorneys at Landis Graham and French also handle ancillary administrations for out of state decedents who own Florida property.
Whether your probate needs involve a simple Summary Administration, a more complex Formal Administration or no administration at all, the detailed legal process of administering an estate calls for the guidance and representation of a highly skilled probate attorney.
The need to seek guardianship may arise for a number of reasons, among those:
Guardianship of an incapacitated person involves a legal proceeding that safeguards incapacitated persons and their property by transferring all or certain rights from them to a guardian. The Court can appoint a guardian of the person, property or both, depending on the incapacitated person’s condition. A guardian of the person is responsible for making sure the incapacitated person is properly cared for and protected from exploitation and/or self-neglect. A guardian of the property is in charge of the incapacitated person’s finances. At Landis Graham French we represent family and professional guardians of incapacitated persons who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, developmental disabilities and other incapacity disorders.
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 744.3025 Claims of Minors, if a minor receives more than $15,000.00 from a claim for personal injury, property damage, wrongful death, or other cause of action, a guardianship will be necessary to oversee the child’s Settlement proceeds. Ms. Gloersen represents guardians of minors who as a result of litigation from car accidents, dog bites, vaccine injuries, or other personal injury cases received more than $15,000.00.
The guardianship attorneys at Landis Graham French can help you attain the legal guardianship of a child or adult in need.
Unlike Guardianship proceedings, Guardian Advocate proceedings do not require that the individual be declared incapacitated for a Guardian Advocate to be appointed. Guardian Advocate proceedings require that the Ward be diagnosed with a developmental disorder, such as mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida or Prader-Willi syndrome, prior to the age of 18, constituting a lifelong handicap.
When a developmentally disabled child reaches the age of 18, parents are immediately at risk of losing the ability to make life care decisions concerning the disabled person’s finances, medical care and life care.
Through Guardian Advocate proceedings, Landis Graham French can help you or a loved one maintain the ability to make life care decisions for a developmentally disabled person.
As we grow old our physical and mental abilities continuously decline, and at some point the need for medical assistance and daily care becomes inevitable. If you or a family member has a disability, a debilitating condition or special needs, finances are likely to become an unwelcome issue.
Without long-term care insurance and proper planning, a person’s assets will be extinguished in order to pay for the high costs of care. Unfortunately, spouses and families can be left destitute in the process, unless proper planning is undertaken.
Medicaid planning consists of taking action legally to restructure assets in order to obtain Medicaid eligibility, which helps pay for the high costs related to long-term care and medical assistance.
Through Medicaid planning, our elder law team does everything in their power to prevent a well spouse from becoming impoverished in order to pay for the skilled care of their institutionalized partner.
The elder law attorneys at Landis Graham French will guide you through the Medicaid planning process to ensure you get the affordable care you require if your health declines or the needs of an impaired loved one should increase. They are experienced in a range of government benefit matters, including Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans’ Benefits.
Elder and Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
With more than 2 million reported cases each year, elderly abuse is an all too common occurrence. Sadly, nearly 10% of the elderly population will suffer some form of elder abuse or neglect, according to Statistic Brain Research. Unfortunately, the vast majority of elder and nursing home abuse incidents are never reported.
What is elder abuse and neglect?
Abuse: The act of causing physical or emotional harm, unreasonable confinement and deprivation of care that results in physical and/or mental pain or distress. This includes, but is not limited to, yelling, kicking, pinching, inadequate food and water and confinement.
Neglect: The failure to provide the necessary level of care to ensure an individual is not in pain, harmed or injured. This includes, but is not limited to, not dispensing medications as prescribed, prolonged deprivation of food and water and maintaining unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
What are the signs of elder abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained or repeated injuries
- Bruises or broken bones
- Change in behavior or attitude towards caregiver
- Signs of pressure marks
- Unsanitary conditions
Elder abuse and neglect by a caregiver or nursing home is not always easy to detect. And your loved one may be afraid or otherwise unable to share these types of experiences with you. But help is available.
The Veterans Administration offers several benefit programs for eligible veterans and surviving spouses including a low-income pension, aid and attendance benefits and a housebound benefit program, providing the veteran or surviving spouse meets eligibility requirements.
General Requirements for Veterans’ Benefits:
A veteran must have served at least 90 days or more of active duty to qualify for benefits. One of those days must have been during a wartime period including, but not limited to, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era and the Gulf War. Additionally, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged. The surviving spouse of a veteran may also benefit from veterans’ benefits programs so long as he or she was married to the veteran at the time of his or her death and does not subsequently remarry.
There are two types of benefits available: service connected benefits and non-service connected benefits. If a Veteran meets the requirements above, and becomes disabled as a result of an injury sustained during active service, the veteran will be qualified to receive service connected benefits.
There are two programs available for senior veterans and their spouses for non-service connected benefits: 1) VA pension and 2) Aid and Attendance. In addition to the requirements above, the veteran or his or her surviving spouse, must meet certain income and assets requirements. To qualify for the Aid and Attendance program, the Veteran must also need assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, transferring, medication management and etc.). Often the pension or Aid and Attendance benefits can be enough to pay for in-home assistance or an Assisted Living Facility.
Landis Graham French has an accredited attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and can help you determine if you or a loved one qualifies for veterans’ benefits.
If you are in need of an estate planning attorney to handle your elder law needs, or if you have reason to believe that your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse or neglect in Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona or DeBary, please contact the Elder Law team at Landis Graham French at (386) 734-3451 for a consultation.