Elder Law is a legal term coined to cover an area of legal practice that places an emphasis on those issues that affect the growing aging population. Giordano & Heckele, PLLC offers the following Elder Law legal services:
We provide comprehensive estate planning services to our clients as part of our long-term planning, including preparation of:
We often work as a team with other professional advisors, such as accountants and financial planners, to ensure the most comprehensive service to our clients.
Guardianship and Conservatorship
Unfortunately, many people have not planned ahead and do not have life planning documents, such as powers of attorney or a trust. If they are already incapacitated, it is too late to have documents prepared. If someone becomes incapacitated and cannot make health care or placement decisions for himself, sometimes requesting the court to appoint a guardian is the only answer.
If an incapacitated person cannot manage their financial affairs because, for example, they cannot pay their bills the person may need a court-appointed conservator. A conservator may also be required to protect assets from being wasted or dissipated by the incapacitated person or by an exploiter. Guardianship and conservatorship has been a major area of practice in our firm.
Our attorneys have experience in Title 14 guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, including appointment of guardians with “mental health” powers and emergency petitions. We have worked closely with many private fiduciaries and the public fiduciary in providing protection to incapacitated persons.
Probate and Trust Administration
As part of our elder law practice, we handle Probate matters and trust administration for our clients.
A Probate action includes the filing of petition, publishing notice to creditors, inventory and appraisal of the estate, payment of debts, claims and taxes and final distribution and closing of the estate.
Trust administration assistance is available to ensure assets are properly distributed and taxes are minimized after the passing of someone who has previously established a trust.
Special Needs and Disability Planning
Our law firm can help you set up a Special Needs Trust so that government benefit eligibility is preserved while at the same time the special needs child is provided with sufficient assets from your estate to meet his or her supplemental needs (those that go beyond food, shelter, clothing and medical care). A properly drafted Special Needs Trust can fund those additional needs. In fact, the Special Needs Trust must be designed specifically to supplement, not replace, public benefits. Otherwise, the government could attempt to seize the trust assets for repayment of services already provided or determine that the special needs beneficiary does not qualify for future benefits.
Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have disabled beneficiaries for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, Special Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with a separate asset (like a life insurance policy) or it can be a sub trust in your existing Living Trust.
Unfortunately, many incapacitated seniors are vulnerable to financial exploitation by others. For example powers of attorneys are often abused or co-owners on joint bank accounts take funds that properly belong to the vulnerable senior.
HSH Law can provide assistance in ensuring exploitation is terminated and assist in utilizing proceedings to recover assets from exploiters.
If you have questions regarding Elder Law issues, please call the attorneys at Giordano & Heckele, PLLC at (520) 433-9031 or [email protected]. Mention this web page for a FREE CONSULTATION.