Residents of the U.S. are aging at an astonishing pace. Less than a century ago, older adults comprised a small percentage of the overall population. Today, though, an estimated 1 out of every 6 Americans is 65 years or older. In a great many ways, longer life expectancies are an uncontested advantage. For instance, senior citizens are afforded more time to spend with their families and to enjoy the rewards of a hard-earned retirement. However, as Americans grow older, they often face unique legal challenges. 

DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., has spent decades helping Floridians overcome the challenges associated with aging. Our experienced team of elder law attorneys could help protect your rights and preserve your legacy by revising an estate plan, recalibrating your beneficiary designations, or reviewing your eligibility for critical public benefits. 

Understanding Elder Law

Elder law is a legal discipline that seeks to address the needs of older adults. It has a broad scope, defined more by its clients than any specific element of code or civil procedure. This is because senior citizens often have age-related concerns that aren’t necessarily common among their younger counterparts, and which cannot always be readily addressed by other attorneys. 

DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., helps our clients find solutions to age-related concerns including, but not limited to, the following areas. Elder Law Attorneys in Sun City Center

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the proactive process of determining how your assets should be distributed after your death. A typical estate plan might include:  

Everyone—irrespective of their age—needs an estate plan. Without one, your assets will be left to the mercy of Florida’s intestate succession laws, which privilege some relatives at the expense of others. 

Incapacity Protection 

Incapacity protection is an integral part of elder law and estate planning. Your attorney could help you plan for incapacity—cognitive decline, an unexpected illness, or a serious injury—by laying the framework for a living will and advance health care directive. Both documents give you—legally referred to as a testator—an opportunity to explain care preferences and to designate trusted surrogates to make informed care decisions on their behalf.   

The durable power of attorney, similarly, lets a spouse, a child, or another party handle certain financial affairs if you’re ever placed in a position where you can no longer pay your bills or meet other obligations without assistance. 

Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning 

Far too many senior citizens make the mistake of thinking that Medicaid benefits will cover the costs of staying in a nursing home (over $12,000/m) or other assisted living community. 

However, while Medicaid does subsidize assisted living, it only provides benefits to Floridians whose income falls below a certain threshold. Without a Medicaid asset protection plan, many older adults are forced to sell off their assets just to afford life-saving care.

Finding the Right Elder Law Attorney in Sun City Center

Elder law is a rapidly expanding field. In Florida alone, there are hundreds of practices. However, many elder law attorneys lack the experience and qualifications needed to effectively serve their clients. Before making a commitment, always ask the following questions. 

Are They Board Certified?

The Florida Bar Association only accords elder law certifications to attorneys who meet very specific criteria, including real-world experience and a commitment to continuing education. This ensures that lawyers who advertise themselves as elder law specialists have the knowledge needed to take on even the most challenging types of cases. 

How Often Do They Actually Practice Elder Law? 

Almost any lawyer can take these cases. However, relatively few prioritize elder law over more lucrative personal injury and criminal defense cases. Before retaining an attorney, ask how much time they actually devote to elder law. 

Do They Have a Proven Record of Success? 

Attorneys who regularly work with older clients should never shy away from sharing testimonials. DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., for instance, has spent a half-century fighting for the rights of Florida’s senior citizens. We proudly publish client testimonials highlighting how our hard work, perseverance, and commitment have changed lives and cemented long-lasting legacies. 

Can you read their book?

If you are looking for an elder law attorney, ask if they have a book you can read. Attorney Rep DeLoach has written numerous books, including Your Short Guide to Florida Long-Term Care Medicaid.