Elder Law in Florida – What You Need to Know
Elder law in Florida is something that senior citizens and their loved ones should know about. While elder law is basically national (beginning with federal law via the Older Americans Act of 1965); many things which are covered under elder law vary from state to state. So, while Florida elder law may say one thing, elder law in another state may contradict Florida law (although not necessarily.) Some of the main issues involving elder law include power of attorney, estate planning, guardianship and matters that have to do with Medicaid and other disability benefits. Provisions for all of these issues can and do vary from state to state.
When it comes to elder law in Florida, one of the most important things you will need to know is how Florida elder law approaches estate planning. For example, under Florida inheritance law, if you die intestate (without a Will) your spouse will get priority in the distribution of your estate, even before your own children. This may be a problem in certain situations – like when a couple separates, but never gets a legal divorce. The best way to avoid this problem is by making a Will. If you are a senior citizen, you may want to consider hiring an elder law attorney, who will have considerable knowledge of elder law in Florida, to help you write your Will, since estate planning for senior citizens has a number of unique aspects and can prove to be costly if mistakes are made.
Yet another important issue for many seniors in Florida is that of guardianship, especially with so many seniors taking guardianship over their grandchildren in today’s world. Florida’s qualifications for guardianship are not very unique from that of other states, but there are some important requirements that many people may not be aware of. A good elder law attorney can help you revise your Will to include your preferences for who the child should live with if you happen to die before they turn 18. Of course there are times guardianship of the elder needs to be pursued because of dementia. Guardianship for an elder typically results from the elder not executing a durable power of attorney before becoming incapacitated.
Legal issues regarding elder law in Florida, Medicaid planning, and estate planning can be confusing and hard to understand when wrapped in legal jargon. My book Protecting Your Family’s Assets in Florida: How to Legally Use Medicaid to Pay for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Care gives you an in-depth, yet easy to read, guide on Medicaid planning in Florida, including tough issues like arranging your estate to meet income and asset requirements. You can download two free chapters today by visiting my free resources section.
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