Protection from Elder Abuse & Asset Preservation
We live in an aging society. Many of our elderly are living on fixed incomes and their life savings. Any loss to these life savings can have a significant impact on living arrangements, medical care and overall well-being.
Life savings can be lost through financial exploitation or due to the costs of medical care or a nursing home. Medicaid is a poor solution to the welfare of the elderly.
When an elderly person suffers from diminished capacity and needs help the most, he or she runs the risk of financial exploitation by family, friends, caregivers, and even complete strangers. Exploitation of vulnerable adults occurs too frequently. In 2012 alone, more than 6 million cases of elder abuse were reported. Florida laws impose both criminal and civil penalties against a person who takes advantage of an elderly person financially. However, recovering the elderly person's assets from the perpetrator may prove futile. Financial exploitation of the elderly is not limited to those on fixed incomes. Wealthy adults with diminished capacity may be at greater risk of being targeted by these perpetrators.
The best way to prevent elder abuse is a well-drafted estate plan that takes into consideration the possibility of diminished capacity and incorporates preventative measures, such as a Life Care Plan, to protect the elderly person from financial exploitation. The estate plans should be in place long before the elderly person is affected by a mental disability. The choice of a trusted family member or professional to manage the financial affairs of the elderly person is essential. "Annual checkups" with the estate planning attorney can help in the prevention of the financial abuse.
Medical and nursing home care also can have a significant impact upon the life savings of the elderly. The average cost for a nursing home in Sarasota County is $7,000 per month. These costs are rising annually. Medicaid planning can help preserve the assets of the elderly for his or her future personal and medical care and living expenses. Without Medicaid planning, the life savings of the elderly person can quickly dissipate. Proper Medicaid planning permits you to lawfully transfer or dispose of your assets to qualify for Medicaid, but still use those assets to cover expenses that Medicaid does not cover provide you other benefits not otherwise available under Medicaid.
Call now to speak with a Sarasota County attorney about elder law issues
At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, we are here to help you sort through complex issues of elder law. Call 941.444.6407 or contact us online to make an appointment at our Sarasota office. We are located on Main Street in the Sarasota Ellis Bank Building.