Elder Law 2012-09-21T23:59:55+00:00

“My grandfather, Martin Liebenhaut, was a war hero and NYPD policeman.  When he suffered Alzheimer’s Disease later in life, I witnessed the struggle my uncle and parents went through trying to take care of him.  I understand on a very personal level the importance of advanced planning and the personal strain of  being a care taker for a loved one.”

As a Tallahassee elder law attorney, Matt Liebenhaut represents you and your loved ones when they are in need of assistance when it comes to Medicaid, planning for in-home care, wills, nursing home preparation, and more. We understand that these decisions are some of the most difficult that anyone will ever make, but they are also among the most important. The law office of Matt Liebenhaut is your complete resource for senior law. We recognize that every individual is different and deserves to be treated as such. The laws and benefits concerning the elderly and the ill are complex. Seeking professional help from a dedicated elder law attorney can not only help you make the best decisions for you and your loved ones, but can assist you in receiving all of the benefits that you are entitled to. While these matters may seem like they are years away, it is never a bad idea to be prepared for any situation. The law office of Matt Liebenhaut aims to make confronting these sensitive issues as easy and comforting as possible.

Wills

Did you know that if you do not write a will the state will write one for you? Under Florida law, the state will allocate your assets among your family as they see fit. If you do not have any family, your assets will go to the state. The final decisions regarding your personal belongings and affairs should be under no one’s jurisdiction but your own. A will allows you to choose who will handle your affairs once you have passed, control inheritance to young adults and minors, and list any special provisions such as charitable donations and burial preferences. Your will can always be amended as time goes on and will leave you with the peace of mind that everyone deserves.

 
Advanced Directives

An advanced directive can be thought of as two separate entities, a health care surrogate and a living will. You have the choice to appoint either one or both of these positions.

A health care surrogate allows you to choose who will make medical decisions for you, should you become unable due to physical or mental incapacity. Without a health care surrogate, the state of Florida will appoint someone to be your proxy. This person is chosen first by guardianship and then relationship and will be responsible for making medical decisions for you. Medical decisions are very important and should be made by someone close to you as opposed to the state. Appointing a health care surrogate will allow you to decide who will make the right decisions for you in accordance to your values and beliefs.

A living will is used in cases of terminal illness. The document will allow you to choose whether or not you want to have your life prolonged in instances of a prolonged vegetative state or terminal illness with no foreseeable chance of recovery.


Medicaid vs. Medicare

In order to get the most benefits for your health care it is important to know the differences between Medicaid and Medicare. While many people group the two together, they are actually separate programs.

Medicare is a federal entitlement program. It is the health insurance awarded to all retirees that receive social security benefits. Medicare will not pay for all of your long term care. There are certain requirements that have to be met and even then there are limits to your coverage. To help fill the gaps in coverage it is a good idea to apply for Medicaid.

Medicaid acts as an insurance plan for long-term institutional care on both the federal and state levels. Since it is a form of welfare, beneficiaries must be impoverished according to program guidelines. The guidelines for Medicaid vary by state.

 Medicaid planning involves making sure that your assets are placed where they should be in order to get maximum benefits. Pre-planning for Medicaid offers protection and reduces the amount of money you will have to pay out of pocket if you do become in need of long term care.

While representatives for Medicaid can supply you with sufficient guidance in filing for your benefits, they may be unwilling to share with you how to keep more of your assets. Hiring an attorney is a great way to get help without having to worry about agency biases. Filing without the help of an experience attorney can lead to the denial of your claim due to application mistakes. These mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars in government benefits that you are entitled to.


Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is designating someone the legal authority and power to make decisions for you if you are to become incapacitated. The designator must be competent when signing the DPOA document. A DPOA can be any adult or certain participating financial institutions with trust powers. A durable power of attorney is effective immediately and lasts until the designators passing. The scope of power given to a DPOA can be very broad or very limited, ranging from the power to sell any properties you may own, signing checks, and paying bills. There are certain tasks a DPOA cannot do, which includes voting in elections on your behalf and modifying your last will and testament. Having a durable power of attorney is an inexpensive way to protect your finances.

By: Matt Liebenhaut