Elder Law, Special Needs Planning & Guardianships

As our elderly population continues to grow, it is becoming clear that their needs often go beyond traditional concerns about how best to devise their property at death.  While people are living longer and fuller lives, the future is always uncertain, and seniors and their loved ones face pressing questions concerning how they will live the rest of their lives.  Issues that may need to be addressed include how to pay for a nursing home; recover their money in case of fraud and abuse; and initiate, navigate and defend guardianship proceedings.  At the same time, some families face the question of how to make proper arrangements for a loved one who has special needs.

We assist clients in all of the following ways:

Guardianships.  Guardianship is the legal process by which a court appoints someone to make decisions for and act on behalf of an incapacitated adult or child.  We provide a broad range of legal services in guardianship proceedings, including initiating and defending guardianship proceedings.  We are aware of guardianship proceedings’ delicate and sometimes contentious nature, providing dedicated and caring advocacy as needed.

Elder Abuse.  Seniors today face increasingly sophisticated examples of financial exploitation designed to rob them of their hard-earned life savings, such as power-of-attorney abuse and financial abuse.  We advocate for the rights of seniors by engaging in court proceedings to help them to recover the assets that are rightfully theirs.

Special Needs Trusts.  We assist family members with their estate planning documents to provide for the special needs and circumstances of their loved one with a disability.  These legal services may involve creating a special (or supplemental) needs trust for the disabled person to make sure that he or she remains eligible for certain public benefits upon the death of a parent.  We advise families on the public benefits available for disabled persons such as the North Carolina Community Alternative Program (CAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Medicare, and Medicaid.

Long Term Care Planning.  We assist seniors in analyzing their options for their long-term care, a process that may involve planning for home care, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or continuing care retirement communities.

Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives.  We assist clients with the preparation of Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills that give them peace of mind and allow them to live into their golden years assured of their dignity and autonomy.