Elder Law Services in Savannah, Georgia
Elder law is the specialized field of law that addresses the diverse needs of aging populations. It focuses on the legal issues affecting baby boomers and their elderly parents.
Types of Elder law we practice at The Sullivan Law Firm:
Disability and special needs planning;
Long-term care planning;
Estate planning and administration; and,
Guardianship and/or conservatorship.
Disability and Special Needs Planning
At The Sullivan Law Firm, we care about clients and take personal interest in helping people navigate putting in a support system to protect our clients in the event that they become physically or mentally incapacitated. Without planning for circumstances where you might need assistance making decisions on either a temporary or permanent basis, your family or friends may have to seek guardianship and/or conservatorship from the Probate Court to be able to help you if you are unable or unwilling to make decisions on your own. We encourage preparing powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives and can assist you in preparing the documents to ensure that trusted individuals are ready to assist you when you need help.
In many cases, our disabled or special needs clients and their family members may be eligible to receive government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These clients still need to planning help designed to ensure that they qualify for and receive adequate assistance for their needs.
Long-Term Care Planning
This type of elder law focuses on the services that seniors often use to live safely when they cannot take care of themselves. These include nursing homes or assisted-living facilities and long-term health insurance, along with the means by which they get these benefits (Medicaid or the Department of Veterans Affairs, for example). Medicaid planning involves repositioning and transferring assets to qualify for Medicaid nursing-home benefits. Veterans benefits concerning elder law encompass providing for the long-term health care needs of veterans of the U.S. military.
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Estate Planning and Administration
Estate planning is the systematic approach to deciding who will receive your property after you die and who will be in charge of making sure your final wishes are carried out. It includes disability planning, as discussed above, as well as planning to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and ensure that your beneficiaries are protected from bad decisions and outside influences. A comprehensive estate plan might include the last will, durable power of attorney, an advance healthcare directive, and if needed, a revocable living trust. Also known as a living trust, a revocable living trust allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions about assets held in a trust.
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Probate is the court-supervised process for settling a deceased person's estate, and it may or may not be necessary depending on how your assets are titled at the time of your death. If you have a revocable living trust, the estate may be settled without the supervision of a probate court
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Guardianship and/or Conservatorship
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If a person becomes incapacitated and did not put in place durable power of attorney or advance medical directive, a family member, friend, or, in some cases, a stranger, will have to go to court and petition to become a substitute decision maker -- that person's guardian and/or conservator.
A guardian is appointed to make decisions regarding the incapacitated person's support, care, education, health and welfare. A conservator is appointed to receive, collect, and make decisions about the property of the ward. Sometimes the guardian and conservator is the same person. Sometimes different people are appointed to each position.
If the person, who is now incapacitated, took the time to create a disability plan with the help of an estate lawyer versed in guardianship, then he or she would have the right legal documents in place to dictate who will make financial and health care decisions on their behalf.
Click here to learn more about Guardianship and/or Conservatorship.