FREE Powers of Attorney & Other Disability Planning Docs During COVID-19 Crisis

FREE Powers of Attorney & Other Disability Planning Docs During COVID-19 Crisis

Why Are We Giving Away These Estate Planning Documents?

Selis Elder Law of Florida believes that everyone should have documents that help things go smoothly when they cannot handle their financial affairs or make health care decisions.  And during the Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus) crisis, it’s critically important that the most vulnerable have the documents that will identify which loved ones can make financial and health care decisions for them. 

If you get sick and can’t manage your personal affairs, who would handle those things for you?  Would a trusted loved one be able to access your accounts to pay bills or transfer money between accounts?  Who would make health care decisions for you?  And, what if more than one person wants to handle your financial affairs and make health care decisions for you?  For example, if you’re remarried, would you want your spouse, one of your children, or someone else to handle your financial affairs and/or make health care decisions for you?

Go to the Questionnaire Below to Determine if You are Eligible

Don’t Most People Already Have These Types of Documents? 

According to the a 2019 MarketWatch.com survey, less than 20% of Americans have these types of documents.  But why?  There are as many reasons as there are people. 

Some haven’t thought about this.  Others are overwhelmed by making decisions about who will take charge of their affairs when incapacitated.  Many incorrectly assume that their loved one (i.e., spouse, child, sibling, etc.) can make these decisions for them without these documents.  Finally, a lot of people don’t want to meet with a lawyer because they think it will be tedious, confusing, expensive, and/or too time consuming. 

Go to the Questionnaire Below to Determine if You are Eligible 

The Solution

Selis Elder Law of Florida has created an affordable online resource for people to create their own legal documents.  For now, we are offering only the documents described below.  And unlike many legal document preparation websites, we will review your document before releasing it to you.  That review helps you avoid making a critical mistake.  

Here is a List of the Documents offered and What They Each Do for You

  • A Florida Durable Power of Attorney, which allows you to select one or more loved ones to manage your personal financial affairs and choose what types of things they can, and as importantly, cannot, do for you.
  • Advance Directives, which include,
    • A Living Will to provide guidance to your loved ones about end-of-life decisions; and
    • A Designation of Health Care Surrogate to identify one or more loved ones to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to do so.
  • A HIPAA Release, which identifies people who your health care provides (i.e., hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc.) can, among other things, discuss your health care treatment 

Go to the Questionnaire Below to Determine if You are Eligible 

How it Works

Below is a very short questionnaire. After you answer the questions, we will send you an email telling you whether you are eligible for FREE documents. 

If you are eligible, the email will provide a 100% discount code and detailed instructions for you to follow.  If you are not eligible, the email will provide a 50% discount code and detailed instructions for you to follow. 

Go to the Questionnaire Below to Determine if You are Eligible. 

What If You Don’t Want to Use the Online Document Preparation Service?

We’d love to meet with you.  Of course, the documents we provide to clients that meet with are more robust and include extensive legal advice.  So, if you prefer the personal touch we provide to clients, then you will need to go through our usual client on-boarding process by calling 386-888-6060 or emailing Info@ElderLawFirmFLA.com. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have.

Questionnaire for Selis
Are you a resident or do you work in Volusia or Flagler County? *
Are you a healthcare worker? *
Are you a first responder (i.e., police officer, fireman/woman, paramedic, etc.)? *
Are you 65 years of age or older? *
Do you have any of the following health conditions – Diabetes, renal failure, liver disease, any form of respiratory disease, any form of immune disease, including immune deficiency, undergoing cancer treatment, pregnant, having or had a bone marrow or organ transplant? *
Ways You Can Protect Your Aging Florida Seniors From the Coronavirus

Ways You Can Protect Your Aging Florida Seniors From the Coronavirus

We can no longer ignore the fact that the COVID-19 virus is spreading at an alarming rate around the world. Even with its unprecedented spread, however, there are still many precautions that we can take right here in Wausau to protect ourselves, as well as our loved ones. 

By now we are all familiar with the most popular precaution which has been shared by the various health authorities around the world:

Make sure that you properly wash your hands! 

What does it mean to “properly” wash your hands? This means meticulously cleaning your hands for at least twenty (20) seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.  You may find it interesting to learn that, according to the FDA, “the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap have not been proven.”  Washing your hands remains one of the best preventative measures that you can implement to safeguard yourself and your elder loved ones.  In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) washing your hands helps to kill viruses that may be on your hands.

Let us share a few other suggestions from the WHO.

 1. Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  This one is especially important because it is easy to breathe in the droplets of someone who is suffering from the COVID-19 virus. This is true for most viruses like the flu.

 2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Remember, especially for our younger loved ones, touching many surfaces can cause you to pick up viruses. WHO states that, “once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.”

 3. Practice respiratory hygiene. How do you practice respiratory hygiene?  Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.

 4. Help “at risk” loved ones limit interactions with those who may be infected. First, understand who may be at risk using this article we want to share with you. Although social isolation can be hard, help these individuals try to make informed decisions about where they truly need to be. Routine check up? Maybe postpone it until the virus is under control as very ill people could be in the waiting room. Although these decisions are up to you and your family, think about how to best keep everyone’s health intact.

Another important precaution that can help everyone around you is to stay home if you feel unwell. Further, if you have a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, do not wait to seek medical attention. Be sure to call your healthcare provider in advance, if you can.

The last tip we will share is also extremely important as we continue to battle this deadly virus. Make sure that you stay informed and follow any advice given by your healthcare provider. Do not rely simply on the news or secondhand information. Staying up to date can arm you with the right information to make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

If you would like to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones check out this WHO article that goes into detail about preventative measures that we can follow in the fight against COVID-19. Know that we are here for you, both now and in the future. Do not hesitate to contact our law practice to learn more about how to protect yourself and those you love.

Tips On Understanding The Difference Between Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

Tips On Understanding The Difference Between Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

Growing old gracefully is easier said than done. Many of us often have trouble asking for help. Further, it is often difficult for Florida seniors to admit when they are having difficulties with things that once came easily, especially when it comes to understanding the difference between Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. 

This is just one of the reasons why having objective means for assessing their needs is so important. In the context of elder care these can include Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, or IADLs. Let us share a few key differences that can help you and the Florida seniors you love in understanding the difference between Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and navigating the challenges surrounding long-term care.

Let us start by answering the question: What are Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)? In all, there are six ADLs. They include: 

1. Walking, or otherwise being able to move from one place to another on foot, either indoors or outside. The clinical term for this is “ambulating.”

2. Feeding, or the use of fingers or utensils to move food from a plate or bowl into one’s mouth.

3. Dressing and grooming, or the ability to choose what to wear, putting clothes on properly, and shaving, brushing one’s hair, brushing one’s teeth and so on.

4. Toileting, or the ability to get on and off the toilet, use it properly, and cleaning oneself.

5. Bathing, or the ability to clean one’s face and body in the bath or shower.

6. Transferring, or the ability to shift  from one body position to another. This includes the ability to maneuver from a bed to a chair, or into a wheelchair. This can also include the ability to stand up from a bed or chair in order to access a walker or similar device.

When you enlist the help of a health care provider, the amount of assistance that the Older American needs with each ADL is also noted in assessment of overall function.

By contrast, let us share key insight into Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). While ADLs may be classified as basic life skills, IADLs are more complex. They can include: 

  • Household chores: Including dusting, vacuuming, doing dishes and so forth.
  • Laundry, including making sure that clothes and other items are washed or dry cleaned as needed.
  • Managing finances, such as paying bills on time, keeping track of bank balances and so on.
  • Medication management, which can include taking prescription medications as directed.
  • Making meals, which can include preparing and cooking or making food.
  • Shopping for food, and other lifetime necessities.
  • Transportation concerns which can include the ability to get from place to place by driving, or on public transit, moving from one residence to another and so forth.
  • Using communication devices which can include the ability to use the phone and computer to contact friends and family or call for help if needed.

It is important for you to begin to understand how ADLs and IADLs are used. Although assessments of  IADLs are not used to determine whether someone can qualify for public benefits programs such as Florida Medicaid, assessments of ADLs are. Specifically, Florida Medicaid states that to be eligible, someone must need help with two or more ADLs.

In general, health care providers use these tools to evaluate a person’s physical and mental capabilities as they age. By doing so, they can determine what type of care and supervision is warranted. As elder care lawyers, we also work with seniors and their loved ones each and every day to understand these issues. We know the challenges you face and we encourage you to schedule a meeting to discuss this and any other concerns you may have.

How to Understand if You or a Loved One are Having Aging Issues

How to Understand if You or a Loved One are Having Aging Issues

Collectively, Americans are getting older.  As a result, experts predict a significant shift in demographics in the next fifteen years. They say by 2035, the number of people in the United States age 65 and older will greatly outnumber the number of people here age 18 and under. They also say by 2030, all Baby Boomers will be at least 65. In other words, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be eligible to retire in ten years.

As a result, there is heightened public awareness about age-related issues. Being properly informed can help you recognize when you or a loved one may need help. It will also allow you to address age-related relevant concerns such as a potential need for long-term care.

With a bit of luck, you and your loved ones will be happy and healthy well into your older years. With time, however, you may succumb to some of the common effects of aging or you may already be experiencing them. These can include, but are not limited to, physical ailments such as:

  •     Diminishing eyesight

Hearing loss

  •     Brittle bones
  •     Loss of strength
  •     Limited mobility

as well as cognitive impairment, such as:

  •     Memory loss and personality changes not related to Alzheimer’s Disease
  •     Memory loss and personality changes related to Alzheimer’s Disease and similar conditions

 Other issues impacting Older Americans include grief, especially following the loss of a spouse, social isolation following retirement, and loneliness. These issues can exacerbate chronic and underlying health conditions. They can also cause anxiety, depression, and even over-reliance on alcohol or medication. They can also make you more susceptible to criminal activity, such as fraud and other forms of financial exploitation.

We know that this blog may highlight concerns you are having for yourself or for a loved one.  Remember, it is never too soon to start asking questions and get the support you need in your local community. Long-term care challenges are not easy but we can work together to develop a plan for what is ahead. We routinely work with seniors and their loved ones, and encourage you to schedule a meeting to discuss these, as well as other, important issues.

How Adult Children Can Protect Their Aging Parents from “Lonely Heart” Scams

How Adult Children Can Protect Their Aging Parents from “Lonely Heart” Scams

As Valentine’s Day approaches, people of all ages will begin to show much they love and care for their significant others. Flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinner dates are part of what Valentine’s Day is all about. Sadly, the occasion can be difficult for those lacking in desired companionship, and seniors are often among the most impacted. Aging adults suffer a higher incidence of loneliness and social isolation than other groups, partly because family members, friends and spouses have moved on or passed away. 

To make matters worse, scammers and criminals use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to take advantage of “lonely heart” seniors and exploit them financially. In fact, financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that law enforcement sometimes calls it “the crime of the 21st century.”  

Did you know there are ways adult children can protect their aging parents from “Lonely Heart” scams? There is no question exploiting seniors is appalling. It is also illegal, and adult children can help vulnerable parents by getting involved early. Let us share a few tips with you on our blog. 

First, teach an aging parent how to spot an online relationship scam. Let them know the following:

  • If someone seems too perfect, they probably are. 
  • Scammers tend to move quickly from expressing emotions to asking for money.
  • After meeting in a shared forum, like Facebook, scammers will often try to get seniors to communicate in a private online setting, like email, messenger apps, or phone. Instead, tell an aging parent to break off communication.
  • Warn elder parents about emotional manipulation. It is a serious red-flag, for example, if someone professes deep-seated love online and then starts pushing for personal information or money. 

Second, help them understand the Lonely Heart do’s and don’ts such as:

  • Never send money or credit card information online to someone you have never met in person. 
  • Never send personal information that can be used for identity theft.
  • If you are going to buy something, stick to reputable and secure websites.
  • Cut off contact as soon as someone online starts asking for credit card, bank, or government ID numbers.
  • Do your online research. Scammers like to steal photos to use in their profiles and use false information when grooming senior victims. 
  • If you feel your senior parent has been targeted, shut down all communication with the suspicious person and contact the police and the oversight function for the online forum.

These are just a few of the ways children can help protect their aging parents from “Lonely Heart” scams. If you believe a parent has been the victim of an online financial scam, do not wait to contact law enforcement and an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights, as well as, appropriate courses of action. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, elder care issues. Do not wait to schedule a meeting in our law office to have your questions answered.

With the New Year Here, Should Florida Baby Boomers Be Updating Their Estate Plans?

With the New Year Here, Should Florida Baby Boomers Be Updating Their Estate Plans?

The new year is an exciting time for many of us. It is a time to establish new goals, choose what we want for the future, and set intentions that will guide us through, not just this year, but many years to come. As a Florida Baby Boomer who is thinking about what you want for yourself and your loved ones, however, does this include considering how you can best be prepared for the future through estate planning?

When we are making resolutions, many of us do not take the time we need to consider whether or not our estate plan reflects what we need right now. In fact, studies tell us that the majority of Americans do not have any estate planning. If you do not have estate planning as a Florida Baby Boomer, there is never a wrong time to create an estate plan. Remember, from when you turn eighteen years of age in Florida forward, no one has the legal authority to make decisions for you.

Estate plans, however, are not static documents. Your needs, and the needs of your family members, may change significantly over time. For example, you may have named your adult child who resides near you to be the primary decision-maker under your durable power of attorney. As time passed, though, this child who you were relying on to make responsible decisions for you may now face serious issues such as bankruptcy or disability. By contrast, your children may have gotten married and have children of their own, and you may need to change your estate plan to ensure you are leaving a legacy for future generations. 

Further, your estate plan may not contemplate the aging process and a potential, future need for long-term care support. Most estate planning does not contemplate this potential issue. As a Florida Baby Boomer, however, you need for your estate plan to be able to work with any potential long-term care needs you may have in the future.

In addition to changes in your life, there may be changes to the estate planning laws as well. The laws that govern your estate plan are subject to change and this is just one of the reasons why you need to stay in communication with your attorney.  For example, could new law changes impact the tax structure for your estate plan? Could there be changes that will allow less flexibility for your children to make your decisions, when needed, in the future? Are there significant elder care challenges that you need to plan for now? 

These are just a few of the reasons why you want to consider scheduling a meeting with your estate planning attorney at the start of the year. Be sure to discuss with your estate planning attorney what his or her comfort level is when it comes to not only planning for your legacy, but also the long-term care challenges. Unfortunately, as we age, estate planning alone is not enough. We need an elder care plan to address long term care issues and help us plan forward to ensure we are protected. We encourage you to contact us to discuss these questions, and any others that you have, at your earliest convenience.