Elder Law


Woman visiting with an elderly client.

Elder Law is a specialized area of legal practice in which skilled attorneys concentrate on those issues that are common among the elderly population, but not exclusive to that population. Elder law attorneys represent people of all ages.

The legal issues in which elder law attorneys specialize may include drafting wills and trusts; preparing advance directives for medical care; probating wills and estates; petitioning for or avoiding guardianship; addressing retirement issues, including retirement income, social security and Medicare; applying for and obtaining Medicaid assistance; drafting documents to protect and preserve financial assets, homes and other property; and preparing for lifestyle changes due to retirement, disability and death.   

Certified Elder Law Attorneys have practiced elder law exclusively over a period of years before qualifying for certification. They have passed rigorous testing requirements and maintain a high level of continuing education in elder law each year. The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) is the organization that certifies Elder Law Attorneys and recognizes only those elder law practitioners who have achieved the highest level of expertise by providing the only ABA approved Certification of Elder Law Attorneys in the United States.

In addition to these traditional aspects of elder law practice, Ms. Raxter’s office also focuses on real estate law, including real estate transfers, contracts, property divisions, and acquiring or clearing title to real estate; business creation (such as LLCs, corporations, Family Limited Partnerships); succession planning for businesses and other assets.

Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Ms. Raxter is available to assist with the development of comprehensive Estate Plans which often include Wills, Trusts, Medical Directives, Powers of Attorney, and Designations of Guardianship, among other documents.

While planning for the inevitable is never an easy task, having a competent estate planning lawyer to provide advice and guidance, as well as to assist you n the documentation of your decisions, will provide you with the peace of mind you and your loved ones deserve.  Mis Raxter is available to assist with the development of Estate Plans which often include Wills, Trusts, Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney.

Probate & Estate Administration

When a person leaves a Last Will and Testament, the individual’s Will must be presented to a court to assure the estate assets are distributed as directed by the terms of the Will.  This process is called “probate.”  

When a person dies without leaving a Will, they are said to have died “intestate” and the state law determines who will inherit any assets that remain.  

Whether a person dies with or without a Will, a probate or some other legal proceeding is often required to transfer property, bank accounts and other assets to the person’s heirs and loved ones.

Ms. Raxter offers experienced and compassionate expertise to identify the correct legal process for the situation at hand. Ms. Raxter will competently guide the family and friends of a deceased person through the applicable process to legally transfer assets either pursuant to the terms of a Last Will and Testament, or as an intestate estate.  

Guardianship

Illness or accident can strike without warning, leaving even the most capable and resourceful person disabled or incapacitated to the extent that the individual is unable to make responsible decisions for him or herself.  Under such circumstances, guardians are often appointed through a court proceeding to act on the disabled person’s behalf.  Additionally, guardianship may be necessary to act on behalf of a minor child, or developmentally disabled adult who is unable to act in his or her own best interests.  

A guardianship is a powerful legal process where a trustworthy person is given the authority to exercise control over a person’s health, finances, assets, and welfare.  Therefore, appointing a Guardian for an adult is not taken lightly by the court, and is only approved after less restrictive alternatives have been attempted.  However, when it becomes necessary to protect an individual by appointing a Guardian to act in the person’s interest, Ms. Raxter provides capable assistance to the family and friends of the disabled individual. Ms. Raxter is available to draft the legal documents required, including the petition to request a guardianship appointment and the supporting facts that justify the appointment.  Additionally, Ms. Raxter provides guidance to the Guardian to comply with the reporting requirements after the appointment has been made.

Special Needs & Public Benefits

This is planning that will prepare you, your family and your estate if medical expense is necessary so that the person needing medical care is more likely to qualify for benefits, while providing enough for a spouse and children, protect a business, and other assets.

The critical questions that are often asked: 

  1. Do you receive too much income to qualify for Medicaid benefits?  With the right type of planning, you may still be able to qualify for Medicaid benefits even if your income exceeds the income limit.  
  2. Will you have too much property or other assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits that assist with the cost of nursing home or in home care?  With public benefits planning you may be able to retain control of your most valuable assets and qualify for Medicaid benefits.
  3. Are you within the 5-year (60 month) lookback period for Medicaid qualification?  You may still be able to qualify for Medicaid benefits and protect your home, your business, and other assets from Medicaid’s claim for reimbursement. 

Everyone’s family, assets, and situation is different.  Ms. Raxter will work with you to identify your most important concerns, and help you to devise a plan for you and your family’s specific situation.

Special Needs Trusts

When a family member is disabled, providing for their financial needs, their personal care, and enjoyment of life is the highest priority. Special Needs Trusts enable a family and other concerned people to do so while also ensuring they remain eligible to receive the highest level of public benefits.

Other Elder Law Services

  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills/Advance Healthcare Directives
  • Planning for Long-Term Care Needs
  • Independent Living and Assisted Living Options
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