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Are you confused about how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries after you pass away? Curious about your options? We can help. Our estate planning attorneys provide families with simple, creative legal solutions at Family First Firm. Read on to learn the benefits of setting up a trust in your estate plan. Then contact our estate planning attorneys in Florida to begin the process of creating a trust.

As we discuss in more detail below, you have two primary options concerning the distribution of your assets: a will or a trust. These tools can dictate your plans for your estate and who will receive specific assets. However, creating a trust offers several benefits over a will that many people fail to realize.

Trusts Can Avoid Probate

One of the primary benefits of trusts over wills is that trusts can avoid probate.

When you create a will to dictate your plans for your estate, your family members will need to go through probate, which is the legal process of validating the will. Unfortunately, the probate process can take time and create more stress on your family members as they grieve your death while closing the estate.

However, when you place assets in a trust with specific directions about their beneficiaries, your family members can receive their assets directly without needing to go through probate. Consequently, they can close your estate and receive their assets faster.

Trusts May Provide Tax Benefits

In some cases, trusts can allow for tax benefits that your family members would not receive through the traditional probate process.

When you transfer assets into an irrevocable trust, the contributions within the trust may be subject to gift tax requirements while you are alive. However, if the assets in the trust do not transfer out until after your death, they may be exempt from estate tax.

Additionally, you may be able to make an annual gift to your irrevocable trust exempt from gift taxes. The annual gift tax exclusion in 2022 is $16,000. As a result, transferring assets under this limit can allow them to avoid the gift tax.

Creating an irrevocable trust with the help of an "estate planning attorney near me" can ensure that it meets specific conditions to allow for tax benefits.

Trusts Offer More Privacy

When you create a will, it must go through probate, and the contents will become public record. As a result, anyone who wants to know how you have distributed your assets can easily obtain this information. Depending on the contents of your will, this information may lead to conflicts after your death.

However, trusts offer more privacy than wills because they do not go through probate and never become public record. Only your beneficiaries will know what assets you hold in the trust and how much they will receive after your death.

Trusts Provide More Control Over Your Assets

Trusts also allow for greater control over the assets you give to beneficiaries.

When you create a will, your property and assets will transfer to your beneficiaries after you die. However, you cannot control when they receive these assets or what they do with them.

However, trusts allow for more specific instructions about their assets and beneficiaries. For example, you can specify that beneficiaries receive assets on certain birthdays or once they reach certain milestones. You can also dictate how a beneficiary should use the assets in the trust, for example, to create a nonprofit organization.

Your trust attorney can help you structure your trust correctly to uphold your specific wishes for your property and assets after your death.

Trusts Allow For Greater Flexibility

Depending on the type of trust you create, you can benefit from greater flexibility within a trust than a will.

The two main types of trusts are revocable and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust allows for changes within your lifetime. However, you cannot alter irrevocable trusts.

When you create a revocable trust, you can alter the assets and beneficiaries within the trust as necessary to ensure that it stays up to date with your changing needs and desires.

Additionally, creating a trust instead of a will can allow for more flexibility when your beneficiaries live outside of Florida. Instead of going through probate in their own state, your beneficiaries can directly receive the assets in the trust.

Trusts Can Provide Funds During Illness — Not Just Death

When you create a trust, you can establish specific circumstances in which your beneficiaries would receive the assets. For example, you can allow the trustee to make distributions if you become ill or disabled and unable to manage your assets. Your beneficiaries can use these funds to pay for medical bills and other expenses.

If you're considering a trust instead of a will, our estate planning attorney team can help. Contact the Family First Firm today at (407) 574-8125 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation. We are always by your side.

The U.S. population is aging. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 55 million Americans are over 65. As we age and life expectancies grow longer, our loved ones often face complex challenges related to health issues, increasing medical bills, and asset protection.

At Family First Firm, we are always by your side to help you navigate complicated issues and situations. This article will answer several of the most common questions we receive in our practice. We invite you to call us today at (407) 574-8125 to discuss your family’s unique needs.

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

Elder law attorneys serve as advocates for the elderly, as well as for their loved ones. There is a wide range of services that fall under the elder law umbrella, including:

Why Would I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

Working with an elder law firm can help ensure that you or a loved one can enjoy the golden years with a sense of independence and financial freedom. Having finances in order and planning for long-term care can prevent financial uncertainty and avoid expensive crisis management.

Elder law attorneys are particularly helpful in situations where a client will be residing in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Without adequate planning, an elderly person is at risk of having their entire nest egg drained in a relatively short period.

The likelihood of someone over 65 needing long-term care is currently 70%. With the average annual nursing home cost of $121,908 for a private room in Florida, it is prudent for families to plan for these inevitabilities.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Homes?

Typically, Medicare does not cover long-term nursing home care. Though Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, and home health care, any nursing home care is limited to shorter-term visits.

Paying out-of-pocket for nursing home care is common, but an elder law attorney can explore your options and plan for care that won’t drain your resources. At Family First Firm, we save our clients an average of $250,000 in nursing home fees.

When Should I Seek the Services of an Elder Law Attorney in Orlando?

Our typical clients are Baby Boomers and the younger end of the Greatest Generation, also known as the World War II Generation. It is often the relatives of our clients who reach out for assistance. Kids, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews want to ensure that the people they love are protected later in life. An elder law attorney aims to achieve that security and protection.

To summarize, if you have a loved one approaching age 65, contact an experienced elder law attorney at Family First Firm for a consultation. We can help you better understand the issues your loved one will face and begin working towards effective strategies that can prevent difficulties in the years ahead.

What is the Difference Between Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney?

When someone has decision-making authority and can act on your behalf, they are said to have power of attorney. This person is an agent who has been assigned to handle your financial affairs through a legal agreement called a power of attorney, which takes effect when you can no longer manage your finances independently.

The power of attorney agreement will have terms indicating the range of influence that the agent has, along with specifications of what triggers that decision-making authority to go into effect and when it can be revoked.

A general power of attorney (often referred to as power of attorney) keeps the option for the principal to assign and revoke the agreement at any time. Therefore, the power of attorney arrangement lasts until the principal revokes it, dies, or becomes incapacitated. Death or incapacitation cancels the agreement because these circumstances negate the principal’s ability to enforce a power of attorney.

As the term suggests, a durable power of attorney can continue beyond incapacitation. A durable power of attorney is common in situations where the principal has Alzheimer’s Disease or another cognitive condition that prevents them from managing the legal and financial aspects. The principal chooses an agent to make decisions regarding healthcare on their behalf.

Contact Our Florida Elder Law Attorneys in Orlando and Altamonte Springs

If you have an elderly parent or loved one, you need to take steps to plan now so you can optimize the situation for both your loved one and your family. Don’t bother searching for “elder law attorney near me” in Orlando or Altamonte Springs. Contact our Family First Firm team today so we can explore your options and begin planning.

In addition to saving our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in nursing home fees, we are also available to meet within 24 hours. You can reach us at (407) 574-8125 or fill out our online form. Family First Firm — Always by your side.

ORLANDO, Florida — Geoff Hoatson, Esq., CEO and Founder of Family First Firm®, specializing in all things elder law, announces a free online webinar, 5 Costly Mistakes People Make When Creating An Estate Plan. The webinar is for anyone who:

  1. Is just getting started with estate planning
  2. Questions if they need an estate plan
  3. Wants to update an existing Will or Trust

Regardless of each individual’s situation, the free webinar will help them determine their next steps to achieve the peace of mind that comes from securing the future for themselves and their families. During the presentation, Hoatson will cover three vital factors:

  1. Necessary documents
  2. Costly mistakes he’s seen people make
  3. Actionable next steps

His goal is to demystify estate planning and help people consider all relevant factors to establish an estate plan that fulfills their wishes and protects their families. “In my experience, I’ve seen people make many costly mistakes that they could have avoided if only they had the right information,” says Hoatson. “I created this free online webinar to highlight these mistakes and explain how to create an estate plan that meets your unique needs. Everyone has different goals, but by watching the webinar, they will better understand the documents they need and the steps they must take to ensure future security for themselves and their loved ones. At Family First Firm®, we help our clients make choices with confidence. I encourage any Floridian over 18 to join me for this free webinar to learn more about estate planning.”

The webinar is free, but registration is required. Click here to reserve your place.

About Family First Firm® - Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys

At Family First Firm®, our mission is to serve seniors and families throughout Central Florida to ensure we provide each and every client with peace of mind. We are always by your side as we prepare you and your estate to face an uncertain future with confidence. We can also assist you with all aspects of legal services for seniors and their families, not just Probate and Guardianship, but we can also assist with Estate Planning, Nursing Home Asset Protection, and Medicaid Planning. Our team is dedicated to helping as many families secure their futures to allow for more time to focus on what matters most.

For more information about how our firm can help you and your family, call us today at (407) 574-8125 to start planning your future and join the thousands of families we’ve helped in obtaining peace of mind.

(ORLANDO, Florida) Employees from Family First Firm are raising donations for the Alzheimer’s Association. They will participate as the Always By Your Side Team in the Greater Orlando 2022 Walk To End Alzheimer’s, which will take place on Saturday, October 8th, at Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando.

The outdoor event at 195 Rosalind Avenue in Lake Eola Park will begin with a registration period at 7:30 AM, and a ceremony at 9:00 AM before thousands of participants walk in support of people who live with Alzheimer’s. Family First Firm will also be operating the Pet Palace at the site of the event to ensure all furry friends stay hydrated and enjoy snacks for the big event.

Community members are strongly encouraged to support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s by registering to walk in the event and donating through the Always By Your Side team page to help them reach their $5,000 donation goal. This effort will contribute toward the event’s goal of $500,000 for all of Greater Orlando. Every dollar raised benefits the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association in the community and beyond.

“Many of our clients consist of elderly people and their families, and Alzheimer’s affects a substantial percentage of that demographic. The Walk To End Alzheimer’s in Downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park is an excellent opportunity to step up and make a difference for Greater Orlando’s families dealing with Alzheimer’s both now and in the future, as we work towards eventually beating this debilitating disease,” said Family First Firm Business Development Manager and Always By Your Side Team Captain, Yelitza Rivera.

Greater Orlando 2022 Walk To End Alzheimer

Family First Firm Founder & CEO, Geoff Hoatson, along with the growing Always By Your Side team roster will be active participants at the Lake Eola Park event. Community members are encouraged to share the donation link and help to spread the word among friends, family, and colleagues before joining the team in person at what promises to be a fun, positive, and supportive Saturday morning event at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando.

About Walk to End Alzheimer’s ®

Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, Walk to End Alzheimer's is the world's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research.

Across the nation, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® is full of flowers, each carried by someone committed to ending this disease. Participants raise funds and awareness for a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's and all other dementia.

To support Walk to End Alzheimer’s, individuals can find a Team or a Participant or sign up as a Team Captain. Participants can then begin fundraising and sharing the information online through social media and tools like Facebook Fundraisers and the Walk mobile app. On the day of a participant’s local Walk event, community members come together for an inspiring show of support and commitment to the cause of ending Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association closely monitors CDC, state, and local guidelines to ensure Walk events adhere to the latest recommendations.

To learn more about Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit https://act.alz.org/walk.

About the Alzheimer’s Association ®

The Alzheimer’s Association® is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Founded in 1980 by a group of family caregivers and individuals interested in research, the Association includes our home office in Chicago, a public policy office in Washington, D.C., and a presence in communities across the country.

An estimated 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia. In the United States alone, more than 6 million have Alzheimer’s, and over 11 million are providing unpaid care. The Association addresses this crisis by providing education and support to the millions who face dementia every day while advancing critical research toward methods of treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, a cure.

For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

About Family First Firm - Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys

At Family First Firm, our mission is to serve seniors and families throughout Central Florida to ensure we provide each and every client with peace of mind. We are always by your side as we prepare you and your estate to face an uncertain future with confidence. We can also assist you with all aspects of legal services for seniors and their families, not just Probate and Guardianship, but we can also assist with Estate Planning, Nursing Home Asset Protection, and Medicaid Planning. Our team is dedicated to helping as many families secure their futures to allow for more time to focus on what matters most.

For more information about how our firm can help you and your family, call us today at (407) 574-8125 to start planning your future and join the thousands of families we’ve helped in obtaining peace of mind.

For more on Family First Firm, visit https://www.familyfirstfirm.com.

ORLANDO, Florida – Geoff Hoatson, Attorney, Founder, and Owner of the Family First Firm – Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys, an Elder Law, Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning and Asset Protection Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, is pleased to announce that Haley Hestbeck has joined the team as a Guardianship and Probate Attorney. “We are thrilled to welcome Haley to the firm,” says Hoatson. “As a leader, you look for certain qualities in all new hires. Our firm seeks individuals with exceptional intellect, a strong work ethic, and integrity. Haley excels in each of these categories. We also find it important that anyone we hire embodies our core values, such as client experience, relentless optimism, and doing the right thing. I have high expectations for her in the years ahead and am thrilled that she has joined our team.”

Haley Hestbeck was born and raised in Orlando and is a proud Double Gator. Hestbeck received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida in 2016 with a major in anthropology and a minor in communication studies. She then continued her studies in Gainesville and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Hestbeck was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2019 and returned to Orlando, where she began her legal career at a small firm focusing on estate planning, probate, and guardianship matters, helping clients prepare for their own futures and manage the estates of their loved ones.

“I joined the Family First Firm because I believe in the firm’s mission of always being by the client’s side through the entirety of the estate planning and administration process. I am excited to be part of the Family First Firm team and look forward to guiding clients through their guardianship and probate needs,” says Hestbeck.

Outside of practicing law, Hestbeck enjoys spending time with her spouse, playing with their two dogs, Lulu and Kyba, and traveling with her family.

About Family First Firm – Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys

At Family First Firm, our mission is to serve seniors and families throughout Central Florida to ensure we provide each and every client with peace of mind. We are always by your side as we prepare you and your estate to face an uncertain future with confidence. We can also assist you with all aspects of legal services for seniors and their families, not just Probate and Guardianship, but we can also assist with Estate Planning, Nursing Home Asset Protection, and Medicaid Planning. Our team is dedicated to helping as many families secure their futures to allow for more time to focus on what matters most.

For more information about how our firm can help you and your family, call us today at (407) 574-8125 to start planning your future and join the thousands of families we’ve helped in obtaining peace of mind.

Medicaid is a federally-funded and state-administered program that offers coverage for many conditions, tests, and long-term care essentials that Medicare does not cover. However, it also features a set of strict qualifications for approval.

With a Medicaid waiver, you may qualify early with fewer restrictions. But applying for a Medicaid waiver can be a long and challenging process. Hiring a Florida Medicaid law firm to help you through each step is safer than attempting to apply yourself.

Before you search for “Medicaid lawyer near me,” read more about Florida Medicaid and Medicaid waivers from the team at Family First Firm.

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid offers support for individuals who require financial assistance to receive medical care. A Medicaid recipient can receive healthcare through three main categories of care:

Who Qualifies for Medicaid?

Medicaid rules are very strict in determining eligibility. Applicants must meet specific financial eligibility requirements based on assets and income. Qualifications are different for single or married applicants and include evaluation of assets, including income, real estate equity, and investments such as stocks, bonds, etc.  However, by working with a Medicaid lawyer, you can get eligible even if you are over the limits.

Additionally, applicants must be pregnant, have a disability, be responsible for a minor child, be responsible for a family member with a disability, or be 65 or older.

With so many different conditions, you may want to speak with an experienced Medicaid lawyer to help you file your application correctly.

What Is a Medicaid Waiver?

Medicaid waiver is a colloquial term used to describe a Medicaid program titled: Long-Term Care Home and Community Based Service. Many people can qualify for a Medicaid waiver under one of several waiver programs, including:

If you intend to apply for a Medicaid waiver program, speaking with an experienced Medicaid law firm to find a knowledgeable attorney can help you determine which waiver program is best for you.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities operates the Medicaid waiver program in Florida for people with developmental disabilities. Their program, iBudget, recently reformed its service categories to include eight service categories:

Before you search for “Medicaid attorney near me,” consider the other benefits of a Medicaid waiver program.

What Additional Benefits Do Florida Medicaid Waiver Programs Offer?

Whereas Medicare does not typically cover home care or long-term care, Medicaid offers coverage for nursing home care, hospice, assisted living care, and more. Approval for a Medicaid waiver can help you get long-term home or facility care sooner than if you simply wait to meet eligibility requirements.

Many Florida Medicaid waiver programs provide opportunities for early Medicaid approval. Once approved, you can begin receiving all the applicable benefits.

Do I Need a Medicaid Lawyer to Apply for a Medicaid Waiver?

A knowledgeable Medicaid attorney can help you file paperwork correctly, coach you on how to answer qualification questions truthfully while providing essential relevant information, and help you with each step of the process.

The Medicaid waiver wait list addresses applicants with the greatest need first. If you downplay your need for a waiver, it could be a very long time before you hear from the appropriate department. Speaking with an experienced attorney who specializes in Medicaid waiver qualification can help you determine which information about your condition is most relevant.

Although you don’t need a lawyer to apply, it can be a long process with several potential pitfalls without experienced guidance. Wait lists for Medicaid waiver programs are long, and rejection can set you back months or even years. Working closely with a Medicaid law firm can help you avoid several mistakes that can drag you to the bottom of the waitlist.

How Do I Find a Knowledgeable Medicaid Attorney Near Me?

Life happens quickly, and when it comes to government program applications, time is of the essence. Don’t wait any longer to speak to an experienced Medicaid attorney.

The team at Family First Firm - Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys can match you with a Medicaid lawyer who will serve as your guide throughout this process, and fight diligently to help you receive the coverage you need. Before you search for “Medicaid lawyer near me,” call Family First Firm at (407) 574-8125, or contact us online to speak with one of our attorneys.

There is a reason to update your estate plan, but it's not to get eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid eligibility is generally not done through a state plan updates. The reason that you would want to update your estate plan is in the event that you died before your husband. If that happened, and your estate plan has not updated, very likely, the assets you leave behind will go to your husband, rendering him ineligible for Medicaid. By updating your estate plan. You can make sure that he has the benefits he needs and the money is still there to supplement what Medicaid is paying for. And then ultimately, whatever's leftover after that can then go to your children or your grandchildren.

Believe it or not, that's one of the biggest misconceptions about Medicaid. Florida's Medicaid rules are so different from every other states. They even if you had 50,000 100,000 A million dollars, you can still work with a lawyer to be able to protect those funds and still get eligible for Medicaid. I point out that you need to work with a lawyer because this type of work is considered the practice of law. And it's something that the Florida Supreme Court does not allow non attorneys to engage in

Protecting young children is something that most attorneys don't spend a lot of time thinking about. However, at the family first firm, we've created our children's Protection Plan, which ensures that if something happens to you, your children are always taken care of by the people you want in the way that you want. It ensures that from the moment something happens to you, there are temporary guardians who could get involved. It nominates permanent guardians to be appointed by the court. Those are the people who will actually raise your children until they reach the age of 18. And it gives them information they will need to do the job right information about your children's medical history, their doctors contact information, even your feelings about how you want them raised feelings about money, spiritual involvement, friends and family members that you want to be in their lives. It's really a manual for raising your children if you are unable to do it yourself.

If you have a child receiving government benefits, it is extremely important that your estate plan reflect that fact. This is because most government benefits are what's called a means tested. Meaning that if a beneficiary receives a bunch of money through an inheritance, they lose their benefits. In a lot of cases, this can end up wiping out the inheritance in months or few short years before the benefits will kick back on. through proper planning. Using things like special needs trusts, you have the ability to ensure that your child receives their benefits, but has their inheritance to supplement. So it's not one or the other. It's both and you can only do that through proper planning.

Our Locations

Orlando Office

Family First Firm - Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys

1901 W Colonial Dr,
Orlando, FL 32804

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Altamonte Springs Office

Family First Firm - Medicaid & Elder Law Attorneys
By Appointment Only

715 Douglas Ave Suite# 40,
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

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