Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Medicare, Medicaid, Planning for Non-Traditional Families

Serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando Counties

Kara Evans offeres many services and can tailor an approach to fit your individual needs. Please contact our office to discuss the services that are right for you.

Elder Law: Elder Law encompasses many of the traditional areas of law but with a focus on the issues that specifically affect seniors. These areas include public benefits, estate planning, trust and probate administration, guardianship, health and long term care planning.

Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning: These services can assist seniors with planning for nursing home or other long term health care that would drain or deplete the family assets. Many seniors mistakenly believe that they must spend down all their assets or impoverish their spouse in order to qualify for long term care benefits. The law exempts many assets including your IRA, your home, and your car.

Incapacity Planning: Incapacity planning includes planning to avoid guardianship if an individual becomes unable to manage their own affairs. Documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate and Living Will allow others to act on your behalf without court intervention. In these documents, an individual can legally appoint another to act on their behalf with regard to their financial and health issues.

Estate Planning: You don’t need to be rich to need an estate plan. A good plan provides for your estate to pass to whom you direct, with minimal complications. Without a plan, Florida law directs who will inherit from you and those laws may not reflect your wishes. Among many possibilities: revocable trusts to avoid probate or control distributions after your death, a Last Will and Testament to direct who receives your homestead property and personal items and advice on how to efficiently use beneficiary designations.

Probate Administration: Probate is the legal process of retitling assets from a deceased person to their heirs. Any item that a decedent owned in their name alone that is not otherwise directed (by beneficiary designation or joint ownership) will have to be probated. I will advise and assist you though this complicated process in the most expedient manner possible.

Planning for Nontraditional Families: Unmarried couples and nontraditional families require special consideration and additional documents to achieve their estate and life planning goals. The law gives preference to spouses and lineal descendants. However, there are legal documents in which an individual can alter the legal preference with their own desires. These documents are the basis for planning for nontraditional families. Advance directive documents such as pre need guardian appointments, an appointment of an agent to dispose of remains, trusts and wills can all provide legal substance to your wishes and desires.

Special Needs Trusts: Planning an estate is never an easy task. When a disabled child is part of the family most parents are lost as to where to begin. Many disabled individuals are entitled to public benefits that provide income for living and medical expenses. Many times the medical expenses are substantial. Programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are designed for individuals with minimal financial resources. A major concern is how to preserve assets for the disabled child without jeopardizing public benefits. A Special Needs Trust is a trust designed to provide funds for a disabled individual’s needs without putting their public benefits at risk. Parents or other concerned relatives can establish these trusts during life or through testamentary plans.

A disabled individual can establish a Self Settled Special Needs Trust. This trust can be used to shelter a disabled individual’s own fund. These funds are typically the result of an inheritance or personal injury award. With a properly drafted Self Settled Special Needs Trust, the funds are not considered in determining eligibility for public benefits.