Family Elder Law Expert Blog

Family Elder Law is pleased to offer the legal blog entitled “The Family Elder Law Expert Blog,” authored by Jason A. Penrod, B.C.S., CELA. Jason is board certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation. He is also the founder of Family Elder Law with offices in Lake Wales, Lakeland, and Sebring, Florida. The blog addresses legal issues of particular interest to our readers. In addition, the blog will answer individual questions from the readership on a wide range of topics.

Family Elder Law Expert Blog


Are You Part of The Sandwich Generation? Here Is How to Plan

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Anyone experiencing the struggle of simultaneously caring for children and aging parents is part of the sandwich generation. Although generation is part of the phrase, it does not refer to people born at a specific time. Typically these "sandwich" family caregivers will be in the thirty to forty-year-old age range and balancing duties to provide for their families and provide care duties for both children and parents.

VA Benefits & Long-Term Care Planning

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Are military veterans permitted to use their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to help cover the cost of long-term care? The answer is, as with most governmental things, complicated. A much-underused pension benefit known as Aid and Attendance can provide some money to cover costs for assistance performing everyday tasks. Aid and Attendance benefits may even be available to veterans with incomes above the eligibility limit if they have a large enough medical expense(s) for which they receive no reimbursement.

Who Should Be My Health Care Surrogate?

Friday, October 15th, 2021

“I can't decide which of my two children should be my Health Care Surrogate to make medical decisions for me if I am unable make them.  Should I just name them both?”

Why You May Need An Elder Law Attorney Sooner Than You Thought

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Whether you have an older adult loved one in your life or you have concerns about the health and financial welfare of the future, an elder law attorney can optimize your planning. Elder law is a highly specialized area of law focusing on the legal needs of older adults encompassing more significant issues like long-term health care needs, quality of life, and financial well-being. Specific planning may include estate planning and administration, asset protection planning, Medicaid planning and applications, wills and trusts, probate, advance directives, special needs planning, and guardianships.

The Staggering Costs of Elder Care

Saturday, September 25th, 2021

To age well and securely in America is at best expensive on many levels. The financial toll for millions of the elderly and those families who do their best to care for and support them. Long-term care facilities and retirement communities cost staggering amounts of money, as do the high costs of premiums to maintain a long-term care insurance policy. The truth is the US long-term care system is both underfunded and not well matched to the expectations of the older adults trying to thrive within it. There exists a crisis in care and a crisis in conscience within this country's social safety net.

Be Financially Aware & Prepared

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

It seems pertinent to discuss how to be financially aware today.  Organizing financial information can bring peace to you today and relieve your loved ones' future burdens.  It ensures proper management of your finances and affords control over your lifetime needs and legacy.

National Senior Citizens Day is August 21st

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

National Senior Citizens Day is rapidly approaching.  Saturday, August 21st, will be a day of celebration of our Senior Citizens which was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.  So remember to do something especially special for those Senior Citizens in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them and are forever grateful for their sacrifices for us.

Meditation During Pandemic May Be Exactly What You Need

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

For people across the globe, COVID-19 continues to be a harrowing experience. Previously unthinkable challenges, unwanted changes, and devastating losses of loved ones became all too common. Whether you call it meditation, yoga, prayer, spirituality, contemplative or philosophical thought, meditative practices can support patients, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and the general public. While the healthful benefits of meditative practices are not new, it has never been more important to adopt as a lifestyle choice.

What Can We Learn From Britney Spears' Conservatorship?

Monday, August 16th, 2021

Conservators are put in place through court authority to manage the affairs of those who are no longer capable of making their own decisions about health care or finances. In Florida, a conservatorship is known as a guardianship.  While most people's lifestyles and fortunes are decidedly different from Ms. Spear's, the problems she has and continues to experience are a cautionary tale for all of us who do not name a durable power of attorney for healthcare and financial matters. In the absence of these legal documents reflecting your wishes should you become incapacitated, family members may petition a court to appoint a conservator to manage your well-being. Yet, in Britney Spear's case, some who are under the direction of a conservatorship have no desire to be there.

Grocery Employee Pays Veteran's Bill

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

May we all be as kind, caring, and generous to our nation's veterans as the young grocery employee in this article.  Read the story below:

Estate Planning & Cryptocurrency

Friday, August 6th, 2021

The popularity of cryptocurrency is increasing exponentially, and Florida Today reports as many as 46 million Americans own the most popular and well-known crypto asset, Bitcoin. Bitcoin was created in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. This digital or virtual currency is held secure using cryptography, making it nearly impossible to double-spend or counterfeit.

What is the Probate Process?

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Probate court is the legal process of validating a person's will and ensuring an executor handles the decedent's assets, debts, and final tax filings by law and according to the decedent's wishes. To begin probate, a personal representative or executor must file with the county court where the decedent lived, even if there is a property for dispersal in another state.

Selecting Your Legal Representatives

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is uncertain. Too many aging Americans found themselves with a life-threatening COVID-19 illness in 2020 without legal documents naming trusted love ones to make decisions for their well-being while they were incapacitated. Family caregivers are generally given the task of some medical and financial coordination on your behalf, and they will operate on your behalf most effectively with documents that afford them legal authority.

Young Adults Need Estate Planning Also

Friday, July 30th, 2021

It is fairly typical for young adults, even those with professional careers who are age thirty or more, to believe they are too young to concern themselves with estate planning. Young adults in their twenties and thirties often think they don't own enough to constitute an estate. However, an estate is the total of all that you own – money, investments, real estate, vehicles, business interests, digital assets (including cryptocurrency), and other personal belongings. No matter how much, or little, you own your possessions need to go somewhere after you die. You may not think you will die young, but if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is uncertain. It is a myth that estate planning is just for the rich and the old.

Pet Trusts--Another Species of Estate Planning

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

You may have heard, back in 2007, of a pet Maltese pup named “Trouble” whose human, hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, left a trust fund of $12 million to pay for Trouble’s care. Unfortunately, pet inheritances ever since have enjoyed a dubious reputation.

Discussing Your Estate Plan & Goals With Your Family

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Preparing for a successful transfer of wealth to your loved ones begins with a comprehensive estate plan. However, many of us often overlook the crucial part of communicating our estate plan to family and heirs. Even with a thorough and up-to-date estate plan, your family may experience emotional or financial turmoil despite your best efforts. To properly manage the expectations of loved ones and provide for a smooth transition of wealth, have conversations and share information about what is to come. Whether you are a modest or a high net worth individual, preparing the next generation for handling wealth is a responsibility to take on while you are alive.

FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Alzheimer's

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

The first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a drug to treat Alzheimer's since 2003 has recently been introduced under the trademark Aduhelm™. The drug, Aducanumab, is a therapeutic drug that clinically demonstrates a potential to delay further decline from Alzheimer's disease and is also the first FDA approval for a drug that does more than address the symptoms. This drug therapy can target the fundamental pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease. In clinical studies, Aducanumab demonstrates an ability to remove amyloid plaque from the brain, delaying the disease's progression.

Who Receives an Inheritance if the Named Beneficiary Dies?

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

If your beneficiary is no longer, what happens to your inheritance? You may be wondering whether if you leave property to your brother, Mark, but he dies before you, would his kids inherit the property in his place? The answer is, only if your will explicitly states as much. To ensure your document is correct, it's best to say so specifically in various particular ways.

It is Truly Important to Have a Will

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

According to and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, overall percentages of older Americans without a will, in essence, remain the same. Remarkably, younger adults with a will show an increase of sixty-three percent comparative to pre-pandemic times. This 18 – 34 year old demographic is now sixteen percent more likely to have a will than those 35 – 54 years old. These younger adults typically cite COVID-19 as the impetus to start taking estate planning seriously.