Join us for an insightful discussion with Melina Twillie-Bryant, former Vice President of Brand Development at Friedman Elder Law Department, as she sheds light on the role of elder attorneys and their invaluable services. If you're 65+, it's crucial to plan ahead and safeguard your assets for long-term care. Don't miss out on this important conversation!
Hi, everyone. And welcome to an episode of Senior Living Live. We are on location at Arbor Terrace Cooper City in beautiful Florida, and I am so excited. We're gonna be talking today about long term care planning.
And we are joined with miss Melinda. Thank you so much for coming and sitting with us. Thank you so much for having me. So why don't you go and introduce yourself for our viewers.
Sure. Sure. So I'm Melinda Twilly Bryant. I am the vice president of brand development with Freedom Ultra Law department.
I am so excited to talk about this today. So you of course have a lot of experience talking about this for everyone. So I just wanna educate our audience a little bit more on, you know, what is an elder law attorney? Yeah.
Well, so, Heidi Friedman, who's our board certified elder attorney. Her joke is always I am not an elderly attorney, which she gets that all the time. But elder law is a specific part of estate planning, essentially. So sixty five plus is the normal age range where people are looking to do estate planning.
That's a little different than maybe the estate planning that you and I would do. Right? They're looking more towards the future of long term care and paying for long term care and making sure that their family is together and their things are protected and who's going to take care of what when I'm not able to, not necessarily when I pass away. So like I said, it's a very specific branch of estate planning, and it also looks at protecting assets against the cost of long term care so that you can get qualified for things like Medicaid term care or veterans aid and attendance.
Oh, man. And there's a lot that goes into that. So it's always helpful to have an expert. Yeah.
So with an expert expert, obviously, a lot of this, you know, you can plan yourself, but what are the benefits of actually working with an expert and an elder law attorney. Yeah. And, you know, there's so many ins and outs to your to your point of when it comes to to estate planning for that sixty five plus. Lots of things that you just can't do on your own.
So for instance, if you're looking for a power of attorney, the very simplest of document said an an elder law attorney would do for someone sixty five plus your power of attorney, your living will, a healthcare surrogate document Those things can be do done by like going online, right? You can go online and do do your documents. But was it state specific? Here in Florida, Our power of attorney document is like twenty five pages long.
You've got an initial initial there. Having an elder alternative professional that can help get you the right document is so important. When you start going into things like doing your planning for long term care, government benefits, it's very tricky. You have to ensure that all your eyes are dot and all your teas are crossed.
So the different strategies that can be done really can only be done by an attorney. You're not able to really draw up your own personal care service contract on your own, it may be missing something. So an elder law attorney really helps to ensure that you've got the right things in place. So that approval becomes much more certain when you go to apply for your Medicaid or your veterans aid in attendance.
That makes things a lot easier. Yeah. And I'm sure there's a a consulting aspect of it too because, you know, you might know what you want, but how the heck do you make sure it actually happens? Exactly.
Consultant or counselor. A lot of times we're in the shoulder. Yeah. Exactly. Because you may think you know what you want. But many times when our clients call our office, they are calling for one thing, but they walk away with a consultation with the attorney for like an hour that helps that uncover so many other things that they were not even aware of. So it it's definitely something that helps to broaden your understanding.
And open your eyes to the resources that are available for you. Absolutely. So tell me a little bit, you know, what is long term care? What are we planning for?
Well, we are sitting in a beautiful community right now here at our, Arbor Terrace Cooper City. And a lot of times that long term care can take on many forms. And this is one of them. So your assisted living and memory care is one.
Some people assisted living memory care is not actually an option for from a clinical perspective, they can only go into a skilled nursing, which is even more expensive, right? Or maybe they just want to stay at home, which, you know, many of us talk about, but it's just not feasible super expensive. So long term care is just that it's the long term part portion of your care outside of that acute or post acute spot of of being in a hospital are going to skilled nursing for short term rehab. So your long term long view of I cannot be at home safely anymore by myself.
How am I going to pay for that? Really? And so when should people start thinking about? Is that a trick question?
Yesterday, right? Yeah. When they're twelve, honestly. No. I mean, really we all should be on the top of our minds, all of our minds, even in my age group, I'm I'm basically twenty if you really think about it.
If you do the math right, but but long term care can start as early as that those twenty plus years because you can start looking to pay for long term care insurance, which the game has changed with long term care insurance over the years. It's not what it used to be. Now you're pretty much left to do your hybrid policies, which is like life insurance plus long term care, but they are so necessary and they come in so much more handy than trying to save up to pay for things, having that long term care insurance ensures that you're going to have the quality of care that you want in your future.
So definitely you wanna be thinking of it now, as soon as you can.
And You know, we talked a lot about, you know, start planning for it now, but let's also talk a little bit about the importance of planning ahead instead of waiting for an accident or an illness to happen. Yeah. I know. And I've been in this industry for a long time.
I've been with Freeman elder off for a couple of years. But prior to that, I was working for companies like this, and you see the same story over and over again. Right? Mom has fallen and the hospital mom cannot go home.
Those are your, crisis planning moments. Right? You're in the event has happened, and now you've gotta look at those options versus mom actually started showing signs of dementia five years ago.
Mom has already been doing things like leaving the stove on, you know, some things that that are questionable, or at the very least, mom is already just sitting at home doing crossover puzzles and watching TV all day in that social aspect, which is so important to our our daily development, even as we get older, is so important. So, I I definitely know that it's so important for us to be proactive instead of reactive. The unfortunate thing is many of us fall into that category, but it's so hard to understand that until you go through it. So our jobs as professionals in this industry is just to be the mouthpiece for blowing the trumpet so that people remember, hey, guys, plan now instead of waiting. Yeah.
Walk me through a little bit, you know, pick up the phone, you get that first consult scheduled. Yep. What happens? Alright.
So you pick up the phone. We get the consultation scheduled with the attorney. And from there, you're getting about an hour, sometimes plus because Heidi loves to talk to our our our our our people that call in, and she's gonna go through over what are the strategies that are there to protect your assets. So most of our clients are people who don't necessarily have a lot of money.
They're not millionaires. Okay. But they they have a little over fifty thousand sitting somewhere in account, or maybe they own a couple of properties. They're over assets.
And many times when you have a government benefit, You cannot make too much, you cannot have too much. So she's going to go through what strategies are going to help you to protect those assets, the quickest and ensure that you get approved. Then our, government benefit specialist, Chantee, will go through helping you collect all of those items and get those applications put in. Coaching you, counseling you on the assessments that are done many times with these government agencies to ensure that you actually need it.
And that is the the spot where a lot of people actually get tripped up because they answer those questions the wrong way, unknowingly.
So we we coach them through that and to do the whole process. So from the consultation on until approval of your government benefit is really where most of our clients see us, but obviously there's still your run of the mill estate planning. There's still your documents like power of attorney, and those things are a, transactional kind of thing. Yeah.
That makes sense. Do you have any other tips or advice for families or seniors who are starting to think about, all these things. I would say reaching out to communities like this where you have professionals who not only are assisting families and moving into places like this, but they're a resource as well. So people like myself, people like the sell the marketing team at Arbor, Terrace, Cooper City, they can actually point you in the right direction, even if this is not the right move for you.
It's just picking up the phone and connecting with people that could know, because you don't right now. Right. And those relationships are so important. Like we talked about, earlier.
Exactly. Yeah. Oh my goodness. Well, let us know.
How can people get in touch with you? Sure. Well, you can call Freemanlda law department by calling nine five four eight six six one zero five five. One of us will speak with you point you in the right direction even if an elder law attorney ends up not being what you need right now.
We get you pointed in the right direction. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
So enlightening, I've learned a ton, and I'm sure viewers have as well. Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you.
If you're in the Florida area, be sure to call Freedom Elder Law and they will get you set up on the right track. If you're interested in more stories like this one, learning more about senior living resources, You can find this video and others at senior living live dot com, but for now, we're gonna end it there. Thanks, everybody. Bye.