The headline catches everyone's attention right away. Don't Spend Retirement Worrying.
Elder Law Attorney Heidi Friedman says the legal issues facing seniors are important but can be very confusing. That's why countless numbers of seniors turn to her law firm, the Friedman Elder Law Department, for solutions to the many questions older Americans are faced with every day.
In Episode One of the Great American Senior Show, Attorney Friedman offers timely advice to grey-haired host Sam Yates on aging seniors can best avoid the worries that can haunt the elderly.
She shares some of the steps seniors should take to protect themselves, their assets and their loved ones during the aging process.
Hello, everyone and welcome to another edition of The Great American Senior Show. I'm your grey haired host, Sam Yates. And today I'm paying a visit with Heidi Friedman Friedman Elder Law in South Florida. Things are great in South Florida. And Heidi, welcome to the program today.Heidi Friedman:
Thank you, Sam. And thank you for having me. You know,Sam Yates:
before we get into your areas of Elder Law, tell us about yourself.Heidi Friedman:
So I am a board certified elder law attorney. I'm one of only 117 board certified elder law attorneys in the entire state of Florida. In addition, I am a mother of two amazing boys one is 17. One is 22. My 22 year old has special needs. So he's just been just a joy in our lives. I have been a native of Florida. So I'm born and raised here raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and right now been living down in South Florida for most of my adult life.Sam Yates:
And I have to say there's not too many of us natives that are focused on doing the things that we're doing. So welcome, neighbor. Oh, it's a great and you know, and I know a bit about your background as well through a joint thing that we do called the elder services resource network. And it serves all of South Florida. And I'm going to put you in the spotlight as the the president of that organization. Tell me a bit about the elder services resource network.Heidi Friedman:
So yes, I have been the president this my first year is President, I've been a member of Altisource. It's actually yes RN for quite some time. The great thing about ESRM is it's a networking group. But really more than that, it's really a group, a great group of people that come together that want to learn more about the services and what we can do for the senior community, and our senior population, and it offers us some great resources. So if we ever have, you know, a concern or anything about any of our own clients, there's somebody always somebody in the networking group that we can contact and get some really good advice on how we can handle certain things or even refer them over to that person. ESRM is really has almost all the professions are in the senior community, you know, people can help in all different ways. So it is a really great group and, and I'm so glad that you are a member of my board.Sam Yates:
So I was going out and you you lead right in because I was going to say for all of those listening in the south Florida area, who are in a professional capacity in some fashion related to our seniors and the elderly. How may they go about contacting your membership person to find out about joining?Heidi Friedman:
I don't know them, how about you tell them how they can contact our membership person.Sam Yates:
I love it. I love it. I love it. One of the things that I do enjoy so much is helping those within the senior community which was the whole impetus for creating this program. So if you are interested in becoming a member of the SRN, please contact me you may do so at Sam at Yeates pro Yat SPR o or you can go to the ESR N website and just enter a general contact and that information will be forwarded on to me. And Heidi, I'm very proud to be a member of the organization, we're going to be doing great things because every day one of the members of our organization is helping seniors in some fashion. And you know that that takes us right into older Americans and their concerns in 1963. Back in April. That is when there was a a move to say our older Americans are very, very important. Senior citizens are important. May his senior citizens month elder Americans Month and it's going to be something special tell us why it is special for so many people to be recognized as part of that older American group.Heidi Friedman:
I think one of the things that we don't take into consideration in our country is how much experience and information our seniors have. One of the things that I absolutely love about my job is when I get to sit with a senior and hear their stories and hear what they've been through and just listen to all the amazing things that they've done, whether it's traveling, whether it's just different things that they've experienced. You know, I love hearing the stories of their lives and and their accomplishments. And I just don't think that we we as Americans really understand how how much information and how much experience is in our seniors. And again, it's one of the reasons why I love what I do. One of the things that I also love what I do, and the reason why I love what I do is because I, you know, aging in this country is not cheap. I don't know, people realize how expensive it is to age in this country. I mean, just to go into a skilled nursing facility or nursing home could cost anywhere from, you know, down here 10 to $12,000. And, and people can't always afford that. So what I do as I help those seniors be able to qualify for those for benefits to help pay for that care, because it's so important that they get the care that they need, we are definitely having people live a lot longer, not so much healthier, but definitely a lot longer. But there's so much we can learn from our seniors.Sam Yates:
Just talking this morning with a gentleman who is telling me, my mom is 91 years old, she never expected to live this long. She has outlived her money, and she can't afford the monthly rent on her manufactured home. And, and he was trying to find a way to help and I said there will be help out there. It's just a matter of knowing which door to knock on. And those are some of the things not that specific, that particular case, but you're a resource of knowledge for our seniors throughout South Florida.Heidi Friedman:
Absolutely. And and unfortunately, I come across that a lot or, or seniors that don't have, you know, listen, our parents saved what they thought they needed for retirement. But again, they didn't expect to live until you know, 1998. Even if we know the life expectancy tables have increased, you know, to a certain amount. So it's, it's, you know, people did not expect, first of all how much it would cost to age and didn't expect that they had to save as much money as they needed to. So we're here to help them protect their assets, get them qualified for certain government programs don't pay for that care, whether they're at home in an assisted living or in a nursing home. So that they can they can live out their lives. And you know, I've heard that many seniors tell me the golden years, where are the golden years, they're still waiting for them. So we try to help them so that they can get what they need.Sam Yates:
Part of that helping process starts with planning. And a lot of people don't know where to start. But but let's walk through some of them. Advanced Directives,Heidi Friedman:
so advanced directives, and a lot of people know them, and understand that they need them. Unfortunately, what I find in my practice is this is the place where people and I hate to say it this way, when people kind of cheap out, right, they want to, they want to pull up their rocket law, they want to pull up, you know, let my let my best friends, brothers, sisters, you know, attorney who doesn't know what they're doing, prepare my Advanced Directives. And really, truly, it's actually two of the most important documents that anyone should have. One is the durable power of attorney and the other is your healthcare directives. And really, truly I tell that anybody over the age of 18, should have these these documents, and they're very important, and they're not the time to, like, try to cheap out and pay the least amount or get the paralegal to to do them. I always say if you, you know, if you needed surgery, would you go to your pediatrician to have surgery? No, you'd go to the orthopedics. And that's really what you need to do. So durable powers of attorney are those documents that you signed, that will allow you to choose who you want to make decisions for you with guarding any of your legal property, any kind of issues of that nature. In the state of Florida, there are some really specific rules regarding them, and what needs to be in them and certain initials that need to be done. So those are things that you have to really take into consideration when you're preparing them. And the other document is the healthcare directives. Those are who you choose make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated. And also the living well portion that Living Will says what do you want to have happen in the event that you are terminal? Do you want to have like belonging procedures? Or do you want to just be able to die and die in peace? But again, letting people know those are really important documents that you should have? OneSam Yates:
of the things that's on the minds of a lot of people tax season, and tax season is always that trigger for Wow. There are things that I should do about my assets and legacy planning is something that folks don't really stop and think about it and perhaps until it's too late.Heidi Friedman:
Absolutely. And here's the thing, what people don't understand this, there are a lot of people who have done their estate planning, but they usually have done their estate planning when they are younger, right because, you know, when I was younger and married and had children and well I mean it They'll do but I'm talking about in general, people are doing estate planning to make sure that upon their death their family members can continue to live, if they lose their income or lose their whatever. When you start to become a senior, you really need to look at your estate planning in a whole different light it there has to be a different purpose, you can't have the same estate plan that you had when you were in your 40s and your 50s. When you turn 60 7080, I mean, let's face it, we changed your life has changed your your your focus has changed. So you really need to look at your estate plan in a way to help you protect your assets during your lifetime. So that you can leave a legacy so here at Freeman elder law department, we do have a program called life before legacy planning. And it's exactly that it's let's set up your estate plan to protect your assets, if you don't want out of them, so that you can ultimately leave that legacy to your loved ones. Now you talk about estate, you know the taxes and everything. And I'm gonna be honest with you right now, Sam, the estate tax inheritance and gifting. Exclusion is $11.45 million for each one of us double that for a couple. So most of us are not going to be dealing with a state, especially seniors at this stage, not going to be really concerning themselves with the the taxes, but they really should be concerning themselves with how do I protect my assets, I don't run out while I'm living this full life into my 90s. And that's the type of estate planning that we're talking about so that you can leave a legacy to your loved ones. Well, that gives us anSam Yates:
opportunity to say right now before we go on further into the program, a lot of people are probably going ooh, I better write that down. Now, how do I get in touch with Heidi? How can people contact you.Heidi Friedman:
So there are several ways to get in touch with us, we first of all, my website is www dot elderlaw d p t, as in dep.com. So you always go on there, you can always fill out a contact sheet, you can contact us directly at team at elderlaw de pt.com, that anything that you said will come right to us. Or you can just actually call us at 954-866-1055.Sam Yates:
Now I know because I went through this when my mother passed that you really need in your planning process to make sure that the part that people are doing in my mother was in her 80s. But she was online, and she had passwords and she had accounts, and she had pay her bills. So that's an important part. I think that a lot of people want to take care of mom or wife wants to take care of husband or vice versa. But somehow they tend to forget about passwords and all of those things that are in this meta universe. They're important.Heidi Friedman:
Yeah, yeah, it's true. And listen, it goes both ways, right? I mean, I have children that are also online and passwords. And you know, there'll be a ton of, I've gotten a couple of questions from my kids, Hey, Mom, can I my social security number, because so and so is asking for it online. And so you have to be really careful. One of the things I find is that, you know, here in Florida, we have a lot of the seniors that live here, but the children don't write the children live in other states. So they're making phone calls to their parents, their parents are telling them, they're totally fine, there's nothing wrong, and then they come down for holiday and they see the piles of bills that are on the dining room table, the house is a mess, mom is not really doing quite as well, as dad has said or vice versa. So it's really important that people really tune in to their parents more. Sometimes it's getting a care manager that will come down there and go take a look at them. And just to make sure everybody's doing okay, especially if you don't live in town, if you don't live in the state, maybe doing you know face to face times or whatever, to really see them not just listen to them on the phone. As far as passwords and all of that. Listen, I will tell you there's a lot of elder abuse. There's a lot of scams out there. I you know, I've tried people try to make me a victim of a scan. So it doesn't really matter your age. And it doesn't really matter how smart you are. And my older brother, who was an attorney brilliant, almost gotten involved in a scam that he didn't realize, you know, a phone call from Verizon and really wasn't varizen. So it's so important to just keep those communication open and explaining to your parents, you know, hey, my son is in college. And if you get a phone call saying that he's in another country and he needs money to get out of jail. It's not him calling me first, put in those checks and balances in your family so that your parents will make those phone calls to you first before they start Western unioning money the country has. It does happenSam Yates:
all the time. And we're seeing it especially now with some of the unrest that's going on in Europe. The war in the Ukraine, the exodus of people from the Ukraine becoming refugees. A lot of those people have relatives here in the United States that of course, the relatives are watching very, very carefully. And then they get that call and they're not quite sure who it's from your aunt, uncle, somebody, they're an older person, and believe that if they send money, what what red flags should immediately go up if they hear something like that.Heidi Friedman:
So first of all, they everybody needs to know IRS does not call you, okay? They do not call, they are not picking up the phone call and calling you. So you get anything from IRS, it is not a phone, it's not right. Banks do not call you they don't call you and tell you there's a problem with your password or whatnot. That's that's not going to happen. You know, your cell phone companies don't call you. If you do get any of these calls, the best thing to do is to say, You know what, thank you very much. It's not a good time right now, I'm going to call you back and then call back the company. Make sure that whoever has called you is from that company, not, don't give out passwords, don't give out information over the phone. You know, the CMA happened to my brother was even, you know, they said, Hey, we're sending you a link on your on your phone, give us the phone us give us the code? Well, yeah, because they were on online with Ryzen. And they were sending him a code. So you got to be really careful. I mean, what the scammers out there are very intelligent and they've done a lot of work to get where they are. And you just need to be really careful. And again, like I said, the biggest thing is in those checks and balances, before any money set before the passwords are done. Before you give out any information, make sure you check with a family member, or you contact the company yourselves,Sam Yates:
or contact an elder attorney, orHeidi Friedman:
contact an elder attorney. That isSam Yates:
one thing before I before I close out the program, I want to find out can you come back for another episode we haven't. We've covered so much. But there's yet more we need to cover.Heidi Friedman:
There is a lot more that we can cover absolutely would be my pleasure to comeSam Yates:
back. Very good. Tell everyone how to get in touch with you before we say good day today.Heidi Friedman:
Okay, again, website, www dot Elder Law Department dept.com. You can reach us by email team at www.elderlawdpt.com. Or you can always call us at 954-866-1055Sam Yates:
The elder law firm expert is in the house. And she's going to come back for another episode. So stay tuned, folks. Heidi, thank you for being here today.Heidi Friedman:
Sam, thank you again for having me. I appreciate it. And weSam Yates:
look forward to having her back for another episode a reminder that the great American senior show we stream 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So when you hear one of our programs with Heidi, for example, and you want to share it with someone download it, and you can pass the link on and I know Heidi is going to be putting these things up on her website as well and we'll put them on social media. The whole idea is the great American senior show wants to help protect and inform our older Americans. You're not only in South Florida, throughout the United States and around the world because that's how interconnected we are today. And we're going to be continuing our program with a great American senior show. In the meantime, I'm not gray hair and host we'll see you on our next episode.