What is “Elder Law” Anyway?

If we are lucky, we get old.

With that luck comes inevitable challenges:  Can I stay at home as I age, and if not, what are my options?  Is there any way to pay for care that won’t deplete my assets and leave my spouse or other loved ones impoverished and uncared for?  How am I going to avoid dragging everyone down and becoming a huge burden if I can’t function well without help?

It can start to feel like you are staring death in the face.  We don’t think of Elder Law as planning for death.  For us, it is about planning for life.  For the quality of life of your spouse, your children, and most importantly for you.  Will you get “bare bones” care, or will you have the care you want?  How you plan can make a huge difference.

Watching my own parents age, and especially watching my brilliant, athletic father finally succumb to Alzheimer’s Disease, profoundly shifted my perspective on how I wanted to spend my time and energy as a lawyer.  My parents have been fortunate in every respect, and still they faced confusing, contradictory and sometimes really terrible advice from people they trusted.  As I look around at their friends and peers, I see many instances of suffering, financial ruin, and distress that could have been easily averted with just a bit of planning and competent advice.

Lawyers should be able to handle such things.  But until recently, there has been no specialty in law that integrates the different areas that need attention, and no recognition that lawyers caring for seniors as clients need to have close working relationships with other professionals in order to coordinate the many problems they encounter.  That’s what a good Elder Law practice does.

There are no” typical” issues, because every client is unique.

Your priorities may involve getting documents drafted, like wills, trusts, advance directives, powers of attorney and the like. You many want to protect your assets from being taken to pay for long term care that might be needed down the road, whether that care is provided in your home or in some other type of setting, in order to qualify for government assistance.

Decisions on Long Term Care Insurance, Medicaid Asset Protection, Special Needs Trusts and applying for veteran’s benefits can seem overwhelming.  Where can you find help to modify your home, to provide in-home care, or to help you understand the contracts with the continuing care facility. What are your options?  If you, or someone you love suddenly gets sick or hurt, how can you cope?

We are here to help.

But why should I hire you?

 How do I know that you are smart enough and resourceful enough to handle my unique situation?

My legal career began in 1984, when I graduated near the top of my class from Northwestern University Law School, a top-tier law school, and went to practice corporate and securities law at a large, well-respected firm with offices worldwide.  It was a heady, fast-paced experience that gave me invaluable experience in delivering top-shelf legal advice and services. My Fortune 500 clients expected competent, creative legal advice and they got it.

In the thirty years since graduation, I have been admitted to practice in three states (Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia), have worked in a large firm, a small firm, and as a solo practitioner. I also owned my own senior home care business, so I understand well the difficulties faced by people who want to stay independent, don’t want to go broke, and don’t want be a burden on the ones they love. I also know how things can go from wonderful to crisis in minutes.

You will not find a stodgy, preach-from-my-desk lawyer who wants to prove how brilliant I am by confusing you with arcane terminology and formality.  You need a plan, and it is my job to work with you, your family and your other trusted advisors to come up with that plan.  If you don’t have other advisors and need them, I can help you find them.

All of my clients can count on me to focus on them, their issues, and their schedule.  I purposely limit the number of clients I take, so I can give my full attention to them and their needs.  I take pride in being service-oriented.  My office has plenty of parking, is warm and comfortable, but I am just as happy to see you in your home, hospital room, care community or the local coffee shop at no additional charge.  Evenings and weekends are fine, too.

O.K., but who are you really, Judi?

Judi WeberI am one very happy woman.

I live on a beautiful farm with my wonderful and devoted husband Rick, three horses, three dogs and a cat. And chickens. And a big garden. Mornings come early, with barn chores, big breakfasts and lots of music.

I have four adult children, who continue to bring me untold joy.  I am extremely proud of their many diverse accomplishments, and even prouder of the character and resilience they display when met with life’s challenges.

The highlight of my week is a visit from Kylie or Colton, my priceless grandchildren.

It is wonderful to be just where I want to be, in my family life and my career.

I look forward to meeting with you. We are with you, for Life.