Family and Elder Law – It IS Always Personal
by Cristiane Roget, correspondent AdAvenueGroup.com with friends Barbara Pergament
Aging in the 21st century is fraught with decisions that can take the gleam off what was supposed to be the ‘golden years’ of ‘retirement bliss’.
Boca Raton/FL As the real estate market rebounds; the demand for attorneys cleaning up the detritus of the Great Recession has spiraled down. “I have seen my practice pivot in the last two years, ” confirms Thomas W. Walters, PA whose law practice is in the heart of East Boca Raton overlooking the azure Atlantic intercoastal waterway. “Foreclosures, fraudulent loans, reverse mortgages and short sales no longer dominate the dockets. Clients recovering from the real estate debacle still find themselves hobbled financially and emotionally in spite of the best made retirement plans,” he said.
The burgeoning Elder Care and Family Law specialists; whether attorneys, consultants or mediators should come as no surprise. North Americans, 65 years or older peaked this year at 47 million with population growth in this demographic expected to double by the mid-21st century according to a recent Pew Report.
Affluent populations are aging in good health like no other time since Methuselah, histories first ‘Millennial’. Nobel Prize nominee in anti-aging stem cell applications Dr. Vincent Giampapa opines, “Where a decade ago what was ‘science fiction’ in the advancement of prolonging a healthy, robust life is now ‘scientific fact’. Conventional wisdom and hard science corroborate that centenarians will become the new norm. “The human body is engineered to live to the ripe age of 120, ” according to Dr. Delfi Monteagudo of D & S Holistic Center in Doral and Lake Worth. Dr. Delfi plays tennis daily at 97 years of age. “With scientific advances that extend life spans comes our collective mission to assure humankind live healthy, vibrant lives right up to the end”, concurs Doug Giampapa CEO of healthycell ®. https://vimeo.com/120794653
According to the Huff Post, “Elder Law is the legal specialization de jour with no abatement in site”. Walters admits that, “the arena requires knowledge that crosses multiple practice-area specializations. His cases run the gamut from consulting students faced with immigration trauma to boomers on domestic, financial, criminal and employment concerns.
Thomas Walters, PA likens himself to a ‘General Practitioner’ whose clients issues are compounded and become more acute as they age. “This is why much of my legal advice is ‘preventative’ and ‘proactive’. There is nothing like applying a band aid before an issue becomes a million dollar problem.”
From solid mid-Western stock, Thomas carries on a family tradition. He earned his Law Degree at Nova Southern University as a followup to receiving a degree is Physical Health and Therapy. A third generation advocate of the people; his grandfather was a Cincinnati City Commissioner and Father a respected bailiff of the Court.
A vast number of mid to upper income Generation Jones and Gen X’ers bemoan their nest egg has dwindled rather than accrued over the last decade. With a huge segment of the population living from check to check and life expectancy decades beyond the anticipated expiration date many find themselves working post retirement. Holding down a job as a supermarket cashier, fast food fry cook or other labor intensive, minimum wage job into the ott’s is to most downright un-American.
Case in point is Eddie B. a former finance wizard who is raising two teenage daughters as a single father. He lives in a manicured gated community and works full time as a barrista at a west side Starbucks ™. As a team leader he loves the ‘sociability’ of his job but also admits that the companies medical plan is a huge incentive in working double shifts on most weeks.
Providing consul to societies most vulnerable populations, Walters confirms each case comprises a unique set of circumstances that are one part cultural, financial, familial and medical. Mediating in his clients best interest requires a unique balancing act. “Our approach is not them versus us. Justice for our clients requires a Solomon like sensitivity. Not only in the area of jurisprudence, but taking everyone’s circumstances into account. The ‘win’ is all the more sweeter if no one ‘loses’ “.
“Our firm must parse social work, advocacy and common sense in order to provide help for the defenseless for bad behavior that is indefensible. Driven by a passion to help the marginalized and under served is evident in Walters modest offices, affordable fees and his dedication to the needs of his clients.
Unlike never before legal practitioners must take into account the increased pressure on family members and professional health providers,” he says. Today’s maturing adults are finding themselves in a stress producing, midlife trifecta. “Many are caring for their aging parents, while their kids return to the empty nest saddled with debt. Parents are shouldering the overhead while they face the specter of their own retirement and concomitant loss of income.
We have represented caretakers in matters of lost and unpaid wages. Many who were more dedicated to their elder charges than their own children. We have also represented cases of elders abusing their adult children and many caught in legal juggernauts that only a highly trained attorney can untangle.” comments Walters.
His clients pose questions whose answers could spell the difference between a life lived with dignity rather than one in despair. “Questions regarding probates, home care versus assisted living, estate planning and wills versus trusts, reverse mortgages, inheritance taxes and how best to start a new business , all enter into the equation,” says Walters.
He attributes his success to having the prescience to see a paradigm shift in post millennium society. “The Recession was a wake up call for many. We are living in a time that sees the erosion of America’s quintessential core values. There is a shift from the amassing of wealth, by whatever ever means, to a new appreciation for simplicity over obscene consumerism. Health will always trump wealth, ” says Natalie Reeves Lopez, Life and Nutritional Coach and Author. left: Pictured with daughters Stephanie and Tahra Violet.
The aging population is faced with concerns that have segued from building wealth to how to preserve it. It is the legal professionals that are an indispensable part of the live long , live well and live secure credo.
Tom W. Walters, PA
Law offices of Tom W. Walters, P.A. provides legal counsel specializing in elder care law, disability law, estate planning and probate administration.
He has an enviable reputation that has extended his client base to Palm Beach, Broward Miami-Dade Counties and beyond. All work and no play makes for a dull boy Thomas runs competitively in Iron Man competitions from here to the Bahamas.
Sometimes seniors face problems that they cannot resolve themselves. At these times, they often need legal assistance from a trained attorney. Not all seniors can afford their own attorney or even know where to turn to find one. A number of legal resources are available in Florida to help seniors with legal issues. http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/index.php
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