I decided to become a lawyer after spending time as a teacher in Los Angeles. After my time teaching, I knew that I wanted to continue to help others, but in a different way. I attended law school at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Being an elder law attorney continues that good feeling for me. I get to do something I am passionate about and work hard while also knowing I am helping others in the process.
WHY ELDER LAW AND ESTATE PLANNING?
My Grandmother lived to be 105 years old. She began to require nursing care in her 90s, and finally at 99 needed to be in a nursing home full time. Obviously, we were going to put her in the best nursing home we could find, and we were all blown away by just how much it would cost. It was especially tough knowing that my parents, now in their 70’s 80’s, are on a fixed income themselves. While my parents were healthy, Grandma going into a nursing home brought up a lot of important questions. What will we do when Grandma runs out of money? If Grandma’s nursing home turns out to have problems, what are our legal remedies? What if one of my parents needs care while Grandma is still alive? How will my parents be able to pass on as much of their assets as possible? What happens if one them suddenly gets ill? After mentioning this to friends, I realized just how many of us, young and old alike, worry about caring for ourselves and others. It may be a cliché to say we are living longer and costing more, but there is truth to that cliché. Helping my family out made me realize how much I can help others answer these questions using my legal skill and expertise.
Now that I practice elder law, I continue to deal with these issues every day. In the fall of 2016, my parents moved to the Northwest to live with my wife and me. In the fall of 2018, my parents moved from our house to a senior living community. Eventually, my mother’s care needs were too great; while Dad stayed in senior living, Mom had to be moved to an adult family home for dementia care. While dad put on a brave face, I think the pain of separation was just too much; he passed away a little over six months after they were separated.
I loved spending each day with my parents but have learned a lot about the tough decisions many of my clients go through when their loved ones getting old does not look exactly the way we pictured.