Elder law

Most seniors live vital active lives but as we age, we are more susceptible to complications from illness or injury than in our youth! Those complications can create personal problems, cause concern for loved ones, and attract unwelcome attention from those who do not have our best interest at heart. 

All stages of life are meant to be enjoyed with peace-of-mind. Knowing that as many of life-matters as possible have been addressed in advance is one path to comfort in our senior years. 

The Law Offices of Mary Ann Tardiff serves the needs of senior citizens including: 

  • Estate planning, wills, trusts and tax issues
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Living wills or Advanced Health Care Directives
  • Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid coverage
  • Retirement living, assisted living, nursing home and in-home care
  • Age discrimination and elder abuse
  • Assisting families with elder care issues

Estate planning

Whether you own a mansion that is worth millions or are still living in the family home you bought in the 1970s, the object of an estate plan is to protect your interests while you are still alive and carry out your wishes after death. 

The key components of an estate plan include a will, a trust, appropriate powers of attorney and a living will, or Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD). All of these documents combined make sure that you retain control of all of your assets while you are alive, that your wishes regarding your health care are honored, your personal and financial matters are attended to according to your wishes in the event you become incapacitated, and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes upon death instead of by the probate court. An estate plan also leverages taxation benefits for you and your beneficiaries. 

In California when someone dies without a will and trust and the estate is worth more than $184,500, the California Probate Court makes the final decisions about how an estate is distributed. Even if there is only a will and no trust, the estate still goes to probate. Because of the value of real estate, anyone owning real property in California who does not have a trust is risking that their estate will be settled by probate upon their death. 

The probate process can take months to years depending on the complexity of the estate. Along with court fees that are charged to the estate, there is no guarantee your wishes will be carried out by the court. A will alone is not enough protection and a challenge to a will complicates and prolongs the probate process. 

Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance coverage

If you encounter problems with Social Security benefits, or getting the medical care you are entitled to, Mary Ann Tardiff can help navigate these systems to make sure you receive your financial and medical benefits.  

Access to medical care is essential to your health and the quality of your life. Cutting through government and private insurance red tape, Mary Ann Tardiff can help make sure you get the treatments, diagnostics tests and medications available to you. 

Planning for future medical care means you can make critical end-of-life legal decisions before an emergency. Mary Ann Tardiff can help you draft the AHDC and associated powers of attorney that give you the peace of mind knowing your wishes will be honored and your loved ones will not have to make difficult decisions. 

Retirement living, assisted living, nursing home and in-home care

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy favorite activities and family and friends. Mary Ann Tardiff can help you review retirement goals and plan for your retirement. She can also help you address matters about senior lifestyles including:

  • Your choice of a new living situation is safe, affordable and has a full range of services for your benefit including activities, pet-friendly, and medical staffing
  • Assist families when concerns about a parent’s welfare arise

Age discrimination and elder abuse

Elder abuse comes in many forms. 

  • Denying a senior-citizen employee a fair wage, safe working conditions, allowing a hostile workplace or even not hiring you because of your age are illegal. 
  • Physical abuse such as slapping an elder, denying food, showers, access to the bathroom and taking financial advantage of anyone over 65 is also illegal. 

Assisting families with elder care issues

Family members are often the first to notice changes in an elder’s behavior. Memory loss, falling, a serious illness, forgetting to eat or pay bills and changes In hygiene habits may mean the elder is no longer able to take proper care of himself and it’s time for the family to intervene. 

The elder may be uncooperative to the point she is a danger to self. They may be making unsound decisions about health or finances. Another relative or a caretaker may be taking unfair advantage or even physically harming them. 

Mary Ann Tardiff helps senior citizens and families reach the most appropriate decisions about elder care and safety, including assisting with any necessary court proceedings.