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So far Nadler Biernath has created 15 blog entries.

What To Expect In Our Consultations

What To Expect In Our Consultations

For most folks, the idea of estate planning can be a little uncomfortable. But, the truth is, the hardest part is often working up the will (pun intended!) to make the first call. At Nadler Biernath, we do our best to make the process painless, taking care of our clients and helping solve their problems. We’re here to give you peace of mind. We’ve seen how difficult things can be when people don’t have estate plans in place. When guardianship is needed or a special needs child isn’t protected, families can struggle—emotionally and financially—sorting everything out. 

If you’re still feeling nervous about the process, or intimidated by the potential time commitment, we wanted to share what a typical consultation might look like. Of course, every family is different, and every family’s needs are different. We don’t like one-size-fits-all solutions. But, for our new clients, we can still give you a good idea of what to expect, what to bring and what to think about beforehand. 

What our process looks like

After you contact us to schedule, we send you straightforward intake forms to email, fax or mail back to our office before we meet. With a special needs planning consult, for example, we’d ask for family details, like names and ages of spouses or children, and financial information, like account types and approximate amounts in each account.

Having the forms ready to go at our first chat lets us start off with a substantive conversation. It gives us a broad picture of your needs so we can begin to ask the right questions. 

Once we meet (which may be over the phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic—more on that below), our attorneys will ask about what you’re looking for from our office. We’ll also want to hear about family dynamics, like stepchildren, the relationship between adult kids or an ex-spouse. 

After that, we can make recommendations based on your needs, helping weigh in on whether to seek guardianship or set up a certain type of trust. Most of our clients leave that first meeting visibly relieved. In fact, we’re pretty proud of how often people tell us it wasn’t nearly as hard as they’d thought it would be. 

How to get ready for your consult

Before your consult, you don’t need to research every estate planning option or start learning Georgia statutes. Instead, think about the big questions—the things we can’t answer for you:

  • Who do you trust to involve in your estate plan? You’ll want to consider family members and friends who you trust financially, or who you’d want to care for your minor or incapacitated children.
  • Who do you want to leave your assets to? What if your children are still minors? 
  • What assets do you have? We need to know what types of assets you hold (property, retirement accounts, investments), how much they hold and how they’re titled—not the account numbers or exact amounts. 

How we’re operating during the COVID-19 pandemic

For now, we’re continuing to see clients virtually, but that hasn’t changed the way we do our consults. We miss seeing folks face-to-face, but we also respect that our client population and their families are often at higher risk for serious coronavirus complications. Most people prefer phone calls, though we can also set up secure, password-protected Zoom calls. We’re hoping to begin slowly reopening our office to clients in the near future, though we’ll always make client and staff safety our priority. 

Speak With an Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

At Nadler Biernath, we know estate planning isn’t the easiest thing to think about. However, we work hard to make the process simple for our clients. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning, special needs law and elder care law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation to discuss how we can help your loved ones.

By | 2020-06-18T17:12:54+00:00 June 17th, 2020|Estate Plan|0 Comments

Advanced Directive for Health Care

Advanced Directive for Health Care

What is an advance directive?

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has made distant end-of-life scenarios suddenly feel less remote. Being faced with a known, widespread illness—one that often leaves people hospitalized apart from loved ones—makes expressing one’s wishes in writing feel more urgent than ever. 

Advance directives are one legal tool used to express those wishes now, taking the pressure off of family members. And while healthcare decisions related to the coronavirus are top of mind for many, an advance directive is really for anyone at any point in life.

What is an advance directive in Georgia?  

An advance directive is a state-specific document that appoints an agent to make health care decisions if you are unable to make them yourself and stating your preferences on the type of care you would like to receive at the end stages of your life. When these end of life care preferences are not dictated, doctors have a range of emergency treatments they draw on to keep patients alive, including the use of:

  • Ventilators
  • CPR
  • Tube feeding or intravenous fluids

How do you draft an advance directive? 

If you don’t already have an advance directive, begin by thinking about what’s most important to you in life and what type of care you’d want to receive. What are your priorities in regard to personal care? Does your faith dictate a certain type of end of life process? You may want to set up a virtual consultation with your family doctor in order to talk about any existing health risks you have. Think about health history and the end-of-life care relatives received. You may also wish to learn more about palliative care or comfort care.

Once you’ve thought through your choices, you should memorialize your wishes in an advance directive for healthcare. A lawyer is not required to execute an advance directive, but consulting with a lawyer will ensure that your advance directive reflects your wishes. After your documents are complete, you may wish to share a copy with your doctor to keep in your file. You’ll also want to speak with family members about your plans. 

Whatever you decide now, your document can be revisited as your values shift, your perspective on life changes or as you face a known disease or condition instead of a theoretical emergency. 

This is a difficult time for everyone right now, filled with stress and anxiety. But it’s also causing many people to think about what matters most to them. End-of-life care is deeply personal. We understand that, and we’re here to help. 

Speak With an Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning, special needs law and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-06-04T18:18:04+00:00 June 3rd, 2020|Estate Plan|0 Comments

How You Can Help Nursing and Assisted Living Homes During COVID-19

How You Can Help Nursing and Assisted Living Homes During COVID-19

With COVID-19 seriously affecting the country’s nursing home population, many facilities are locked down to visitors, leaving residents without in-person connections to family members and friends. Many residences have also had to cut their schedule of in-house social events—think bridge groups or movie nights—and move meals to room service only. 

Residents who may be feeling worried, lonely or bored need your help, and their hardworking caretakers need your appreciation. Whether you’d like to show support for your loved one’s nursing team or simply remind your community’s elders that they’re not forgotten, we have a few ideas to get you started. 

Send some love

Break out your notecards, stationary and fun markers and start writing. Organizations like Letters of Love accept handwritten notes—one-way, anonymous words of encouragement and love. Their volunteers sort and package the letters before sending them to senior facilities. They also accept donations to help manage the cost of postage. 

Some nursing homes have put out the call for pen pals for residents, aiming to establish longer-term correspondences. Others, like Atlanta’s A.G. Rhodes, feeling overwhelmed by the processing and distribution of letters and cards, are requesting drawings, notes and pictures sent via email. If you’re hoping to send more than a note—like new games, puzzles or unused personal items—check with the facility beforehand to be sure they’re accepting such donations. 

You can also share a video message through organizations like #CareNotCOVID to let residents know you’re thinking of them.

Cater a meal

If you’d like to say thank you to the healthcare heroes caring for Atlanta’s elders, consider catering a staff lunch or dinner. If you have a facility in mind, contact them to find out what their policy is regarding food deliveries. Your thoughtfulness will also do double-duty, helping our hurting restaurant industry stay afloat as well. Also, if you order Girl Scout Cookies, you can donate a box to frontline healthcare workers without paying shipping charges. 

Practice social distancing

While some businesses are beginning to reopen, consider how much you really need to shop, dine out or visit with groups. Residents in nursing homes are at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, and once a home has a confirmed case, it often spreads rapidly among close-quartered residents. Additionally, nursing home staff members often don’t have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to truly keep them safe. By reducing your own circulation in the community, you help limit the spread.

Most importantly, follow all nursing home restrictions on visitors, mail and donations. While it’s hard to be apart from those we love, it’s helping protect their safety and the staff who care for them.

Speak With an Atlanta Elder Law Lawyer

Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we have experience handling all aspects of elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. 

By | 2020-05-19T15:00:06+00:00 May 18th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Thank You to Budd Terrace’s Healthcare Heroes

Thank You to Budd Terrace’s Healthcare Heroes

Here at Nadler Biernath, we’re saddened by the toll COVID-19 has taken on our seniors. We know that many elders, especially those living in nursing centers, are bearing the brunt of this disease. But we’re also grateful for the skilled staff, including the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, techs, cooks and environmental services professionals, who are caring for our older loved ones—often putting their own health at risk.

That’s why we wanted to say “thank you” to some of the healthcare heroes working at Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods near Emory. Together with Chris’ Pizza, we catered a meal for 100 staff members on May 8. We hope that it brought them a little break and a chance to recharge during a stressful time. To all of the caregivers, thank you for doing your best to care for Atlanta’s most vulnerable. 

By | 2020-05-18T15:04:42+00:00 May 14th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Supporting Special Needs Parents

Supporting Special Needs Parents

As a parent, you’re used to prioritizing your child’s wellbeing. As a special needs parent, you might often be throwing yourself into finding treatments, therapies and educational accommodations that fit your child’s needs. But in our current circumstances, now is the time to center on your own wellbeing as much as your child’s. Your energy keeps the household running. Your calmness helps your child face disruption. Your strength models a healthy way forward.

Finding stability in routine
If your child thrives on regularity, work to establish a new routine for the household with things that are under your control, like family time, outdoor time and rest. But while you’re drawing up the family schedule, don’t forget to make time for yourself.

If you live in a two-parent household, this may mean taking turns getting out of the house for a walk or holing up in another room with a book for 30 minutes. Carve out a few minutes before your child wakes to make coffee, take a shower or message a friend. After your child is asleep, give yourself a little time beyond nighttime cleanup—but also keep an eye on the clock. Getting adequate sleep will help you avoid burnout and give you the strength you need to do it all again tomorrow. Child Mind Institute has resources focusing on mindfulness and the importance of self-care.

Letting go of perfection
While it’s a great goal to maintain good sleep, diet and exercise habits, don’t worry too much if every day doesn’t quite go to plan. You also don’t have to “make the most” of this time by organizing every closet, learning a new language or starting a side business. Caring for your special needs child is enough. Make sure family and friends help contribute to this mindset, and take a step back from relationships that leave you feeling inadequate. Find your community. FOCUS + Fragile Kids has parent resources and support. Understood.org also has resources on how to change expectations and let go of perfection.

Creating harmony in the home
Try prioritizing calming and uplifting activities that do double-duty for you and your child. Depending on your child’s abilities and personality, you might take a family walk, create a group art project or call a friend. Some kids may also enjoy the act of practicing gratitude with you—thinking of what makes you all happy right now instead of what’s hard or stressful. Practicing gratitude doesn’t close you off from accepting grief as well. Don’t be afraid to unload your fears on another adult who is able to listen.

Autism Speaks has a deep list of resources covering everything from caregiver coping techniques to how to handle stress. Parenting resources from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life cover topics like taking care of yourself and teaching coping skills.

Right now, special needs parents need support more than ever. Check in with your loved ones and don’t be afraid to speak up when you need a hand or a break. Parents, you are doing your best. Give yourself a pat on the back and a break where you can find one.

Speak With a Special Needs Lawyer

At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of special needs. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-05-08T14:08:21+00:00 May 6th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Dealing With Not Being Able to Visit Elderly Family Members

Dealing With Not Being Able to Visit Elderly Family Members

Because older adults are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19, many people are being forced to temporarily postpone visits with elderly family members. This is hard for everyone, of course, but right now it’s one of the best ways to keep your loved ones safe. And, if they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, staying away also helps protect other residents and their caretakers (often people you know and trust).

But forgoing visits for the time being doesn’t have to mean isolation. What can you do to keep your older family member feeling loved, safe and connected?

Call and call again. Check in daily, or even more than daily if it feels right. By speaking to your loved one regularly, you’ll know quickly if something sounds amiss. You’ll also be able to make sure your family member’s mental health isn’t taking a turn for the worse. If your older relative has hearing loss, make sure he or she has a suitable phone, or call the nursing home and request that they facilitate a phone call.

Get tech savvy. A short time ago, it may have seemed like too much of a challenge to get your older relative comfortable with FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or another audiovisual platform. But now, the ability to have a face-to-face connection is more important than ever. If your parent is isolated in his or her home, try walking through the setup or installation steps over the phone. If he or she lives in a care home, see if an employee has the time and ability to help.

Send a care package. No, they’re not just for your college freshman! Your elderly loved one is likely feeling disconnected and bored without the ability to see visitors, venture out, or socialize with friends and other residents. Drop off (it’s allowed) or mail in puzzles, coloring books, novels or favorite nonfiction books, art supplies, needlecraft supplies, board games or other entertainment. You can also start mailing letters, cards and art from the grandkids.

Plan a TV or movie date. If you’re worried your loved one spends an unhealthy amount of time watching the news, suggest an alternative that you can share together. Choose a show or movie that you both have access to (you may have to return to the appointment viewing of cable TV unless your relative has streaming services). Watch together, either over the phone or checking in later to discuss.

Try a distance visit. If your loved one lives in a facility, see if rules allow for a ground-floor window visit. Simply seeing each other through glass can be a comfort. If your elderly relative lives independently, have the kids decorate the car and drive by.

Take care of yourself. It can be hard to manage kids, perform your job and advocate for your older relatives. It’s painful to not be able to see those you love, worry that they’ll get sick and wonder if they’re being cared for. Don’t neglect your own health during this challenging time.

Speak With an Elder Law Attorney

At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-05-08T05:13:22+00:00 April 22nd, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

Get Your Estate Planning in Order

Get Your Estate Planning in Order

With stay-at-home orders, dire predictions and story after story covering the unsettling present, this is an undeniably stressful time—one that can easily send thoughts off on a “what if” trajectory of worst case scenarios. But it’s also a time to reassess what’s most important to us. To simplify what we can and protect those we most care about. To that end, many people are thinking about estate planning more seriously than they ever have before.

Of course, estate planning is always important, with or without a pandemic in the picture. That’s because estate planning doesn’t just address your financial assets. It also covers guardianship for minor or incapacitated children, planning for the possibility that you may become incapacitation, and making potential end-of-life care decisions.

Here are some planning documents you’ll want to consider including in your estate planning:

  • Financial Power of Attorney: This document appoints a financial agent – someone who can handle your finances on your behalf. The document also allows you to pick and choose specific powers to grant to your agent. If you’re hospitalized and in serious condition, your financial power of attorney could allow your agent to pay your bills, address retirement benefits, file taxes, and address other financial needs.
  • Advance Directive for Healthcare: This document combines the “power of attorney” and “living will” decisions. In the Advance Directive, you appoint a healthcare agent – someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so. You may also share your wishes regarding life-sustaining interventions, taking the burden off your family members.
  • Last Will and Testament: This will detail how you want any assets held in your name to be distributed after your passing. You will also name an executor. If you have minor children, you’ll nominate a guardian for them if you pass away along with their other parent.
  • Revocable Trust: While a trust is not necessary for everyone, some clients will want to establish one. Trusts can be particularly important for clients with minor or special needs children, those who own out-of-state property, and those considering long-term care planning.

Wills must be witnessed and notarized to be valid. This April, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Georgia’s governor issued an executive order allowing remote witnessing and notarization of documents. The executive order, only in effect during this crisis, provides safeguards to be sure document signings are witnessed and notarized properly.

After creating your estate plan, it’s a good idea to make your wishes known to family members and keep your documents in a safe location. You’ll also want to list your financial accounts and online passwords (in a safe place), as well as any wishes you have regarding social media accounts, email accounts or personal correspondence.

Considering worst case and end of life scenarios is tough, but we try to make it as painless as possible. Creating a trust or last will and testament is a gift to give your family, and we’re ready to help you get started.

Speak With an Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of estate planning, special needs law and elder law. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-04-14T14:01:39+00:00 April 14th, 2020|Estate Plan|0 Comments

Helping Special Needs Kids Deal With Schedule and Routine Changes

Helping Special Needs Kids Deal With Schedule and Routine Changes

As the parent of a special needs child, you have probably put a lot of time and effort into creating a routine that works for your family. You’ve ideally figured out the right lineup of activities and social time, the right mix of therapies and appointments, and, if your child is grade school age, an individualized education plan (IEP) that’s tailored to fit his or her learning style.

That’s why it’s so hard to see your child’s schedule—a routine that may bring comfort and familiarity—go out the window with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you and your family adjust to a new reality of working from home, educating from home and social distancing, we have some ideas to help.

Talk about it. If you haven’t already, find a way to discuss what’s going on with your child in a way that’s age and developmentally appropriate. Remain reassuring, but be honest. Validate your child’s disappointment and grief over canceled events, missed friends or disrupted activities. Regressions are to be expected.

Make a new routine. If a routine helped reassure your child before, it can help now in these uncertain times. Start with your typical schedule: You’ll still want your kids to get up, eat breakfast and get dressed each day. Try to incorporate gross motor activities that work for your child, like bike rides, yoga or walks. Also set aside time for family activities—scavenger hunts, board games or puzzles are all good options, depending on your child’s interests. Ask for your child’s input, and make the family schedule something visual.

Tailor your education plan. If your child has an IEP, you’ll want to talk to your school about how this will translate to distance learning. Will there be one-on-one instruction? Lessons that include modifications? See if your child’s teacher can help you set goals to work toward at home.

Keep up virtually. In addition to online learning, your child may be able to keep up with regular therapy appointments through telemedicine. Remember, it may take some time to adjust to the new process. Also encourage your child to talk to friends and family members over video calls. If your child’s anxiety becomes especially serious, call your pediatrician to ask about virtual mental health services.

Focus on the positive. While everyone is facing fear and the unknown, try to enjoy your time with your child. Make a list of things you’d like to do together—maybe cook a new food, create a piece of art or read a favorite book aloud. Think of ways you could help or virtually reach out to others, whether they are families in your special needs community, the elderly or healthcare workers.

If you need some new ideas to stay active and creative, FOCUS + Fragile Kids has activities to keep your kiddos’ minds and bodies engaged. You’ll also find workshops on subjects like special education during school closures.

Speak With a Special Needs Lawyer

Planning is more important than ever right now. At Nadler Biernath, we’re happy to be able to support families as they navigate this ongoing crisis. We have experience handling all aspects of special needs planning. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted virtually) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. Stay safe and healthy!

By | 2020-04-13T15:36:30+00:00 April 8th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments

The CARES Act: What You and Your Family Need to Know

The CARES Act: What You and Your Family Need to Know

We are in largely uncharted waters with regard to the benefits and tax-related consequences that these payments will have on recipients. Information changes daily in some cases. For the most up-to-date information on these issues, we recommend that you check Social Security & Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), where the SSA will post updates as they arise.

With the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act now law, many families are hoping to see some relief from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve probably already heard about the direct government payments (more on those later), but while the rebates are the most newsworthy provision, there are other aspects of the law that might help you or your family through this challenging time.

Here are some of the key aspects of the law that you’ll want to know about:

Direct government payments: The government will be giving out rebates of up to $1,200 per person or $2,400 per married couple, with an additional $500 per child. The cash amount drops as income levels climb, phasing out entirely for people who make more than $99,000, or $198,000 for couples. 

The rebates will also go to people who claim Social Security benefits, including disability or Supplemental Security Income, provided they are also within the income requirements. For purposes of determining benefits eligibility, rebate checks will not be counted as income. Rebate checks will also not be counted as a resource for twelve months following receipt of the check. Note that if you’re a senior who typically does not file a tax return, you will still be able to receive your rebate check without filing a tax return, if you are a social security recipient. 

Extra unemployment benefits: The federal government is adding up to $600 per week to a recipient’s existing state benefits. The benefits will be extended 13 weeks. Self-employed people, freelancers and contractors are also now eligible for unemployment. 

Mortgage forbearance: Homeowners struggling to make payments may ask their mortgage servicer for relief, provided the loan is owned by a federally backed lender, either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The act also pauses foreclosures. 

Student loan deferral: Federal student loan payments can now be paused on Department of Education held loans until September 30th. 

Retirement fund penalties and RMDs changed: The early withdrawal penalty is waived for anyone tapping into a retirement account for COVID-19-related reasons (such as becoming sick or losing a job). Distributions are still taxable, though the tax amount may be spread over three years. If the withdrawal is completely repaid in three years, there is no tax liability. For people who are already retired, required minimum distributions (RMDs) are waived for 2020.  Those who would otherwise be required to take distributions under an inherited IRA are also permitted to forego the RMD for 2020. 

New Medicare provisions: To avoid unnecessary trips to the pharmacy for an already at-risk population, Medicare recipients may receive a three-month supply of certain medications. Telehealth coverage is expanded, and the requirement that the patient saw the telehealth provider in the past three years has been dropped.

More mental health support: The act extends Medicaid’s mental health services through Nov. 30.

Charitable deductions: For those in a financial position to donate right now, taxpayers will be able to deduct up to $300 from their taxable income. 

Insurance coverage: The CARES Act requires private insurance plans to cover treatments and an eventual vaccine, as well as making COVID-19 tests free. 

Note, too, that Medicare fraud schemes are on the rise during this pandemic. Protect your information and stay up-to-date on scams

Speak With an Atlanta Special Needs or Elder Law Attorney

Planning is more important than ever during this challenging time. Call us today at 770-999-9799 to schedule your initial consultation (conducted online) to discuss how we can help your loved ones. 

By | 2020-04-08T18:21:39+00:00 April 8th, 2020|Latest News and Events|0 Comments