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Attorneys for Elder Issues
Does anyone have recommendations for lawyers specializing in VA Benefits?
I've heard that they are a ''different animal'' from Medicare.
My dear parents-in-law have been aging at home & are now in their late 80's.
My MIL has had dementia for a decade, & my FIL has been valiantly taking care
of her with very little outside help. Recently there were health crises for
both of them, & we all realized how bad the situation had become without us
knowing, & that Mom needs to go into assisted living. They have assets, but
with the cost of assisted living/in-home care, their assets could be
exhausted in short order.
Recommendations, & any other advice, would be welcome!
I am a health advocate with Heartwood Health and we would recommend you
contacting Clyde Charlton at 415.485.2200. He is an attorney in San Rafael.
I can highly recommend Tova Zeff (510-593-8393 or
firstname.lastname@example.org) - she's a Berkeley attorney specializing in
Probate / Elder Law / VA benefits, and she has lots of experience in
Tova is great because she takes the time to listen to clients, and
she's also focused on educating clients as part of her practice. I've
been working with her on some legal / contract matters for my
business, and she's really been a great resource.
I have a friend who helps with this sort of thing. His name is Thomas
Prindiville Higgins and his website is here: http://myvacase.com/
His phone number is (408) 590-9790
He's a genuinely nice guy and should be able to assist you. Feel free
to email me if you have any questions.
Call Tova Zeff. She could help you with her hands tied
behind her back. Of course, she doesn't work that way. She's
kind, knowledgeable, and effective. And honest.
my deadbeat ''co-trustee'' brother has taken money for a third
time from my mother's bank accounts. (she has dementia).
i've called him on it each time, but he is verbally abusive,
entitled and has not paid it back.
think it's time to pursue having the court remove him as
co-trustee if possible.
i would like to keep drama to a minimum (in the interest of
family relations...) so i want an attorney who knows their
stuff but not neccessarily a pit bull.
east bay preferred, thanks!
~tired of being the ethical one alone against the jerk
I'm so sorry this is happening to your mother! Removal of a
trustee is not uncommon, and you don't need a ''pit bull'' to
accomplish it. In addition, you would be wise to include a claim
for financial elder abuse under these circumstances. You have a
fiduciary duty to your mother (besides your own personal
feelings!) to make sure that your brother doesn't continue to take
advantage of her in this way.
I have been successful in this area in the past, so I feel
comfortable in saying that you're not necessarily looking for an
elder law specialist. Rather, you need an attorney who is
experienced with trust litigation in general, and with this sort
of claim in particular. There are a fair number of us in the Bay
Area -- you may want to look through the BPN archives, or look at
the Nolo Press Lawyer Directory (www.nolo.com), to find someone
who can help you protect your mother and retrieve your peace of
Contact California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. They
work on these types of issues all the time. Unfortunately,
your situation is very common, especially with a parent with
dementia. Their website also has a lot of information:
This is an awful situation, particularly on top of the
stresses of dealing with your mother's care. In our case it was
not as contentious, but we were faced
with getting control of my mother's trust after the sudden
onset of dementia and memory loss. We got advice and
timely, perceptive help from Berkeley attorney Zachary Epstein.
You are wise to contact an attorney about the potential
malfeasance of your co-trustee; if your brother is taking money
from your mother's trust in breach of his ficuciary duty to your
mother, that would be malfeasance.
Actually, attorneys who call themselves ''elder law'' attorneys
often specialize in obtaining MediCal benefits for seniors who
need to be admitted to a nursing home.
Often a fiduciary, even a brother, can be persuaded to see the
light and do the right thing without a full bore court trial;
please contact me if you would like to discuss.
Tova Zeff is articulate, compassionate, and effective. She
understands the value of peace in a family.
For some years, a close family friend who is an attorney has been serving
as my mother's executor, trustee, DPOA and has held her medical directive.
However, due to the highly dysfunctional, constantly combative
relationship among her children, he has resigned the position. Now, we're
looking to find a professional executor/fiduciary/lawyer to assume these
responsibilities. We would greatly appreciate any referrals
to and comments about appropriate resources, particularly if
they are experienced in dealing with fractious families. Many thanks.
I encourage you to contact our wonderful estate planning attorney, Paul
Hunt. He is very familiar with assisting his clients with their elder
care, executor, and fiduciary needs, as well as the creation and
execution of trusts and estate plans. He is professional,
detail-oriented and has been practicing law for over 20 years. He's done
a phenomenal job in meeting all of the complex estate/elder care/trust
needs of our family. Contact him at:
We would highly recommend attorney Doris M. Figman in
Oakland: 510-622-7787 or 510-848-1168 or
email@example.com. She is experienced with trusts,
estates, probate, and family law and mediation. Best of luck!
Stephanie, Senior Helpers Berkeley
You might check the
website of the Professional Fiduciaries Association of California.
I'm so sorry you are facing this challenge. I recommend you
contact attorney Alice Dueker, who has a lot of Elder Law
experience, and who works with a clinical social worker to
address the kind of family conflict that you seem to be
dealing with. They can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-387-7321.
If you are still looking for someone, I would recommend Life Trust
Associates. My husband has recently started working there, under
professional fiduciary Michael Gardner. Michael is well respected,
really patient and very knowledgeable. He has a lot of experience
managing trusts and conservatorships, including in situations when
family members have disagreed about the care of their loved ones. You
can find out more at their website, lifetrustassociates.com, and they
can be reached at 510-528-3613 or email@example.com Good luck!
We are thinking of getting a conservatorship for my 95
year old father-in-law. People have been trying to sell
him things and take his money. Does anyone know how much
this should cost, if you are doing the conservatorship of
the person and not the estate. We got an estimate that
I recently was on an expert panel regarding geriatric
issues with lawyer Linda Durston, PhD, JD. She was very
knowledgable in this area and highly recommended by Alta
Bates staff who invited her to speak. Her # is 526-1376.
Her card says she does estate planning and elder law- e-
I am a trust and estate attorney currently training to add
conservatorship to my practice. The cost estimate is based
primarily on the attorney's hourly rate. Some counties set a
maximum hourly rate while other counties, such as Alameda, do
not. Thus you can obtain the lowest cost by shopping around
to find the perfect balance of low hourly rate with a high
level of competency. The process is expensive and can be
quite detrimental psychologically to the person who's freedom
is severely limited by the conservatorship. Be certain to
explore your other options before initiating the
My 71-year-old mom has been the
victim of a Nigerian scam
that has promised a huge payout of $$ in return ''for just
one more payment'' to cover legal costs of getting that
payout. Over the last 2 years later, my mom has managed to
lose her car, maxed out numerous credit cards, taken many
payday loans, and is now losing her home. She still believes
that the money is coming any day and she needs to keep
sending some if she wants to get it. Since the FBI can't do
anything about this matter, the only alternative is to stop
her from sending what little money she has left to the
scammers in Nigeria. I've tried to get a psychiatrist to
fill out a medical evaluation so that I could apply for
conservatorship. However, her doctor refuses. Now that she
is losing her house, I've decided to pursue the
conservatorship again. I want to manage her social security
money so that she can actually pay her living expenses
again. Does anyone know of a lawyer who has had experience
with this same situation? She lives in Santa Clara County so
I guess I would need to seek legal advice from an attorney
who practices there. I'm also posting a similar post in the
I posted a response to this question in on the advice forum,
but am replying here as well, in part because the reply
stating that nothing can be done without the cooperation of
the treating physicians is inaccurate. (I am a physician
who specializes in geriatric medicine.)
The California probate code addresses the need for
protection if an elder is unable to resist fraud or undue
A conservatorship is an appropriate solution in your
mother's situation. Although it is unfortunate that her
doctors were unwilling to assist in the process, it is not
very surprising. Many physicians are unfamiliar with the
conservatorship process and their role in it, and are
reluctant to enter a legal arena in which they lack
expertise. There are, however, clinicians who can help, and
you should consult with someone with expertise in this area.
For instance, Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk of ElderConsult works
with the San Francisco Elder Abuse Forensic Center, and is
well-versed in issues of financial abuse and competency
determination. Her phone is (650) 357-8834, with additional
contact information at http://www.elderconsult.com/other.shtml
An East Bay attorney familiar with conservatorships is
Margaret Hand (510) 444-6044.
http://www.handlawoffice.com/conservator.htm She is a
recognized expert in this area, but if she thinks you need
someone in Santa Clara county can probably direct you to
someone there. She also may have advice on who to consult
for a medical exam.
Other resources to know about, for advice and/or referrals
are the San Francisco Elder Abuse Forensic Team at 415.355.7002.
In Santa Clara County, Adult Protective Services has a
Financial Abuse Specialist Team.
They may not be able to intervene in your mothers case, but
if you are able to contact them (no info on how to do that
on their web page!) they may have advice on local attorneys.
Can anyone give me a recommendation for an Attorney that
deals with Elder issues? My mother and father live on the
east coast, and they are both frail and deteriorating, and
I would like to move them out to the bay area. Where might
I get the best advice?
I highly recommend Sara Diamond, an attorney in Berkeley specializing in elder
care law. She was very helpful, smart and kind as we negotiated some
challenging issues. Here's her info:
My guess is that you will probably need the help of an attorney who lives within
the state where your parents are located, not a California attorney. Usually
issues like obtaining power of attorney over an elderly person are handled in the
state where the person is presently located and therefore require an attorney
licensed in that state.
Frederick Clarke is an elder law attorney who might be
helpful for you in working with your parents. His work is at
the intersection of trusts, estates and public benefit law,
and he is a experienced and compassionate elder law
specialist. He works out of his office in central Berkeley -
(510) 649-7948. I hope everything works out well for all.
I'd like to highly recommend my good friend Pat Tobin,
whose legal specialty is indeed elder issues. You can
reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She's extremely
thoughful and wise. Good luck!
Need to persuade very aged parents to consult with
a lawyer to develop wills. Both are unwilling to
face this issue so (1) need advice on moving them to
consult with a lawyer and (2) recommendations for
a lawyer experienced with older folks in East Bay.
Son at wit's end
I can't help with getting them there, but I recommend Eliot
Abrams, 2033 N Main, WC 94596, 925 947 1333. I haven't actually
used him, but I took a living trust class with him at Piedmont
Adult School and would definitely go to him if I needed legal
help in this area. BTW, do explore a living trust as well as a
simple will. It will save on probate fees, time, and hassle. I
wish you good luck.
Kathleen Hunt drafted my Will and other documents and she made
the process incredibly easy. She came to our house and in one
meeting handled all of those items efficiently and with thorough
care. Potentially sensitive topics were discussed professionally,
with various options explained and explored non-judgmentally.
Kathleen was always available and quick to respond to any of my
questions and concerns before and after our meeting.
Kathleen Hunt's contact information is:
I'm very happy to recommend Kathleen Hunt for your parents. She
has a private practice in the East Bay and comes to your house to
meet with you and discuss your needs. She's very kind, practical
and skilled at breaking down confusing legal jargon into regular
old English. She helped us with our wills and established trusts
for us and was much less expensive than other lawyers we had
consulted for the same services. She also came by for free to
notarize some extra papers as a follow up to her work. I think
she'd be great at helping your parents understand the ins and
outs of wills. Her phone is 510-289-2288 and email is
I can totally understand your situation and frustration. I
suggest that you talk to Doris Figman. She is an estate
planning and family law attorney who has a lot of experience
working with elderly clients. In addition she is a mediator.
This enables her to be a really good listener and effective
communicator to help clients resolve issues in a positive way.
I have referred folks to her and they were happy to work her.
You can reach her at 510 622-7787 or email@example.com
Stay positive, Lan
Kathleen Hunt, firstname.lastname@example.org, was extremely helpful
with my aging parents. She is responsive, easy to work with, and
came to my folks home to do their estate planning. I recommend
this page was last updated: Oct 11, 2013
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