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Legal Corner (31)

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What is the cost of Senior Housing?

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What is the Cost of Senior Housing?

In my experience, most people do not know what to expect when it comes to cost of senior housing.  You have to keep in mind that the cost is going to depend greatly in which part of the country you live.  As a Florida attorney based in the Tampa Bay area, I can only comment on the cost in this area.


1.    Independent living - usually provides apartment-like living varying from studio apartments to two bedroom apartments.  Residents have access to dining packages, if they like, and usually, there are social outings and other types of entertainment.  This type of living can be in 55+ communities, retirement villages, senior apartments or continuing care retirement communities.  Seniors must be able to privately pay to live in most independent living communities and the costs range from $1,500 per month to $3,500 per month.


2.    Assisted Living – for those seniors who require some care but not to the level of nursing home care, these communities provide assistance with taking medications, activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring), providing meals and housekeeping.  Staff is also available 24/7 for additional safety.  Assisted living facilities also provide social activities and transportation, as needed.  The cost for assisted living depends on the level of assistance an individual needs and can range from $2,500 to $5,000.  Facilities that are cater to Alzheimer’s patients can range from $3,500 to $6,500 per month.  


3.    Nursing homes – these types of facilities provide 24/7 skilled nursing care for those who are frail and require a high level of medical care and assistance.  Facilities can provide rehabilitative care for those recovering from a hospital stay to long term care for those with complex medical needs that require skilled nursing care.  The average cost of skilled nursing care is $7,000 to $8,000 per month.


4.    Residential care homes – similar to assisted living, but a smaller, home-like environment, the cost of care ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 per month depending on the level of care needed.


5.    Respite care – provides caregivers temporary break from their caregiving duties, the senior can stay in an assisted living type facility on a short term basis usually anywhere from one week to one month.  The cost ranges from $75 to $100 per day.


6.    Home care – having someone come into the home to help take care of the senior, the cost will depend on the needs of the individual.  Companion care is different from nursing-type care and senior can expect to pay hourly for the services they need.  The fees can range from $15/hour up to $40 per hour.


If you have questions about long term care and help to pay for senior housing, please call the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. at 813.438.8503.



Many times, when a loved one passes away, the family is so upset and they do not know what to do next. I have listed the basic steps to take when a loved one passes away.

1. Look for paperwork that might indicate whether the decedent had pre-paid any funeral arrangements or had any specific burial wishes, and if you cannot find any, the family should discuss what they think the decedent might have wanted. Sometimes, the Last Will and Testament will have a statement about what the decedent wanted for their funeral arrangements. Sometimes, they will write it out or even pre-pay for their services.

2. If the decedent is receiving Social Security or pensions, notify the correct agency so that the monthly payments will stop. It is also important to know that, Social Security benefits are paid one month in arrears meaning that benefits for January are not paid until the beginning of the next month, and the recipient must be alive for the entire month in order to keep the benefits. Thus, if a recipient dies on January 31st, their February payment must be returned to Social Security pursuant to Social Security rules that require a recipient to be alive for the entire month in order to collect the payment in the following month.

3. If the decedent was employed, notify their employer. The employer should also be able to tell you if the decedent had any retirement accounts with the employer (if you are the beneficiary), and whether there are any other benefits the employer has for the family.

4. Ask the funeral home to provide you with 5 to 10 copies of the death certificate (some with the cause of death and some without the cause of death). The death certificate is the proof that you must give to life insurance companies, financial institutions, and the court, among other entities, in order to prove the person died. Some companies, like life insurance companies, may want a death certificate with the cause of death on it. Others, such as the clerk of court, will need a death certificate without cause of death (for privacy concerns) in order to open an estate.

5. You will need to determine whether the decedent had any assets that were solely in their name (and if so, talk to a Probate attorney about opening up a probate) – for more on probate, click here - http://ohalllaw.com/2014/03/florida-probate-creditors/ . You will also want to determine who the creditors are – who did the decedent owe money to (credit card bills, medical bills, utilities, mortgages, etc.)?

If you have any legal questions relating to estate planning, please call the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation. Contact me today if you need estate planningelder lawprobate or guardianship assistance.

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Senior Housing Options

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Wondering about senior housing options? Ive been hearing this set of circumstances a lot lately: Mom is not doing too well and really cannot continue to live on her own. We think she needs to be in assisted living. Where is a good place for her that is within her budget and that she will like? While I can discuss the facilities in my immediate area, my expertise is in preparing the legal documents a senior may need and advising them of the programs that are available to help them pay for care. I leave the placement servicesto people like geriatric care managers or companies like Always Best Careand A Place for Momwho can help seniors find the right place to live. However, I can give you some tips to help educate yourself on the different options for seniors.

1.      Independent living for seniors who can live independently but would like to have access to assistance, if needed, this is an ideal option. Independent living communities provide residents with access to many things such as entertainment, dining, medical care, housekeeping and laundry services.

2.     Assisted living sometimes, seniors need help with certain activities of daily living. They may need help with getting dressed in the morning, bathing, transportation or meals. At assisted living facilities, seniors can enjoy an independent lifestyle, but have the regular support of help with daily activities. Such services are included in the monthly rental (such as housekeeping, laundry, utilities, meals, and transportation). Assisted living facilities also have lots of activities, out-door trips and other social amenities. With assisted living, you have someone who can also provide limited medical care and ensure that you are taking your medication correctly and at the right times. Assisted living can be offered in communities that have apartment style housing or in a more residential setting (where there are 4 to 6 bedrooms in a home-style environment).

3.      Skilled Nursing care for those who need around-the-clock skilled nursing care, nursing homes can provide short term rehabilitative care or long term care for someone who has complex medical conditions. Seniors typically share a room with another person, but you can also have private rooms. In addition to the 24/7 medical care, meals are included along with some activities.

4.      Alzheimer or Dementia care these are very similar to assisted living in that there are usually lots of structured activities for the residents, and like skilled nursing in that there is 24/7 care available to help ensure the senior is safe and has quality of life. This type of care can also be given in a nursing home environment. Most of the facilities have secure or locked areas to ensure that residents do not wander off, although residents usually have access to outdoor walking paths and gardens.

5.      In-Home care this allows individuals to stay in their home while receiving assistance with their activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation. It can also include help with transportation to appointments, helping to pay bills, or companionship. In-home care can be structured however the senior needs it to be from once per week to 24/7 care.

  1. Respite care this allows the caregiver to have a break from caregiving by placing the senior in assisted living or nursing home care for a short period of time. Many assisted living communities have respite care programs and the resident can stay anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the situation. The senior receives all the same services that other residents in the community receive.

If you have anyquestions about housing options or estate planning, please call the Law Offices ofLaurie E. Ohall, P.A. 813.438.8503 to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation.Contactme today if you needestate planning,elder law,probateorguardianshipassistance.

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7 Worst Medicaid Planning Mistakes

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7 Worst Medicaid Planning Mistakes

It never fails – someone comes into my office concerned about their spouse or their parent who needs to qualify for Medicaid (to help pay for nursing home care), and they want confirmation that the action they took that was recommended to them by their neighbor, friend, financial planner….was the right thing to do, only to have me tell them – nope, that won’t work.  And then I hear, “But, my neighbor said they did this for their parent…” or “But, my friend at church said I could do this…” or “But, my financial planner said….” and so on.  This has prompted me to write about the six worst planning mistakes one can make with regards to Medicaid in Florida.  

  1. Adding a child or children on title to the homestead (i.e., quitclaiming an interest to your child)- why would you do that?  Because, you want to make sure the property doesn’t go through probate at your death?  Because, you want to make sure the nursing home doesn’t take the house?  Well, adding a child to the deed is a gift and this will disqualify you from nursing home Medicaid benefits if it was done within the last five years prior to filing the Medicaid application.  The exception to that is if your child has lived in the home with you and has taken care of you for at least two years and, but for your care, you were able to stay out of a nursing home.  If that is the case, under federal and state law, you can transfer the home to a caregiver child without incurring a penalty.  In Florida, however, this is rarely necessary to do because  Medicaid will never have a lien against your homestead (nor will any other creditor), if it is your homestead and it is passing to your heirs under Florida law (spouse, children, etc.).  If you are interested in avoiding probate of the homestead, there are other ways to do that - and I've discussed that previously – see my article on enhanced life estate deeds – http://ohalllaw.com/2014/04/avoid-probate-homestead-real-estate/

  1. Giving away money to one or more children (or grandchildren, or anyone else for that matter).  If you are giving your money to your children, and they are married, you might as well have given it to their spouse, or their creditors, or their children…..take your pick.  The key thing to understand is, if you give it away, you gave it away.  Gifts (that includes monetary gifts, gifting real estate or other property, taking your name off of a bank or investment account and leaving their name on it, etc.), for Medicaid purposes, incur a penalty and there is a five year look-back period for giving money or other assets away.  If you can get the family member who you gave the money to, to give it back to you, then you can cure the gift problem.  

  1. Leaving the nursing home before a Medicaid application is filed.  Many times, clients want to have help in the home or help to pay for an assisted living facility.  They think that Medicaid will help pay for that.  Yes, there are Medicaid programs that can help pay for that, however, there is a long waiting list  in Florida (30,000 or more people) to obtain benefits for those “home and community based” programs (there is not a waiting list for skilled nursing care).  If you are in a skilled nursing facility for at least 60 days, and can obtain Medicaid benefits while you are there, then you can transition back into the community (either assisted living or home) and you can by-pass the waiting list.

  1. Asking your friends, neighbors or family members for legal advice on Medicaid planning.  This is a pet peeve for me.  You go to an attorney to review your legal issues and rely on their expertise to help you with the problem, just like you go to a doctor to diagnose what your medical issue is and help you to feel better.  Your attorney has studied the rules of law and has experience in the particular issues you are seeing him or her for.  If they do not appear to have experience, then you should find someone else.  However, your friends, neighbors and family members do not have legal expertise and most likely do not understand the intricacies of the law (especially when it comes to something as complicated as Medicaid or Estate planning).  Chances are, they are giving you “bad” advice.

  1. Not having done your basic estate planning.  What is basic estate planning?  Documents which include a Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will and Health Care Surrogate are the basic documents that all adults should have.  Many people think that they do not need these documents until they are much older.  However, as I have said before, Terri Schiavo is the perfect example why anyone who is 18 or older should have their estate planning documents in order.  You never know when you will become incapacitated and need someone to make financial or health care decisions for you.  You should be prepared for that time and name the people you trust to make the right decisions.

  1. Forgetting to make your children beneficiaries on your accounts.  In Florida, Medicaid can only have a lien against assets that go through probate.  If you have beneficiaries (“P.O.D. – payable on death for bank accounts, or beneficiaries listed on life insurance or other investment accounts) listed on your accounts, these assets do not go through probate and creditors, including Medicaid, cannot get at these assets.

  1. You are talked into purchasing a tax-deferred annuity….and you are 80 or older.  If you are 80, it is very likely that your life expectancy will not exceed the penalty period for making withdrawals on a deferred annuity.   If you need to cash it in (because you have bills to pay, such as nursing home bills), you will have a penalty to pay.  Also, deferred annuities count against you as an asset for Medicaid purposes so be very leery of a financial advisor who tells you that you can qualify for Medicaid with a deferred annuity.  There are annuities that will be allowed by Medicaid but there are strict rules that must be followed in order for the annuity to be allowed, including naming the state of Florida as a beneficiary of the annuity to the extent Medicaid has provided benefits on behalf of the annuitant.

If you have questions about Medicaid, please call Board Certified Elder Law Attorney Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. at 813.438.8503 for a free phone consultation.



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Planning For Savings and Long Term Care.

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 In an AARP blog (http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/18/a-tale-of-two-americas/?sf30153338=1)

last month, I read about the fact that almost 20% of adults age 55 to 64 have no retirement savings. None. Nada. Zilch. That is a pretty scary statistic.

What is the plan for these people – are they going to be working until they die (or worse, until they become disabled and can no longer work)? The AARP blog post also discussed the fact that, even among those who have saved, many will outlive their retirement savings. In my practice, I run into this all the time – clients who bemoan the fact that they never thought they would outlive their savings.

The number of baby boomers who have no retirement savings is scary because every month, more than a quarter-million Americans turn 65. Those that were in a position to save saw their savings depleted with the most recent financial crisis which took billions in retirement savings and forced many Americans to work longer than they had planned.

We need to be concerned about this because, as these individuals stop working, their contributions to the economy will also diminish, and they will become more dependent on their children and grandchildren. I am an advocate for educating people about the importance of making sure they have their basic documents in place regardless of how old they are. Yes, it is important to have a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate Designation, but even more important is making sure that we have enough funds to take care of ourselves into our later years.

Not only do we need to encourage people to save for retirement, but we need to encourage them to plan for their long term care needs. One of the ways to do this is through the use of long term care insurance which can help pay for care in the home, respite care, adult day care, and care in an assisted living facility or nursing home. To learn more about long term care considerations, check out www.longtermcare.gov which will give you the basics about what long term care is, as well as the costs involved, and it also provides information about what benefits are provided by Medicare, Medicaid, and the V.A.

Laurie Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney based in Brandon, Florida. Contact Ms. Ohall today if you need estate planning, elder law, probate, or guardianship assistance. Her office number is 813.438.8503. www.OhallLaw.com

I think one of the biggest reasons people do not do their estate planning is because they do not want to think about how life will go on after they are gone. Okay. I understand the hesitation. After all, who really wants to think about their mortality? But, if you do not plan for how things will be administered after you are gone, are you alright with the state of Florida doing it for you?

According to Florida law, if you do not have a Will naming an executor (in Florida, this is also referred to as the “personal representative”) of your estate, then certain people have the right to act as the executor. First, the court looks to whether or not you have a spouse – if you do, that person has the priority to serve as executor. If you do not have a spouse, than a majority of the heirs must agree on who is selected to serve as executor.

So, if you are moving forward and doing your estate plan, who should you name as your personal representative? One attorney I know jokingly tells his clients to name their least favorite child. Why would he say that? Because acting as the personal representative of an estate is a thankless job – it takes a lot of time, the beneficiaries are usually wanting their money yesterday, and the personal representative is the one that has to make that happen (with the help of their attorney, of course).

One thing I definitely recommend against – appointing all children as co-executors of your estate because you are scared to upset one by appointing another. That will definitely cost the estate time and money, and probably a lot of fighting. Appoint someone who has an accounting background (because they will have to report to the beneficiaries an inventory of the assets and probably have to file an accounting with the court). The person does not have to have a legal or accounting background (but it does help if the person is good with numbers). Obviously, you want to appoint someone who will act responsibly and understand the fiduciary duty they have to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Laurie Ohall is a board certified elder law attorney practicing in Brandon, Florida. Contact Ms. Ohall today if you are in need of elder law, probate, or guardianship assistance.

Can I Get Paid To Care For an Elderly Family Member?

As the number of family members providing care for aging parents increases, the solutions to find help with loss of income because of time off from employment for caregiving has become a major concern for many.

The demands on both the time and energy needed to provide the needed care can make it impossible to maintain both a full time job with full time caregiving.

Seeing a need to give support to family caregivers the federal government Administration on Aging created the National Family Caregiver Support Program.

State Area on Aging division manages this program on the state and community level to offer support services that include:

§  Information to caregivers about available services;

§  Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to supportive services;

§  Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to assist caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their roles;

§  Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their care giving responsibilities; and

§  Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by caregivers.

Medicaid Cash & Counseling Program:

A Medicaid approved assistance program called Cash & Counseling may be used to provide funds to hire personal care aides as well as purchase items or services, including home modifications that help them live independently.

The PayingForSeniorCare.com website gives the following information about the program:

"For Medicaid eligible seniors, the process begins with an assessment in the home to determine the senior's home care needs; this includes interviews with caregivers and possibly the senior's physicians. A determination of how many monthly care hours are required is made. The benefit amount is calculated using that determination and cost of care for that geographic area. This amount can be increased or decreased as the senior's needs change. A family care giver may need to qualify as a home health aid by the state to receive these funds."

This program is executed by each individual state Area on Aging Services division. It is a relatively new program and is not yet available in all States. Check with your state Area on Aging Services department for availability.

Using the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit:

A totally overlooked source of money to pay family caregivers to provide care at home is the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. This money is available to veterans who served during a period of war. Pension money is also available to the widows of these veterans. This benefit, under the right circumstances, can provide up to $1,949 a month in additional income to pay family members to provide care at home.

Getting the aid and attendance benefit to pay for family caregivers is not an easy task. This is because there must be a caregiver contract in place, a physician medical evaluation done, income and asset qualifications met and proof of medical expenses provided. Submitting the correct forms and documentation can easily be completed with the help of a VA Accredited Consultant who understands the process.

Long Term Care Insurance Benefit:

If the senior being cared for has a long term care insurance policy that covers home care, payment to the care giver from this source could be arranged. Some policies require the care provider to be through a licensed home car agency, but others will pay for individual aides certified as such. This would require some training by the family member to become certified. There are policies that pay a daily benefit amount to the insured to use as they want to pay for their care. Check with a long term care insurance professional about types of policies.

Caregiver Contract:

In some cases the senior parent has the funds to pay for care. If a family member is giving care it is very important that a caregiver contract be in place. A signed and dated agreement will outline the services provided as well as the amount of pay for these services. The contract will eliminate questions about what is expected from both parent and caregiver as well as providing a legitimate contract and payment record of services to qualify for Medicaid.

Attorney John L Roberts, in his article titled "Caregiver Contracts that Protect Elders and Their Family Members" states:

"A written Caregiver Contract is a good idea for every family that wants to protect family harmony, and make sure everyone in the family understands how care is being provided to an elder.

The family member who provides care can save an elder from needing nursing home services, and may also protect assets if nursing home care is needed in the future. Elders who want to cover all of these bases must have a written Caregiver Contract. Whenever adult children and other family members are providing valuable care, only a written agreement will protect assets from nursing home care costs and qualify the elder for Medicaid."

In having the parent pay a family member for caregiving, it will be an employer/employee situation and payroll records must be kept with payroll taxes paid.

This can also be set up by an elder law attorney at the time the contract is done.

Final Note:

Taking the time to create the caregiver contract, research the government and state services that are available to caregivers and using community resources will make the family caregiving experience less stressful.

 To learn more about Medicaid and VA Benefits in Tampa or Brandon, Florida,  please contact the Law Offices of Laurie Ohall today.

A 'Do It Yourself Will' may be an inexpensive route, but...

A potential client called my office to discuss the probate of her mother’s home now that the mother has passed away.  She told me how she prepared a Will for her mother to sign (she’s not an attorney or paralegal – she just used a form she found on the Internet) and how the Will states that, at death, the homestead should be sold with the proceeds being distributed among all the children (there are 6 of them).  She also mentioned to me that her mother was receiving Medicaid benefits before she died.

...And, therein lays the problem.

In Florida, a person’s homestead is exempt from forced sale by creditors and this exemption passes to your heirs at law (i.e., your blood relatives) so that creditors of your estate cannot force the sale of the home to be paid what they are owed.  The home will pass free and clear (unless there is a mortgage) to the family, the family can sell the house if they choose to and then split the proceeds.  So, why is there a problem with this potential client’s situation?

The daughter prepared a “do it yourself” Will for her mother, and thought she was doing everyone a favor by drafting language into the Will requiring that the house be sold with the proceeds being split amongst the children.  If the mother would not have had a Will at all (i.e., died “intestate”), the house would have gone through probate, been transferred into the kids’ names, and they could have sold it and split the proceeds.  Or, mom’s Will could have just stated that “all the rest, remainder and residue” goes to the children and the house would have gone through probate and into the names of the children.  However, because the Will requires that the house first be sold, Florida case law is pretty clear that this subjects the proceeds from the sale to creditors’ claims, meaning that, before the money can be divided amongst the kids, the creditors can file claims against the estate and collect on their share.  And, that means that Medicaid’s lien must now also be paid back (which would not have happened if the Will had been drafted properly).

So, what have we learned?

There are reasons why you go to an elder law attorney to prepare your Will (and Durable Power of Attorney, and Living Will, and Health Care Surrogate) because they know what should and should not be in the document.  They can weigh the pros and cons of things you might want in your Will and can tell you the legal reasons for why you should or should not have a particular provision in your Will.  Please, don’t do it yourself.  

Laurie Ohall is a board certified elder law attorney practicing in Brandon, Florida.  Contact Ms. Ohall today if you are in need of estate planningelder law, probate or guardianship assistance.

For over 20 years, Laurie Ohall has been serving the legal needs of Tampa Bay area families. Ms. Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, and is also licensed in the state of Ohio.  It is her mission in the practice of law to protect, honor and educate her clients.  She advocates on behalf of her clients in the areas of Medicaid Reform and resident’s rights (in ALFs and nursing homes). She also provides clients with comprehensive estate planning including wills, trusts, and advanced healthcare directives, and gives Tampa area seniors and their children piece of mind as they navigate Florida Elder Laws. Her blog is updated regularly to educate Florida residents about the laws affecting seniors, estate planning and probate.

(813) 438-8503   1127 Nikki View Drive,  Brandon FL 33511


I recently read an article in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance entitled “The Money Talk You Must Have” (November, 2013) written by Jessica Anderson.  In this article, she discusses the fact that, as you age, and your children age, it is important to discuss the issues of inheritance, estate planning and long-term care.  I most definitely agree.  I am amazed by the number of clients who are very secretive with their children about what assets they have and what kind of planning they have done (or not done).  The number one reason parents do not want to discuss their estate planning with their adult children is because they do not want their children counting on a huge inheritance.

Why is this such a scary conversation to have?  I guess I could understand if you do not have someone you could trust to handle financial decisions, but most clients that come to see me DO trust their kids.  So what is stopping them from having the conversation?

Your Finances and Your Children

Ms. Anderson cites a 2012 Fidelity study that shows the number one reason parents do not want to discuss their estate planning with their adult children is because they do not want their children counting on a huge inheritance.  I always tell my clients they should spend it all and enjoy it while they can, and hopefully, they bounce the check to the funeral home on the way out (just kidding)!  Personally, I believe that people do not want to have these discussions with their children for the same reason they put off having their estate planning done in the first place – because they do not want to think about their mortality.  Who does?

The fact of the matter is that, the more informed your children are, the easier you will make it on them when you are no longer around.  While I can certainly understand the need for privacy, it is important for your adult children (or whomever you are appointing to make financial decisions for you) to know where the important documents are kept (even if you do not want them to know what is in those important documents).  They should know that you have actually taken the time to do a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will/Health Care surrogate designation (the Big 3 as I call it).  And hopefully, you think to do these while you are still young and healthy and there is no disputing that you have the ability to make these decisions.

And just think what a good example you will be setting for your kids!

For over 20 years, Laurie Ohall has been serving the legal needs of Tampa Bay area families. Ms. Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, and is also licensed in the state of Ohio.  It is her mission in the practice of law to protect, honor and educate her clients.  She advocates on behalf of her clients in the areas of Medicaid Reform and resident’s rights (in ALFs and nursing homes). She also provides clients with comprehensive estate planning including wills, trusts, and advanced healthcare directives, and gives Tampa area seniors and their children piece of mind as they navigate Florida Elder Laws. Her blog is updated regularly to educate Florida residents about the laws affecting seniors, estate planning and probate.

(813) 438-8503   1127 Nikki View Drive,  Brandon FL 33511

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Meet Carmen:

I’ve been in radio over 15 years. It all started at Q105 in Tampa with the Cooper & Ritter Morning Show.  My degree is actually in Public Relations, but when God called me to “the public” – I never knew it would be so . . . well, public. I love all genres of music, but have found my home in CCM (contemporary Christian music).  I live my life on the air much to the chagrin of my family. Just kidding! They’re totally supportive.

I love a good cup of coffee (Starbucks Cafe’ Americano) along with good, meanigful conversation with a friend. It may also be surprising to some, that I require a lot of solitude! On those days, you can find me with a good book, my laptop, or my bible study. Of course, a cup of coffee is nearby on those days too!  And YES! I LOVE football, and my favorite afternoons are spent sitting with my family watching as many games as we can surf and find.


It’s my last morning on the beach. Everybody has gone home. My girlfriends back to Nashville. My family back to basketball practice and jobs.

I went for a run yesterday afternoon on the beach. As I was jogging (running would be an exaggeration!) along the shoreline, I glanced out at the ocean as far as my eye could see….and then I’d glance back down as a few waves here and there would run up over my feet. Half laughing/half shaking my head, I said, “God, you really did tell the ocean to stop right here.”

Think about that for a minute. The God of the universe not only told the water where to stop, but He’s also the author of every single heavenly light in the sky, too. The sun. The sunset. The stars.

And yet He knows every single thing about us.

Reflecting over the many conversations I’d had with my girlfriends the last few days….all being at different stages and places in life…one common theme prevailed: He truly does work it all for our good. He can be trusted. He is merciful. He gives good and perfect gifts.  And He knows exactly how it’s all gonna work out.

I am grateful my friends have chosen wiser and have done/and are doing things the right way. I am grateful for the influence they are over my daughters!  I will confess at times, I have regret. I wish there was a do-over button I could push. I wish I had known better. I wish, I wish, I wish….

BUT….on the beach yesterday, I was reminded that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. I think sometimes we get the good part. But we don’t necessarily get the perfect part. Beth Moore says it this way: “His perfect gifts are perfecting us.” I needed (and still need) a lot of perfecting!! With age comes wisdom, and I can look back over my life and see how even in the middle of the hardest and darkest times – some of my own doing. some not – He was still there. Beth Moore says this about her own life. I can identify.

I can look at my life in retrospect and see how several of those things morphed into gifts. I am convinced that desperation became a gift to me because if saved me from a life of medicroity. Gray wasn’t an option for someone as self-destructive as I was. Looming disappointment from some key people in my life also turned into a gift. I couldn’t get anybody to mend or tend to my tattered soul the way I craved. A lifetime of snuggling up to folks with scissor-hands scars you, but those scars become a road map that leads straight to Jesus. There He becomes the uncontested love of your life and the unexpected fountainhead of cleaner affection for others. Every gap in your life makes room for the Lover of your soul. God uses time to unwrap presents that appear as curses. 

Gratefully, God has been merciful on my memory. He truly has turned ashes to beauty. He sees me very differently than how the enemy of my soul wants me to see myself. God did not come to condemn us. He came to give us life. And that we live it fully.

One of the good and perfect gifts God has given me is to allow me to do life with you. Tears fill my eyes each time I think about what an absolute privilege it is I get to do this journey with so many of you.  I almost can’t stand it! I love our community so much. I love the honesty and realness we share. I love that our eye is on the prize …. Heaven awaits! We may crossover bruised, battered, blistered, and broken. BUT…we will cross the finish line!

I have to pack up now, but I want to leave you with this….no matter what you’ve done, or where you are in life, or how you view yourself, you are NOT too far gone from God’s saving power. He loves you, He wants you, and you – yes, YOU! – are His most prized possession. Listen to Him. Choose to believe Him. Accept Him. Let His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness wash over you. Accept His good and perfect gift….Jesus.


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Sallys Stuff

Senior Citizens Discounts

This information was passed along to us; we thought this would be interesting information to post on our website, since we all love a good deal!

In order to receive the Senior Citizen discounts listed below, you have to mention the discount prior to paying.

If you find that some of these locations do not offer the discount any longer, or if you come across a vendor that should be added to the list, please go the “Contact US” Tab on the homepage of the website.  Send us an email, for a vendor to be added or removed. Happy Shopping& Saving! ~ From the staff at Sallycares.com

Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili's: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddruckers: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gaetti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)

Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver's: various discounts at locations ( 55+)

McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney's: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)Modell's Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month ( 55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday ( 50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)

Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)

Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday ( 55 +)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday ( 50 +)
Publix: 15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods. (Tuesdays - Thursdays) (62+)and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations.
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Amtrak: 15% off (62+)

Greyhound: 15% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members ( 50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off ( 50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western: 40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria - NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)
Motel 6: Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off ( 55 +)
Quality Inn: 40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off ( 55 +)
Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
Massage Envy - NYC 20% off all "Happy Endings" (62 +)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket ( 55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service ( 50 +)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Great Clips: $8 off haircuts (60+)
Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)