One of the most heartbreaking parts of our practice is explaining to families that they received bad advice. We often come across situations where non-attorney medicaid planners have charged a family for services that should have been completed by a licensed Florida attorney. Sometimes things go through as planned, other times assets are sold when they didn't need to be or a Medicaid Application gets denied and the elder is left with no way to pay for much needed nursing home care.
Some of the testimony presented to the Court to show the harm already done to consumers, as well as the potential for harm in the future, included testimony about denials of Medicaid eligibility, exploitation, catastrophic or severe tax liability, and the purchase of inappropriate financial products threatening or destroying clients’ life savings. The Court mentioned that some of these non-attorney Medicaid Planners included a disbarred Florida lawyer, an individual who lost his securities license for fraudulent practice, and a life insurance agent who was convicted of two felonies and lost his insurance license.
Florida seniors and their families should be much safer now that the Florida Supreme Court has issued it's advisory opinion on what aspects of Medicaid planning constitute the unlicensed practice of law. It is now clear that unlicensed Medicaid planners cannot draft income trusts, personal services contracts, or give advice on transfers or other actions that seniors should take in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
To read the full opinion of the court, follow the link below: