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If you follow Pucci | Pirtle on Facebook, you know that Attorney Pucci spoke yesterday at the ISBA seminar on It’s Not Just Family Law Anymore. Attorney Pucci is a natural public speaker and so knowledgeable on many of the areas of law that often intersect with family law. Attorney Pucci’s topic yesterday was on geriatric dissolution issues. Below is a list of five things to take away from her presentation:

  1. Guardianship Proceedings:If an elderly person is incapable of handling their personal or financial estate, a guardian can be appointed to manage their affairs in a manner that is in that elderly person’s best interest. Most don’t know that a guardian can file for divorce on behalf of the ward (the elderly person) when they can prove to the probate court that dissolution would be in the ward’s best interest.
  2. Social Security Benefits:This tip is helpful for everyone to know:many of us know that when you’ve been married to someone for more than 10 years and subsequently divorce, you are entitled to your former spouse’s social security benefits. Most don’t know that if you’ve been married to two different people for more than 10 years (and you’re not currently married to anyone), you are entitled to receive the larger of the two ex-spouses’ benefits. Also, if your ex-spouse is deceased, you may also be entitled to survivor benefits.
  3. Reverse Mortgages = probably a bad idea! In the world of family law, we tell our potential clients considering a legal separation that there are very few (if any) good reasons to get a legal separation over a divorce. An elder law attorney will tell you the same thing about reverse mortgages; they are costly and very rarely a good idea.
  4. Spousal Support and Retirement Benefits: When dealing with clients of advanced age who are living on retirement benefits, be mindful of the fact that dividing retirement benefits and ordering maintenance from the income received from those retirement benefits could result in double dipping.
  5. Estate Planning: When a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage is entered, the divorcee’s will or self-settled trust are automatically revoked as to any benefit to an ex-spouse. The will/trust will read as if the former spouse predeceased them. If you are recently divorced, now is the time to review and revise your estate plan!

As family law attorneys, we must constantly be mindful of the other areas of legal practice that intersect with family law. If you or someone you know is considering divorcing at an advance age, Pucci Pirtle can offer assistance in navigating the elder law world of divorce. Also, if you have a family member who you believe is incapable of handling their personal and financial affairs, call Pucci Pirtle today for a referral to an elder law attorney in your area.

The staff at Schwarz & Pucci, LLC would like to announce that Julia A. Pucci has been appointed to serve on the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Council for the 2012-2013 period.  Per the website for the Illinois State Bar Association, the mission of the ISBA Family Law Section is as follows:

  • to encourage and support a high level of professional and ethical commitment and expertise among those who practice family law in all its substantive branches;
  • to remain sensitive to the changing needs and mores of families and individual family members in our society; and
  • to respond, through reasoned efforts directed toward the appropriate branch of government, and bar and/or the public;
  • to accomplish understanding of the law as it exists and is applied, or change of that law, where it is needed.

Serving on the Council is quite an honor, as committee members help to create seminars for continuing legal education, draft and review proposed and pending legislation, contribute to the Section newsletters and, overall, attempt to affect a positive difference in the overall legal community.

Congratulations again to Attorney Pucci!

– Julie Pirtle