About Our Firm
Osterhout & McKinney, P.A. has been serving Southwest Florida for 30 years. We started this journey in 1990 when Julie Osterhout began the firm. We provide legal services to the elderly in our community of Southwest Florida. Our goals are to help our clients protect their assets, preserve their independence, and maintain their security when confronting aging and illness. From the beginning, we approach our representation by considering the whole picture and not just the needed documents. We treat our clients with dignity and as a complete person who has multiple and sometimes conflicting goals. We spend the time gathering information, consider the goals, and consider both the current issues and possible futures.
Elder Law Beginnings
About the time we began as a firm, Elder law was established as a specialty practice area and approach for lawyers nationwide. Our firm was among the founding members of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA.org). The National organization also has active state chapters and we are members. Elder law also became a specialty board certification in Florida. Two of our attorneys are Certified Elder law specialists by the Florida Bar.
The term “Elder law” describes more than the typical client that we serve. We serve clients of all ages. Elder law encompasses a special approach and attitude to our practice. It starts with providing a physical setting and communication that allows our clients to easily grasp, retain and decide on complex issues. Advice about planning for mental incapacity, planning for the high cost of medical and mental illness, obtaining and utilizing government benefits and private insurances, planning for death and the transfers of assets are all areas of Elder law. It also includes special needs planning for those younger persons with disabilities. We also counsel clients on finding and working with other professional helpers like caregivers, financial advisors and fiduciaries. In short, we help you address many areas of life that overlap and interact, the legal documents are just one small part.
Elder Law In Action With Us
Here are some of the ways in which we have specifically considered serving our clients under the Elder law approach:
- We have an office that is wheelchair accessible.
- We avoid slip and fall hazards like area rugs and provide seating that is stable for clients that have mobility limitations.
- We use bigger and easier to read fonts in our documents and letters with our clients.
- We set aside time to meet in person with our clients, but utilize conference call and other forms of remote communication to allow distant family to participate as desired.
- We often provide letters or other materials summarizing points of our verbal discussion for later reference by the client.
- If clients are unable to come to our office, we can go to them.
- We train our staff on the specific physical impacts of aging, including hearing, eyesight, and dexterity. They have been exposed to some degree to these physical changes to build empathy after briefly walking in our client’s shoes.
- We participate in and try to connect our clients to various support networks as relates to their medical condition.
- We look at solutions that include the practical as much as the legal
- We always try to consider and present to you the client a cost benefit analysis as part of our discussions.
Full Service Elder Law
Many Elder law attorneys focus on the planning side of things. We agree in that sage advice of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We prepare our clients with action plans and legally empowering documents. We prepare powers of attorney, health care surrogates, and HIPPA releases, all of these are generally referred to as Advance Directives. We also prepare Wills and Trusts to help our clients avoid unnecessary lawyer costs and delay when administering an estate.
And, we do more. We know that family dynamics do not always allow for a smooth plan. We serve our clients as active litigation counsel. Our experience in the court room handling both contested and uncontested guardianship cases and Will contests enables you know what to expect. Court battles are where the rubber meets the road even with prior planning and we stand right there with you to help. We pursue elder exploitation and help clients have a voice, even if they are incapacitated. We also assist people with probate and trust administration so that your plan is carried out. Finally, we assist our clients to understand and obtain government assistance from Medicaid, Veterans Benefits and other special needs planning to better stretch out their own funds.
Ways that we Objectively Demonstrate Excellence
Most of our attorney’s have achieved Board Certification as Elder Law specialists. Our lawyers are accredited by the Veterans Administration to practice before them. Lance McKinney has received the Superlawyer designation for five years in a row. This designation is awarded to the top 5% of lawyers in their field. We are teachers and trainers to other professionals including professional guardians, attorneys and medical professionals.
Meet The Attorneys
Let our experience be your guide