Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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that dad was no longer mentally competent wasn’t as big of a deal as it is today.  Now we have a different doctor for each body part, and getting one or two of them to sign a document allowing a family member to have complete access and control over our finances is not an easy task.  More often than not, the doctors will flatly refuse to sign such a document.  This leads to Guardianship Court.  The entire reason to have a good POA is to avoid guardianship court.

Another common problem with POAs is that the document was drafted without certain provisions that are necessary in order to do Crisis Asset Protection Planning for seniors that didn’t plan ahead with Asset Protection Planning.  If the POA isn’t drafted properly, the client can end up in Guardianship Court just as fast as if he didn’t have a POA to begin with.

Q.  What are some of these “powers” and what is a Crisis Asset Protection Plan?

A. Let me answer that in reverse order.  A Crisis Asset Protection Plan is a strategy implemented by an Elder Law Attorney with the sole purpose of protecting as many of the remaining assets as possible from the Nursing Home and the Medicaid Spend-Down.   This plan is implemented when the Client comes to the Attorney and they are already in a Nursing Home, or about to go to one.  Often the trigger for this plan is when a family member receives a bill for $10,000 - $15,000 from the Nursing Home and are told that Medicare doesn’t pay for Long-Term-Care.  This is why we call it a “Crisis”.  As a rule, we can protect almost all of the assets for a married person, and at least 50% for a single person.

The POA powers required to do a Crisis plan include Gifting (not limited by the annual exclusion, which is common for traditional estate planners), the ability to create trusts, the ability to transfer and gift real estate, and the ability to self-deal (for POAs who are also the children of the client).  Without these provisions, there is a good chance that the client will have to endure a Guardianship trial to get permission to do the planning that he could have otherwise done had he remained competent.

Q.  Does the traditional estate planning attorney have any role to play?

A. In my opinion, over the next 20 years, all estate planning attorneys will also be Elder Law Attorneys.  I think the market demographics will force them to it.  In the meantime, a responsible Estate Planner will either refer their older clients to an Elder Law Attorney, or (my preference) they will co-counsel with the Elder Law Attorney to make sure all of the clients’ needs are taken care of, and potentially avoid a malpractice lawsuit.

For Further Q&A visit McKinley Hargrove Elder Care Law.          

Q.  What is an Elder Law Attorney?

A. An Elder Law Attorney is an Attorney that focuses on the specific issues in the Law that Elders face.  The Elder Law Attorney might specialize in various areas of the law such as Family Law, Elder Financial Abuse, Estate Planning, Etc., but what remains consistent across all Elder Law Attorneys is the demographic of the client.  That is anyone over the age of 60.

Q.  What is your area of practice?

A. I consider myself an Estate Planer first and foremost.  My specialized knowledge and study of the issues unique to the elderly is what makes me an Elder Law Attorney.

Q.  Are you suggesting that estate planning is different for someone above the age of 60 vs. the rest of the population?

A. Absolutely.  Anyone fortunate enough to have outlived the possibility of dying young faces an entirely new set of challenges as they age.  They have left the “accumulation phase” of their life and are now in the “protection phase”.  Many, if not most, traditional “estate planners” completely fail to address the unique threats that the elderly face.   An estate plan for someone in their 60s or 70s should look completely different from an estate plan for someone in their 50s or younger.  


Q. It sounds like you aren’t happy with traditional estate planners.

A. Not exactly.  I’m not happy with any attorney who harms their clients with their work product.  I routinely run into estate planning documents that were prepared recently and completely fail to address the issues of the client.  So many attorneys are preparing the same documents that they were preparing 20 years ago.  Over time, laws change, individual circumstances change, and the needs and risks that the clients face change.  So should the estate planning documents.

Q. Can you give me a specific example of what you are seeing that is wrong?

A. Certainly.  The most obvious problems I find are in the Power-of- Attorney documents.  In the past it was common practice to prepare a POA that only “springs” into existence when the principle becomes incapacitated.  These POAs are referred to as “Springing POAs”.    The problem with a springing POA is that they are difficult to put into force.  Most require the signature of one or more Medical Doctors for the power to spring into existence.  In the old days, we had a family doctor that treated all our ills.  Getting he or she to sign a document stating