Family law attorney experiences first-hand significance of elder law

THIS IS AN ARTICLE THAT RAN IN THE GAZETTE YESTERDAY:

Bill Gazetter Main PhotoFor attorney William “Bill” Moller, elder law hits close to home. “When I meet with clients who are trying to make long-term care decisions for themselves or their elderly relatives, I know exactly what they are going through, because I have been there,” he said.

ELDER LAW EXPERIENCE

Bill’s mother has dementia and his mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s disease, both neuro-degenerative conditions that cause memory loss and inability to care for oneself. For several years, he has walked the aging journey with his own family, helping them plan for the future and find the best possible financial provision and care for the now. Navigating elder law encompasses a variety of issues including Medicaid planning, Veteran’s Assistance (VA), trusts, and elder abuse.

Bill’s parents had always been healthy and happy in their 62-year marriage, but when his father, 87, found himself suddenly unable to care for his wife, 84, who had grown combative in her dementia, they knew they needed to find another long-term care solution for their family.

“We started dealing with care facilities and seeing what we liked and didn’t like,” Bill, owner of The Moller Law Group, LLC, said. “We did so much research and reading on how to best approach everything. Now, we truly understand the strategy behind helping people deal with these situations.”

This spring, Bill visited his mother in her long-term care facility in Denver, and for the first time, in her dementia, she didn’t recognize him. “You think you’re ready, but when it happens, it hurts,” he said. Thankfully, Bill is not walking this journey with his family alone.

“My wife and I met in the 7th grade and we’re now in our 34th year of marriage,” he said. “Our marriage represents a team effort.” Carla Moller serves as CFO of The Moller Law Group, LLC, and keeps the firm operating smoothly by introducing technology to help the staff better serve their clients. She has also walked with her mother through the process of developing Alzheimer’s and relocating to a long-term care facility in Colorado Springs at age 75.

“We always planned a mother-in-law suite at our house, but she was too physical – yelling, biting, kicking – we knew we had to find her better care.” Through their knowledge of estate planning, the Moller’s have been able to preserve Carla’s mother’s financial estate and ensure she has the best care possible.

“Understanding the intricacies of caring for elderly parents is never simple, but I would encourage everyone to take steps today, even a few basic ones,” Bill said. “Don’t wait until it’s too late for you to make them for yourself. Start with powers of attorney and build from there. We can help with that.” Making these decisions ahead of time lifts emotional burden from family members, and it makes their jobs easier should the need for care ever arise.

End-of-life planning is not just for the elderly. The Moller Law Group emphasizes the importance of having a plan in place no matter your age or martial status. “There’s planning and then there’s crisis,” Bill said. “There are preventative measures you can take to make sure it doesn’t get to that point.”

“For example, if you’re a younger person and have minor children, who would care for the kids if anything were to happen to you and your spouse? It’s important to think about,” Bill said. Even without a spouse or dependents, Bill encourages his clients and family members to think ahead.

FAMILY LAW CONNECTION

With offices in downtown Colorado Springs and Woodland Park, The Moller Law Group practices elder law, estate planning, and asset protection, as well as provides the full range of family law services. “I believe in family, so I want to meet the needs of the family from birth to death,” Bill said. “Whether you need help with a prenuptial agreement or probate at the end of life, we are there to help.”

The Moller Law Group, LLC has been representing families up and down the Front Range for a number of years and is experienced in step-parent adoptions, divorce, custody matters and other family related issues. Bill likes to help people in times of crisis and gets satisfaction in knowing that he and his firm have helped at a time that it mattered most.

“Having a family attorney is like having a family physician,” Bill said. “You might not need them right in this moment, but there will come a time when you need something from them, whether it be big or small. It’s healthy to start building that relationship.”

Bill served more than 21 years in the U.S. Army and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the U.S. Air Force Academy. “I learned how to work well with many types of personalities and I can make a fairly quick assessment of where a person is and what they might need,” he said. “This allows me to help their situation without wasting a great deal of time.”

Having a family background and a military background, Bill has developed a desire to help people however he can. He often develops long-term relationships with people and learns their stories so he can walk with them through every season of life. “Colorado Springs has one of the highest densities of military population in the country, including veterans, so understanding military culture is absolutely key to practicing law in this community,” Bill said. “Especially family and elder law.”

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