John Buchholz and Allison Burke paired their skills when they established their new firm, which focuses on elder law, including estate planning, probate work, and Medicaid and Medical Assistance planning.
“If you’re talking about asset protection and long-term planning, we’re your go-to people,” Buchholz says.
Unfortunately, our society as a whole doesn’t deal with aging issues all that well. Furthermore, GLBT seniors often face additional legal complications, and may have an inadequate support system.
Buchholz explains, “In the Twin Cities metro alone, there are an estimated 20,000 LGBT seniors, and they are much more likely to live alone—to not have a spouse or partner. And, like all LGBT folks, they are three times more likely to not have children. So, as they get older, they face issues of isolation. Not only that, but if they reach out for services, it’s hard for them to know where to do that safely. So, what we’re trying to do is offer legal services in a safe way.”
In order to maximize their accessibility, Buchholz and Burke will make house calls throughout the metro area. They offer flat fees, so no one gets stuck with a nasty surprise.
Of course, Buchholz is the first person to admit it’s a shame people have to pay for some of his services at all, and he notes, “Almost everything that we do, people shouldn’t have to pay for. These things could all be built into the law. That’s not reality, but in a perfect world, we’d be out of business.”
However, the legal system being what it is, members of the GLBT community must take extra care to protect themselves. According to Buchholz, it is better to do that sooner rather than later: “Most people know they need to do some sort of estate planning and power of attorney. It costs money, and it’s not an enjoyable thing to do, so then, they don’t do it. But there are things people don’t know they should do. People often enter into a long-term care situation before they consult an attorney.”
Buchholz cautions that in those circumstances, the best time to contact an attorney is soon after a chronic illness is diagnosed. That way, clients are best able to take care of themselves, their assets, and their loved ones.
Buchholz & Burke