I began my Elder Law journey long before I went to law school and became an attorney. In fact, I grew up in an extended household fishing alongside my grandfather, cooking alongside my grandmother, laughing with my uncle and aunt, and being disciplined by my father and mother. My earliest memories are of those special times spent listening to stories of how my grandparents lost their home during the Depression and how my grandmother walked along the railroad tracks collecting coal to heat the house where my mother was raised. My family knew what it was to work for something, only to lose it when financial times were tough. It was their struggle that inspired me to focus my law practice on Elder Law as a way to help families like mine.
Even after I was married and had children of my own, I kept up the tradition of living in an extended family, but this time, I was the one responsible. Caring for my family members as they aged meant seeing more and more problems that demanded attention: dealing with my mother's desire to leave a financial legacy; facing a potential catastrophic healthcare situation with my mother-in-law; and attempting to help my grandmother as her hearing and her memory slowly faded, making it impossible for her to effectively communicate.
For so many of us, aging means coming face-to-face with challenges that are frightening to us and to our families – our friends die, our health begins to fail, our memory slowly seems to fade. As we age, we realize that our families may be forced to place us in a care facility and we grasp at a way to maintain our dignity. For the first time, we are facing our own mortality and we feel the need to make sense of our lives and to leave some type of legacy. This is where an experienced, thoughtful Elder Law attorney can help. It is where I can help and it is my passion and commitment to do so everyday.
I started the Thom L. Cooper Company, LPA with the goal of representing my clients in a way that maximizes their independence and minimizes the stress and burden placed on loved ones. For the past twenty years, I've been doing just that and time has seen my practice grow to a multi-attorney firm representing clients all across the state of Ohio. Today, we are Cooper, Adel & Associates. My partner, Mitch Adel, who has been with the firm since 2005 and is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney, has the same passion and commitment that I do to solving the complex problems that aging presents to us all.
Our clients come to us from all walks of life. We have some wealthy clients and some not-so-wealthy clients, but most are somewhere in the middle. We have clients who are planning their retirement and clients who are facing a healthcare crisis. There is, however, one thing that all of our clients have in common: each and every one of them was smart enough to develop a plan to preserve and protect their wealth – to “get their ducks in a row”.
We believe that you should not have to lose everything you've worked a lifetime to earn because you aren't getting good tax advice, because you just happen to get sick and go into a nursing home or because you don't know the benefits available to you, like the $2100 monthly benefit for a veteran or $1100 monthly benefit for a widow or widower of a veteran. We believe our role is to help you remain independent and in control as long possible, to protect your home and your assets and to find public benefits to help fund your care – without draining your life savings – when you can no longer care for yourself.
We believe that things should be easier for those you leave behind. We think that your spouse or family should not have to face a big probate mess. We think that if there is a surviving spouse we want to make sure that there is adequate income because there is often a drop in income at first death. Our role is to ensure that your surviving spouse will have adequate income to live comfortably, to ensure that your estate will pass to your heirs without the hassles, expense and delays of probate. We keep our eyes open for opportunities to reduce or eliminate death taxes that diminishes your legacy. We design your plan in such a way, that to the extent humanly possible, your children are not squabbling to ensure harmony in your family.
Getting your ducks in a row is more important now than ever for the millions of individuals who today can expect to live well into and beyond their 80s. It is our mission and our fortune to serve the baby boomers and elderly clients with whom we work. We are committed to serving this community today, tomorrow, and into the future. Thank you for reading our story. We look forward to assisting you add the finishing touches to yours.