Fendrick Morgan, LLC is a boutique estate and elder law planning firm. Partners Douglas A. Fendrick, Esq., and Jamie Shuster Morgan, Esq., have made it their mission to combine their decades of experience, in-depth knowledge of the law and genuine concern for their clients and their clients’ families to meet each client’s individual needs. Fendrick and Morgan, along with their associates Rachel Gersie, Esq., and Madeline Thorn, Esq., practice exclusively in the areas of life care planning, elder law, estate planning, special needs planning and Medicaid planning. The firm is committed to planning for the person, first and foremost.
Fendrick and Morgan explain that the elder law practice at their firm is evolving. Historically, their practice has centered on the financial and legal aspects of their senior clients. But with people living longer and long-term care costs forever on the rise, they want to do more to help the person— not just their pocketbook. In December 2017 the firm hired Nancy Carman as its elder care coordinator. Carman works closely with the Fendrick Morgan attorneys to provide a revolutionary approach to elder law—Life Care Planning.
“We want to take a more holistic approach to the practice of elder law,” says Fendrick. “It is important to us—and to our clients and their families—that our clients get the most appropriate care, whether at home or in a residential setting.” The firm is confident that the addition of Carman will help ensure that clients receive such care.
Morgan adds, “Many clients come to us in crisis and we do our best to plan for them and put them at ease. The addition of an elder care coordinator to our firm brings a skill set to our practice that we have not been able to offer in the past.”
The partners explain that they often see clients, or their adult children, after a spouse or a parent has suffered something potentially catastrophic, such as a fall or a stroke. The client needs help and is vulnerable, emotional and rarely knows where to turn. Clients and their families need help figuring out the next steps, like whether a loved one can return home or—if an institutional setting is appropriate—which facility would best serve their specific needs.
With the assistance of an elder care coordinator on staff, Fendrick says, “We are confident that we will be able to better serve our clients by offering the peace of mind that comes from knowing that a loved one is safe and secure, while the firm continues to help clients preserve assets and ensure that proper legal documents are all in place.”
“Medicaid planning and asset protection are key components to our practice,” says Morgan. “Preserving family resources will always be a priority, but we also want to be a resource for other issues that arise for our aging community.”
In a perfect world, clients would be proactive with their planning and visit Fendrick Morgan before a crisis strikes. Many people think that they should have a will, but many more ignore the other critically important documents such as health care and financial powers of attorney. Planning is key. The earlier a client comes in, the greater the likelihood that the lawyers at Fendrick Morgan will be able to help. After one spouse requires care, consideration must also be given to updating planning documents for the healthy spouse.
“We cannot be so focused on the spouse who requires care that we forget about the spouse who continues on in the community,” warns Fendrick. “That would be a tremendous mistake.”
Estate Planning & Administration
Fendrick and Morgan agree that everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of their age or circumstance. Fendrick explains that an estate plan is about making decisions for yourself—not only about directing how your assets should pass, but also about appointing the people you want to be your decision makers in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Many people are under the impression that with the most favorable estate tax laws that we have ever seen in New Jersey (presently, the New Jersey estate tax has been repealed, but New Jersey still has an inheritance tax), that they don’t need a plan. But Morgan says that isn’t so. “Even in the absence of tax planning, there are issues of asset protection, divorce protection, creditor protection and just, generally, ensuring that you provide for your family in the most appropriate way, which mandate that each and every one of us should have some plan in place.”
The lawyers at Fendrick Morgan are ready to help you plan. “Sometimes, we meet with young couples and their primary concerns deal with guardianship and asset management for their young children. Other times, we are working with parents of adult children and their primary concerns are asset protection and ensuring their assets remain in their bloodlines,” explains Fendrick.
Special needs planning is also a significant part of the practice. Whatever a client’s circumstance, their situation requires attention and care. Hence the firm’s motto, “Life Requires Planning.”
“We strive to give our clients the comfort that not only are their legal documents all in place, but also that they are done right,” says Morgan.
And sadly, when a loved one passes away, the lawyers at Fendrick Morgan, along with Nancy Kimsey, their in-house CPA of almost 20 years, walk their clients through the emotional and often arduous process of administering that loved one’s estate.
Choosing Fendrick Morgan
Fendrick is one of only a select number of attorneys nationwide who is recognized by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), a distinction not easily bestowed. To be considered a CELA, Fendrick completed a rigorous certification process, including an examination, a peer review process and a commitment to continuing legal education on elder law topics. Recertifying every five years, Fendrick is more than equipped to handle elder law cases. He is also a certified public accountant and has his master’s degree in taxation from Temple University which gives him the added ability of being able to effectively counsel clients not only about the legal ramifications of a particular situation or plan, but also about complicated tax laws and other issues.
As for their fee structure, Fendrick Morgan charges on a flat fee basis for all of their planning work (estate administration, after a death, is billed hourly). They feel it is important for their clients to know up front what a particular plan will cost without a client worrying about the clock ticking if they need to call and ask questions.
“Regarding our clients, we advise them of their options, make sure they have the care they need, get their legal documents in place and then look to protect assets,” says Fendrick. “This isn’t just about a client’s assets, it’s about their care.”
Fendrick Morgan, LLC
1307 White Horse Road, Building B, Suite 200, Voorhees
(856) 489-8388 | FendrickMorganLaw.com