About Arlene Lakin, Esq., Elder Law and Special Needs Attorney
Incapacity/Estate Planning & Asset Preservation

Phone: (954) 975-5159
Fax: (954) 972-4701

c/o MacLean & Ema
2600 N.E. 14th Street Causeway
Pompano Beach, Florida 33062

Florida's Voice on Developmental Disabilities







 the Lakin family
Arlene and Cliff Lakin

My Story

In 1984, my third child, Douglas, was born with multiple, significant congenital disabilities. I had two other healthy children and we were very distressed to learn the extent of his medical problems. He was in the intensive care unit for three months, and endured numerous major surgeries. He came home with around-the-clock nursing care for an additional three months. And then everybody left and it was up to me to care for this child and my other two young children. I had been a part-time junior college Spanish instructor, but had to stop even part-time teaching.

Douglas Lakin
A friend gave me a book called "Before and After Zachariah" about a family's difficult decision to place their young son in a long term residential center. The book changed my life. We made the difficult decision and placed our son in an excellent facility when he was three years old. Unfortunately, the process to find the right facility and to obtain public funding, was an eye-opener. I went to Washington, D.C. and to Tallahassee, our state capitol, to advocate on behalf of my son. I made a mental note that one day I would go to law school and help families like mine so that I could keep them educated and informed.

I went to law school in 1988, and graduated in 1991. I continued my advocacy work on behalf of families and friends of persons with developmental disabilities by joining VOR, a national organization in Chicago. VOR focused on federal legislative initiatives. I concluded that Florida needed a statewide organization like VOR, and in 1995, a handful of families came to my home and we established what is now called "Florida's Voice on Developmental Disabilities," a 501(c)(3) statewide non-profit where we all volunteer to help one another remain informed about the entire world of developmental disabilities issues.

After a brief career as a prosecutor and as a civil litigator, I opened my own solo law practice in Margate, Florida. Little did I know at that time, that my office was in the midst of a largely senior residential community, and that is how my elder law practice began.

Cara and Greg Lakin
In 2010, tragedy struck again when my beloved husband Cliff, a trauma surgeon, had to abruptly stop working due to Lewy body dementia. He suffered with this incurable, debilitating condition until his death in October, 2016. My elder law practice was no longer academic; it became all too real for me. I soon learned how critically important a good long-term care policy is, and how to select good aides to care for my husband. Ultimately, I learned, from the inside, how to select the right residential option for my husband, and I learned about the various forms of hospice care.

And so, my life's experiences have helped me become a better attorney for my clients. I am an attorney whose legal focus spans all generations and all conditions, whether I am preparing a special needs plan for a family coping with mental illness or developmental disabilities or dementia, obtaining public benefits for such individuals, instituting a guardianship, or providing appropriate legal advice about anything the average person needs to simplify their affairs.

To view my qualifications, including explanations of what they mean click here.