Family: Married to his high school
sweetheart, Donna since 1974.
Rachel and Brandy and son Aaron.
Something he counsels
Leaving a "legacy of hate" by venting in a
will. "They leave a hurt, and it's a hurt that can't be resolved because the
person is gone."
The transforming moment for Ira Wiesner came in 1984 when an elderly
woman whose husband had Alzheimer's came to his Sarasota law office for help.
The couple didn't have enough income to pay for care but had too much to qualify
for government aid. She believed she had no options. With five years of estate
and tax practice behind him and a law degree from the State University of New
York at Buffalo and a master's in tax from the University of Florida, Wiesner
believed that "there's always an analysis you can employ that will achieve a
solution. "Except this time. After a lot of research, he concluded that "she was
right. She had no options."
Give some people a
problem, and they make it their life's
work. Wiesner added senior issues to his practice and hired a care coordinator
for his clients. IN 1996, he bacame president of the National Academy of Elder
For Wiesner, his practice meshes intellectual challenges -
embracing real estate, tax, housing and other legal fields - with emotional ones
such as someone struggling with guilt over placing a spouse in a home. "You're
consistently feeling you're achieving something that's making a difference in
someone's life," Wiesner says. Still, he says, "at the end of the week you are
Wiesner, who at 30 was president
of his synagogue, is a member of the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Housing Council, a
non-profit home operator. He inspected nursing homes as a long term care
ombudsman for the state. He anticipates adding more lawyers to his solo practice
and doing more representation of families with special needs children.
Eligibility rule changes came a
decade too late to help the woman who got Wiesner started. He hopes she made out
all right, but many in her situation didn't. "I never found out," he says.