If you care for a parent, spouse, or aging loved one – you’re aware of the challenges people face as they age. Health care, housing, financial well-being, and long-term care come to mind; Forbes’ recent article entitled “Hiring an Elder Law Attorney,” tells us that elder law attorneys are lawyers who assist the elderly, their family members, and caregivers with legal questions and planning related to aging. In many ways, elder law attorneys are “specialists” because of their focus on the needs of older adults, which are often different and more specialized than the needs of younger adults.
The types of issues with which these attorneys can help are numerous. They may include some or all of the following:
- Long-term care planning
- Medicaid planning, including the preservation and transfer of assets
- Medicare enrollment
- Estate and disability planning, including wills, living wills, powers of attorney for financial and health needs, and trusts
- Probate and estate administration
- Conservatorships and guardianships, if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
- Health and mental health law questions; and
- Elder abuse and fraud recovery issues.
- Discuss the importance of wills and estate planning, including planning for a minor or adult with special needs, probate proceedings, and other matters.
- Draft a living will or other advanced directives, including a durable power of attorney and long-term planning documents.
You can hire an estate planning or trust attorney to handle some of these legal matters. However, if those attorneys don’t offer elder law services, they will likely be more transactional rather than ongoing.
An estate planning attorney will prepare the necessary documents, and once they’re executed, the engagement ends. Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in every area of law affecting seniors, so it is important to hire an attorney who has experience in your particular area of concern. Check if they practice the areas covered in elder law if you are looking for an attorney who handles all of these areas.