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What Is Elder Law?

What Is Elder Law?
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Estate Planning may not be something you necessarily WANT to think about, but it could protect your interests and wishes long after you are gone.

WAGM’s recent article entitled “A Closer Look at Elder Law“ takes a look at what goes into estate planning and elder law.

Wills and estate planning may not be the most exciting things to talk about. However, they can be one of the most vital tools to ensure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone in this day and age.

People often don’t know what they should do or what direction they should take.

The earlier you get going and consider your senior years, the better off you’re going to be. For many, it seems to be around 55 when it comes to thinking about long-term care issues.

However, you can start your homework long before that.

Elder law attorneys focus their practice on issues that concern more senior people. However, it’s not exclusively for older people since these lawyers counsel other family members of the elderly about their concerns. Many describe elder law as planning for aging.

A big concern for many families is getting started and how much planning I have to do ahead of time?

If you’re talking about an estate plan, what’s stored just in your head is usually enough preparation to get the ball rolling and speak with an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney.

They can create an estate plan that may consist of a basic will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and living will.

For long-term care planning, people will frequently wait too long to start their preparations, and they’re faced with a crisis. That can entail finding care for a loved one immediately, either at home or in a facility, such as an assisted living home or nursing home. Waiting until a crisis also makes it harder to find specific information about financial holdings.

Some people also have concerns about the estate or death taxes their families may be saddled with after they pass away. For the most part, that’s not an issue because the federal estate tax only applies if your estate is worth more than $12.06 million in 2022. However, you should know that several states have their own estate tax. The states include Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have only an inheritance tax, a tax on what you receive as the beneficiary of an estate. Maryland has both.

Therefore, the first thing to do is recognize that we have two stages. The first is where we may need care during life, and the second is to distribute our assets after death. Make sure that you have both in place.

Reference: WAGM (Dec. 8, 2021) “A Closer Look at Elder Law“