We face important decisions as we age. How to receive care, where to live, and what’s going to happen at the end are all daunting questions. Many of these issues involve legal considerations, and elder law attorneys are there to offer advice, make preparations, and advocate for the interests of their clients. This section focuses on elder law. You’ll find articles on elder law generally as well as on topics such as advance healthcare directives and guardianship and conservatorship specifically. End of life concerns, health care considerations, and living and care arrangements are discussed here too.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder law focuses on the concerns of older people. It’s a broad area of law that encompasses many different tasks. Elder law attorneys help people plan for retirement, prepare advance health care directives, file Social Security and disability claims and appeals, help manage property and financial assets, and prepare estate-planning documents. Their knowledge of elder issues and experience with emotionally sensitive topics also make them good sources of advice. Elder law attorneys can help locate government services and funding and offer input on care for patients needing support. Finally, they can represent clients in cases involving appointing guardians, rights of an older person, and other disputes.
Making Plans for Old Age
Many people worry about their lives in retirement. Patients with medical conditions can require care, people combating serious illnesses might need assistance to manage their affairs, and end of life issues can overwhelm families. Elder law attorneys can help address these problems in advance.
Estate planning is a major part of elder law practice. Creating a will or trust to distribute your property after death is recommended. Elder law attorneys can help prepare estate-planning documents. Securing benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and state-based aid can be critical in old age. Elder law attorneys frequently deal with these issues and can offer advice and make preparations.
Advance Care Directives, Power of Attorney, and Guardianship
When someone becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make or communicate decisions, difficult legal questions can arise. Elder law attorneys frequently help clients prepare for these situations. Drafting advance healthcare care directives can spell out your treatment wishes. Granting a power of attorney can give someone the power to make healthcare decisions. There are powers of attorney for managing financial affairs as well. When plans aren’t made in advance, courts can step in to appoint guardians and conservators. Elder law attorneys can help navigate these situations or avoid them altogether.
Advocates for the Elderly
Attorneys are trained advocates. Elder law attorneys are often called upon to protect their client’s interests. Nursing home residents have rights that must be respected. Health care decision-making can involve questions of who’s empowered to make decisions. Agencies can wrongly deny, reduce, or cut off benefits intended for older people, and the elderly can be targets for abuse, neglect, and fraud. Elder law attorneys can step in and ensure that the rights of the elderly are respected.