Elder law is a growing legal field. With the number of baby boomers entering their retirement years it will be an increasing are for attorneys to practice. Elder law attorneys are engaged in a number of different matters regarding their clients. This includes anything that may deal with prominent issues elders are facing in our society:
- Social Security
- Assisted Living
- Financial Planning
When an individual can no longer take care of themselves they depend on family and friends for support. Often, an additional means of support can be an attorney. For some of the people in the country, they do not have a support system and rely upon the courts to assist them. A judge can appoint a guardian to make certain legal decisions for an individual who requires it. Especially if the person becomes mentally ill or physically handicapped. The guardian appointed will assist the elderly individual with everything from purchasing basing home supplies to making sure they have timely health checkups. A judge can also appoint a conservator. A conservator mostly handles the finances for a person in need. An attorney can help those reaching their golden years with all these things as well. Any documents that you may need an attorney can draft and with your approval make it a proper document.
Wills & Trusts…Oh Yeah and the Good Ol’ Power of Attorney.
When most people hear or think of elder law what instantly comes to mind is wills or trusts and of course the power of attorney. All these best fit under the umbrella term Estate Planning. We go into detail about the power of attorney in another article. We also have an entire category dedicated to Wills & Trusts. These documents allow people to not only make sure their assets and family or friends are taken care of after their death, but also provide the testator/grantor the ability to provide for themselves as well if they become incapacitated later in life. A will can also provide for the exact means in which an individual wishes to live out the rest of their life, down to the most specific detail. Although you do not need an attorney to help you create a will or trust (all your assets will pass to your heirs through intestate succession if you don’t) as you can make your own will. However, having an attorney assist you provides peace of mind and takes out any of the guess-work you may have.
Elder law and health care nearly go hand in hand. Whether it’s the benefits of Medicaid and Medicare or whether it involves making sure doctors, hospitals, and long-term facilities are held accountable. All of these entities have a significant impact on elder’s livelihoods. Having an attorney on can help you make sure that an elder is treated appropriately. Especially in regards to a violation of privacy rights, mistreatment of elders, or even medical malpractice. The pressures many elders tend to have are directly connected to these entities taking advantage of them or mistreating them. Never underestimate what duress and undue influence can have.
We highly recommend that you consult an elder law attorney when you believe t is time to make sure all your fairs are in order and to plan for the future.