A lot of people make plans for retirement but don’t map out a way to achieve those plans. Other times, we make plans for our golden years with blinders on. We imagine only happy circumstances in which our biggest concern is which cruise to take in any given year. The reality is, people get sick, they age and they run out of money or they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves. This is where a good elder law attorney can help.
These attorneys specialize in helping people plan for the future and provide legal services to seniors. Not only that, they can help seniors make the most of the challenging situations they may face. With years of experience in the field and plenty of resources at their disposal, these legal professionals may be the greatest resource you can have to get you through your golden years with the support you need.
Elder Law Areas Of Expertise
Elder law professionals help their clients navigate the legal situations that are unique to older and retired individuals. Common areas of expertise include:
• Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, claims and appeals
• Tax Law
• Estate Planning and Administration
• Healthcare Directives, Planning and Insurance Needs
• Wills, Trusts and Probate
• Long-term Care Planning
• Conservatorships and Guardianships
• Nursing Home Placement, Abuse and Neglect
• Asset Protection
• Social Security and Disability
• Powers of Attorney
• Elder Abuse and Fraud
• Housing Issues
• Age Discrimination
• Retirement Planning
When To Seek The Help Of An Elder Care Specialist
Anytime you are facing legal issues as a senior citizen or need to help aged family members, it’s a good idea to consult an elder law attorney. Although you may feel that a family attorney can handle your needs just as well, this is not always the case. These attorneys lack the specialized legal knowledge needed to navigate the issues facing seniors and many not understand the unique situations seniors face. Attorneys who work with seniors regularly have other non-legal senior resources at their disposal that may prove helpful as well. They can often refer clients to social service agencies, nursing homes or home health care agencies based on their professional network alone.
Choosing A Lawyer
Once you start researching elder law attorneys you’ll notice that each attorney has his or her own area of expertise. It is rare to find one attorney who is fluent in every aspect of the field. It’s much more common to find one who has focused his or her practice on a few specific areas. This being the case, it makes sense to first identify what specific area you need help with. Do you need help designing a will or making an estate plan or do you need help with Medicare claims? Whatever your needs, find an attorney who has experience in that area but who has enough knowledge to know if the actions you take will affect you under other areas of law.
Start your search for a lawyer with local senior services agencies or healthcare providers. Ask for recommendations. Check with the local area council on aging, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or the state or local bar associations. You may even be able to get a referral from attorneys you already know. Once you have some names in hand make time for a face-to-face interview. You will be sharing some very personal information with this attorney. You want to find someone who you connect with and trust and who understands your needs and feelings and can provide you with the moral support you may need to get through the legal issues you’re facing.