Grunden Law Office


May is National Elder Law Month


Since May is National Elder Law Month, it's the perfect time to offer some great information on what exactly Elder Law attorneys do and how it impacts you and those you love.

Elder law and special needs planning is a holistic, multidisciplinary practice that concentrates on representation, legal counseling, and assistance to seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from estate planning to long-term care issues, with an emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for the individual. The person-centered approach considers legal, medical, financial, social, and family issues.

  • What differentiates elder law and special needs planning attorneys from others in the legal profession? Qualified elder law and special needs planning attorneys bring a different perspective to the delivery of services to their clients. Elder law and special needs planning attorneys use a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to help seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in a caring, compassionate way that seeks to preserve dignity for such individuals. Elder law and special needs planning attorneys look at what is best for their clients from all points of view, and are able to address these issues in an objective way.
  • What are the key issues for which older persons need to plan?
  1.  How to have sufficient resources at retirement to support a preferred lifestyle
  2. Estate planning, including planning for the management of one’s estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills, and other planning documents
  3. Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when one spouse enters a nursing home
  4. Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, “living wills” for financial management and health care decisions, and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity
  5. Supplemental and long-term health insurance issues
  • What are the issues for which people with special needs need to plan? Individuals with disabilities who receive public benefits would benefit from having funds in a trust used to maintain their quality of life. When an individual who receives public benefits also receives money, the public benefits may be jeopardized.

This situation may arise when the individual receives a personal injury or divorce settlement, an inheritance, or other funds. Regardless of the source of the funds, once the individual has money in his or her own name, the public benefits may be at risk. To protect the public benefits, the excess funds can be placed in a Special Needs Trust. A Special Needs Trust is used to supplement, not replace, public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. There are several planning options and the advice of an experienced Special Needs Planning attorney is needed.

If you or someone you love has more questions regarding this area of legal services, let us know! We're happy to arrange for you to come in for a complimentary consultation where we can answer your questions and discuss your specific needs. Contact us at 260-969-1177 or email us at

April GrundenComment