As the senior community grows in number, the laws and regulations surrounding the legal issues impacting this demographic are getting more complex. That's why National Elder Law Month is important. The entire month of May is devoted to educating seniors and their families on the broad understanding of the laws that may have an impact on a give situation. Beyond just gathering information, this month's focus can equip you and your family with valuable insight that can help you avoid future problems.
"Elder Law" may be a term you've heard before. This area of service can include a number of areas where an attorney can be of help, such as:
- Transferring assets to avoid spousal impoverishment when one spouse enters a nursing home
- Medicaid and long-term care benefits
- Tax planning
- Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney for health care decisions and financial management
- Delegating decision-making responsibilities to another in case of incompetency or incapacity
- Planning for you estate during your lifetime and its disposition on death through Trusts and Wills.
- Probate and administration of estates
- Look-back planning to prepare for long-term care ahead of time
These are just a few of the scenarios that fall under the term "Elder Law." Not all attorneys specialize in all areas of "Elder Law" so be sure to ask specific questions when talking to an attorney so that you are clear as to what matters the attorney handles.
You've heard the old adage..."the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing." Well, this can be true in the Elder Law arena. A simple decision to rewrite a will without considering your spouse who may be ill, can create a domino effect. You will need an attorney who can consider not just your immediate needs in the Will changes, but also look ahead to when that ailing spouse may need Medicaid benefits and long-term, nursing home care. There can be legal issues that could be rather costly in the long run if not considered at the appropriate time.
Those of us who work with seniors and their families have an appreciation for the complex financial and social needs that exist. Decisions are often emotionally charged and there is a great amount of concern for that loved one's well being and care. As a firm that works in Elder Law, our team brings a certain knowledge to this area of practice that allows us to empathize with some of the fears and uncertainties families often face in this situation. We work hard to tie ourselves to a network of social workers, care managers, various service providers, nursing home and assisted living groups, and other professionals who may be of assistance to you and your family.
No matter who you might seek out for help in the Elder Law realm, be sure to ask good questions. Download our Q&A checklistto help you navigate this conversation. It's also helpful to establish a clear expectation for communication and time frames when meeting with an attorney. There may be predetermined deadlines or timelines that are outside of your control. It's best to understand what those might be sooner rather than later.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our specific services in the Elder Law area, please contact us at 260-969-1177 or email us at [email protected]
**This post is an informational article provided as a public service and is not intended as legal advice.