What is Elder Law?
Elder law is a specialized area of legal practice, where attorneys act as advocates for seniors and their families. Elder law attorneys handle a wide range of legal issues affecting seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families, including probate, estate planning, long-term care, Medicaid planning, wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, and other important aspects involved in planning for an uncertain future.
What do elder law attorneys do?
In order to face the uncertainty of the future, clients employ elder law attorneys to handle a wide range of legal issues affecting seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their families, including:
- Estate planning
- Long-term care planning and fulfilling present long-term care needs, including nursing home care
- Medicaid planning
- Wills and trust planning
- Guardianship, guardianship avoidance, and conservatorship
- Retirement planning
- VA benefits
- Social Security and disability benefits
- Planning for issues surrounding aging, illness, and incapacity
Why are elder law attorneys important?
An elder law attorney has the knowledge and experience to see how different facets of the law interact and can impact the client. They stay up-to-date about policy and legal issues within their respective state and can anticipate how specific regulations may affect the client’s needs. An elder law attorney’s responsibility is to offer their clients the necessary tools and information they need to make plans for the future.
What can occur if one does not utilize an elder law attorney?
If a client does not employ the services of an elder law attorney, in order to plan for the future, they may face unintended consequences to any actions they take. For example, if the client is relying on Medicaid to pay for long-term care and has been gifting money in amounts higher than the annual estate tax exclusion amount to family members within the previous five years, they would be ineligible to qualify for Medicaid. Knowing these intricate regulations is necessary in planning for the future, which makes it so important for clients to trust their plans in the hands of an elder law attorney.