Elder Law Attorney

An Elder Law Attorney is a “specialist” in the area of law concerning matters related to older adults.  As in Medicine, there are general practitioners and specialists. Elders have unique legal concerns and considerations related to their age. elder lawLaws dealing with seniors often differ from state to state.  So use one in your home state. The Elder Law Attorney uses their specific knowledge, training, and experience in the service of the senior.

It is important that the client is cognitively competent. An ethical attorney will not permit someone with moderate to severe cognitive impairment sign legal documents. So, when you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, meet with your Elder Law Attorney soonest. So, there isn’t a question about their cognitive ability to understand and participate in drafting legal documents.

Legal Documents

Every person eighteen or older should have certain legal documents. These include HIPPA, Durable Power of Attorney, Designated Medical Surrogate, a Living Will and a Designated Financial Surrogate.  These “designated” surrogates may be the same person or divided between family members. Choose someone you trust, but doesn’t have to be family.  A person over sixty-five has different needs than younger adults. Older seniors are in a different time of their life.  Medical and health considerations are more common.  And, financial planning for possible moves into care communities or outliving one’s means is crucial. So, applications for Veteran’s benefits or Medicaid may be required.  An Elder Law Attorney looks at the bigger picture and into the future.  Because they deal with these issues daily they are better equipped to help you than a general attorney.

Financial Matters

Financial and family matters can be complicated. An Elder Law Attorney acts as a counselor so that some entanglements are resolved and others avoided. Most lawyers can prepare a simple Will designating which assets go to whom. Wills are read after you are deceased. But while you are living financial concerns persist. Elder Law Attorneys use other legal strategies and tools to protect assets. These may be complicated holdings, business-related and real-estate. Because there may be more than one state involved and multiple marriages (divorce), children from different marriages and perhaps also special needs, use a specialist. Setting up the correct Trust addresses all of these variables.

Central Contact

Your Elder Law Counsel orchestrates communication between other professionals centralizing all information.  Seniors typically have a team of professionals; legal, health, financial, insurance, residential, caregivers and so forth. You need your Elder Law Attorney to fine-tune your legal needs and protections. Because a big part of the task is long term estate planning around personal and delicate issues, interview a couple of lawyers. Work with the one you feel most comfortable with.