While “elder law” may not be the first thing to come to mind when hearing the word “attorney,” the need for attorneys in this field of law is undeniable. As most people approach retirement, they begin to spend more time thinking about how they’ll be taken care of throughout their later years, including how their medical expenses will be paid, and whether or not someone will be by their side when they’ll need it the most. Elder law attorneys specialize in making sure you’re fully prepared for life after retirement.
What Is Elder Law?
Estate planning is centered around figuring out how you can leave your assets to your loved ones after death while saving as much of your estate taxes as possible from estate. Another critical part of an estate plan is designating a trusted individual to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to make or communicate them yourself. A lawyer that specializes in elder law will help you draft all the estate planning essentials including a last will & testament, revocable and irrevocable trust, living will, health care proxy and power of attorney.
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a court determines whether or not a person is capable of making reasonable decisions regarding their finances and general welfare. If the court concludes that the person in question is indeed unable to make such decisions, a guardian can be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the individual, the property they own or both. A licensed elder law attorney can help you with the long process of petitioning the court, complying with court orders as well as representing you in a guardianship so that you or your loved one are well taken care of in your later days.
Medicaid is a joint federal & state funded program that provides free or low-cost medication and medical services to more than 6 million low income seniors every year. An elder law attorney can help you plan how you’ll apply for Medicaid in a way that will allow you to protect your assets and have them go to your loved ones instead of paying for expensive nursing home services.
Cost of Services
Like other attorneys, elder law attorneys can charge either a fixed rate, or by an hourly fee. Either option can leave the client better off depending on their circumstances as well as the type of work they are looking to get done.
What’s the Benefit of An Elder Law Attorney?
The benefit of having an attorney by your side is that you have access to a professional when dealing with matters and making decisions that will impact the lives of you, your friends and your loved ones down the line. It’s no secret that up front, the price of an attorney can seem like an arm and a leg. What this perception doesn’t take into account is that having an elder law attorney by your side helping you draft estate planning documents or plan how and when you will apply for Medicaid can and will save you much more money later on as you grow older and start requiring additional medical care or even assisted living facilities or services.
Finding The Right Attorney
If you decide to seek out an elder law attorney, the first step is finding the right one for you. You should feel comfortable with whomever you hire as they are someone you will have to work with closely. Prior to meeting with a client, most attorneys will have an initial consultation with prospective clients either on the phone or in person. This is the time for the attorney to familiarize themselves with your case. It’s also an opportunity for the client to ask questions that they may have. There are many ways to find a good lawyer, such as getting a referral from friends or family members. Google can serve as a wonderful tool here, as there are so many attorneys willing to help you, many of which can be reached by just one simple search.
We highly recommend contacting a professional elder law attorney to help you resolve any issues that you may have, whether they are financial or medical problems. A licensed lawyer will take your case into their hands relieving you of this duty while helping you execute your wishes.