In many ways, elder law attorneys are "specialists" because of their focus on the needs of older adults, which are often different and more specialized than the needs of younger adults. Not only can they handle important financial and estate planning matters, but they also take care of day-to-day issues affecting the actual care of seniors, such as assisted living and life planning.
Seniors face complex legal concerns that are often different from what they faced when they were younger. Actions taken may have unintended legal effects. As a senior or someone who's helping make decisions for a senior, it's important that you work with an attorney who is an expert in Elder Law.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder Law encompasses many different fields of law. An Elder Law attorney specializes in how to best use their knowledge to fit the needs of seniors. Some of these fields include (our law firm handles the types matters below that are bolded and italicized):
- Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home
- Medicare claims and appeals
- Social security and disability claims and appeals
- Supplemental and long-term health insurance issues
- 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
- Conservatorships (called interdictions in Louisiana) and guardianships
- 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
- Administration and management of trusts and estates
- Long-term care placements in nursing home and life care
- Nursing home issues including questions of patients' rights and nursing
- home quality
- Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
- Housing issues, including discrimination and home equity conversions
- Age discrimination in employment
- Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor
- benefits, and pension benefits
- Health law
- Mental health law
Elder Law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas, so when an attorney says he or she practices Elder Law, find out which of these matters he or she handles. You will want to hire the attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern in your particular case and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law.
Top 6 Reasons you should Hire an Elder Law Attorney
- Focuses his or her practice on the legal needs of seniors.
- Works with a variety of legal tools and techniques that specifically meet the goals and objectives of the older client.
- Uses a holistic approach to legal advice, taking into consideration the key issues facing seniors: housing, financial well-being, health and long-term care, and autonomy/quality of life.
- Brings to his or her practice a knowledge of the issues facing seniors that allows them and their staff to ignore the myths relating to aging and the competence of seniors.
- Will take into account and empathize with some of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Their understanding of the real life problems of people as they age allows them to determine more easily the difference between the physical versus the mental disability of a client.
- Is tied into a formal or informal system of social workers, psychologists, and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you.
Hiring an Elder Law attorney will give you peace of mind that the legal advice you seek will come from an expert in the legal needs of people as they age. Contact us now for a free consultation to evaluate your legal needs.