Elder law focuses on the special rights, needs, and challenges that arise in the context of simply growing older and planning for possible care needs.
Attorneys specializing in elder law take a holistic perspective.
They acknowledge the interplay of health, family, disability, and housing, as well as emotional and financial issues. Consider a consultation for:
- Estate planning. Within elder law, estate and trust attorneys advise on the best strategy for organizing and managing your assets now that also ensures ease of transfer upon your death. This may involve a will. Or a living trust. There are pros and cons to each. And, if you have a dependent adult in your life, an attorney can draw up a special needs trust to provide for care when you are no longer alive.
- Decision-making plans. With advancing age, many of us lose the ability to manage our finances or make complex healthcare decisions. Especially if you do not have relatives to step in, you will need legal assistance to locate and contract with trustworthy professionals to fill these roles.
- Paying for care. An elder law attorney knows about the many programs designed to assist with the cost of care. You may, for instance, be considering a reverse mortgage, but there are significant “gotchas” with this arrangement. If Medicaid is your fallback should you need a nursing home long term, you will want to work with an attorney to be sure your spouse is not left without resources when you die. Long-term care insurance is another payment option worthy of an attorney’s review.
- Housing contracts. Before moving into an assisted living or continuing care retirement community (sometimes called a “life care” community) or a nursing home, have an elder law attorney review the paperwork. They can clarify tax implications and advise you regarding your rights and how or when you can cancel a housing contract.
- Claims and appeals. You may have disagreements with Social Security, Medicare, your pension fund, or other insurance or benefit programs. An elder law attorney can help you navigate the appeals process and increase your chance of a successful resolution.
- Grandparent visitation rights. Whether the schism is due to a divorce, the death of your child, or estrangement from your son or daughter, you do have rights to see your grandchildren. An elder law attorney can help you stay connected.
- Age discrimination in employment. Have you been turned down from a job, a promotion, or fired because of your age? An elder law attorney can help you rectify the situation.
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