The Ins and Outs of Elder Care Law
Unique legal issues start to pop up as people age, but navigating the often complex laws and regulations surrounding these issues is challenging for most Americans. What happens when I can no longer care for myself? How do I ensure my estate is taken care of if something happens to me? What if my parent needs long-term care? What if my employer fires me because of my age?
These are just a few of the many questions that people may ask themselves as they—or their parents— begin to grow older, but the answers aren’t always clear. That’s where an attorney specializing in elder care can be extremely useful for you or your aging loved one.
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?
Elder law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that affect older people and those with disabilities, including financial and estate planning to protect assets as well as care-related matters to ensure the health and wellbeing of these individuals. The following are some of the important matters elder law attorneys handle:
- Estate planning
- Incapacity planning
- Social Security and disability
- Supplemental and long-term health insurance
- Long-term care and nursing home placement and issue resolution
- Elder abuse
- Housing issues
In addition to handling the legal matters mentioned above, elder care attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the unique physical, mental, and social challenges older individuals and people with disabilities face, and they often have strong community networks to connect their clients with local resources that can help with housing, care, and other non-legal issues.
While other attorneys can handle certain aspects of the issues discussed above (e.g., writing wills), elder care attorneys have specialized knowledge in many fields outside the law, enabling them to avoid complex legal issues that can have serious financial and health consequences for older individuals.
When Should I Contact an Elder Law Attorney?
The ideal time to hire an elder law attorney is before the mental and physical problems associated with aging begin to develop, but it’s never too late to consult these professionals. If you worry about your future well-being or that of your parents or are faced with a challenging legal issue like those listed above, it is probably the right time to contact an elder care attorney.
When you have decided to take this important step, it’s important to be prepared. Make a list of all the questions and concerns you have and the end results you hope to achieve. Your elder care attorney will then guide you through the issues you face and will develop a personalized plan to make sure you or your parents are taken care of during the golden years of life.