Keep elder family members legally protected by being informed about elder law. See how LegalShield’s plans help you answer tough legal questions.
Elder law is a general term for a very important area of legal practice. You may wonder when, why, and how it may apply to your unique situation. Wonder no more: We’ve gathered some of the most essential info right here, so you can find some answers all in one handy place.
What is Elder Law?
If you are an elderly person, you are probably dealing with financial issues such as disability pay, retirement, caregiving and other costs. You may also face guardianship or conservatorship concerns, as well as important decisions about long-term care should you become incapacitated. These are all issues that are covered by elder law.
Elder law assists you and your loved ones with the legalities that will arise as the years pass. Lawyers who specialize in elder law are experienced in the field, understanding the ins and outs of the legal problems that you might face as you age.
What Does an Elder Law Lawyer Do?
These are just a few of the areas in which an elder law lawyer can offer valuable help:
- Long-term care
- Health care
- Health insurance
- Housing issues
- Requirements for assisted living
- End-of-life care
- Legal planning for Wills, Trusts, etc.
- Financial issues like taxes and Social Security
- Elder abuse
When Should I Hire an Elder Lawyer?
As soon as you face an issue related to elder law, it would be wise to start looking for an elder law lawyer. Even if you haven’t had to deal with any major legal problems yet, you may want to begin considering legal help before you find yourself in the middle of one! Ask yourself these key questions to see if you are ready to seek legal assistance with elder law:
1. Am I worrying about the future of my family, finances, and estate?
Elder law exists to help you plan for the future. An elder law lawyer can help you prepare by ensuring that your estate complies with local, state, and federal laws such as taxes and insurance. You and your loved ones can get the assistance you need in protecting your finances and assets. Help with estate planning also means you can rest easy, knowing a legal professional is helping you plan for the care of your family members, loved ones, pets and beloved property.
2. How can I know if all my legal documents are finished and ready for after my passing?
Like we mentioned earlier, your state has particular laws in place which govern official documents and finances. An elder law lawyer can help you get all these documents in order to make sure they comply with the laws in your area.
It is recommended for anybody who is over 65 to seek help with elder law—even if you are healthy and feel secure. It’s like seeing a doctor for a routine checkup: An elder law lawyer can help you get things in order before things become a major problem.
What is the Difference Between Guardianship and Conservatorship?
Guardianship and conservatorship are two similar legal statuses that can be applied to a person. Some states even use the terms interchangeably, which is why you may hear both when you begin researching which option is right for you. However, while they are similar to each other, a guardianship typically gives legal control to someone over the care and decisions for a minor (though not always). A conservatorship gives control to someone over an adult; the conservator may then make decisions about the specified adult’s finances.
In either instance, the person who is being cared for is called the ward.
These are the key differences between a guardianship and a conservatorship:
The guardian will control the healthcare and many other daily decisions for someone who can’t make these choices due to age, disability, or illness. The court may select a guardian for an elderly adult when that elder is afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, is incapacitated due to brain injury or stroke, or is in a coma. However, the guardian will probably not make major financial decisions for the ward.
The conservator is in place to make monetary decisions for the ward. Just like a guardianship, this may be necessary because the ward has suffered illness, injury, or some other form of incapacitation where they are no longer able to manage their money on their own. The conservator will be chosen to control the ward’s finances and protect the ward’s monetary interests.
What are Some Questions to Ask an Elder Law Lawyer?
You need to make sure your elder law lawyer is indeed knowledgeable in all the legal issues you may face as you age. Though you want to assume a law firm has only the best lawyers to offer, it is still wise to have a list of questions handy as you meet your potential lawyer. Consider adding these questions to your list:
- How long has this lawyer been practicing elder law?
- What kind of elder law cases have they handled? Were any of them similar to the issues you or your aging loved ones are facing currently? If so, that can give you confidence to know that this lawyer has dealt with these kinds of legal problems before.
- Why is it worth your time and money to work with this lawyer, as opposed to taking care of the legal issue yourself? Even if this article has made it plain that you could benefit from a professional’s help, you may still have doubts. Asking the lawyer for their opinion will give you some more insight into how they may be able to assist you.
- What does the lawyer think of your current elder law concern? Do they see any red flags or big concerns that they could help with?
Looking for Help with Elder Law? LegalShield is Here
Elder law is no simple issue to navigate on your own. You need to understand the laws and regulations in your area, as well as details surrounding the issue you are concerned about. Having access to a lawyer on your side can help you with so many problems—sometimes before they even become problems!
A LegalShield Membership gives you access to a dedicated provider law firm in your area. You’ll get access to LegalShield provider lawyers who can offer advice, provide consultation on an unlimited number of personal matters, review paperwork, make phone calls, and help with many other legal aspects of your journey as you age.
Learn how senior citizens can prepare for the future with these seven tips.
Find out how LegalShield can help you today!
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