Aging happens to everyone and even if you are not advanced in years yet, chances are you have a parent or family member that is or will soon be elderly. As you age, you are faced with many decisions about medcare, medicaid, wills, trusts, medical directives and it can be intimidating. Luckily, you do not have to figure it out on your own. If you have questions, it is likely an elder law lawyer can help. If you have never heard of an elder law lawyer before, here are some answers to questions frequently asked.
- What is elder law? Elder law falls under estate planning, but with a niche focus on issues that many seniors are faced with. For instance, elder care law can cover legal issues such as wills, trusts, medical directives and other issues that commonly fall under estate planning, but elder law also encompasses the legal issues associated with medicaid, medicare, retiree benefits, and long-term care. It can even include aspects of funeral planning and living wills.
- What is an elder care lawyer? An elder care lawyer specializes in legal issues that often accompany old age. They work frequently with elderly clients, so tend to understand some of the common legal hurdles that can come with planning for long-term care or estate planning. They can be good resources because of their breadth of legal knowledge related to aging. They will be able to help with a continuum of issues, rather than just drafting a will.
- How should I prepare for a consultation with an elder law lawyer? Many elder law lawyers, like the ones at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC, offer consultations. These can be extremely beneficial, especially if you come prepared. While the documents you need will depend on your situation, it can help to come with a list of any Veterans Affairs benefits you receive (which ones and how much). It is also useful to be able to discuss how long you plan on working, when or if you plan on drawing social security benefits, and if you have a pension. Be sure to write any questions you have for the lawyers down ahead of time so you do not forget any. These tips will help you get the most out of your consultation.
- What questions should I ask an elder law lawyer before hiring one? Similarly to choosing any other practitioner, it can help to ask questions about their experience and training. You might ask how long they have been practicing elder law or even how much of their time is devoted to elder law cases. You could also ask about sub-specialties or their experience dealing with the issue most pressing for you. After discussing your questions with them, it is important to choose someone you feel comfortable with, even if that means you have to talk to a few lawyers before deciding who you want to work with.
While it can be confusing and intimidating to navigate the many aspects of elder care, an elder law lawyer can help to provide clarity and comfort, knowing you and your loved ones have sought sound legal advice.