As we age, many of us are faced with issues that we have never had to deal with before. Retirement planning, estate planning, trusts, guardianships, long-term medical needs, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare; these are just a few of the issues that older adults face every day. Sometimes the information coming at you can be overwhelming and, often, confusing. In situations like these, the help of a lawyer who specializes in these areas can be invaluable.
Focusing On The Needs Of Seniors
Elder care lawyers are attorneys who have dedicated their practice to meeting the specific legal needs of seniors and their families. Not only are they familiar with the legal issues seniors face, they very often have practical insights and exposure to resources for older adults. These specialists can help aging adults and their families develop legal protections and get their affairs in order but they can also help their clients find agencies or services that can help them in their day-to-day lives such as home healthcare assistance, nursing homes, and public or private senior services providers.
Specialties Of Elder Care Lawyers
These attorneys assist their clients in many legal areas. The topics covered are so many and varied that it’s not uncommon for an elder law firm to have several of these attorneys on staff, each with their own specialties. This way, the firm can cover all areas of elder law and meet the demands of all of their clients.
Common areas of expertise include: Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Guardianships, Healthcare Planning, End-Of-Life Decisions, Long-Term Care, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Retirement Planning and Asset Protection, Taxes and Insurance. Let’s take a look at some of these areas in more depth.
• Estate Planning. Estate planning helps seniors plan for the allocation of their assets and estate after their death. It is not limited to the wealthy. Anyone can benefit from an estate plan since it includes things like wills and designating beneficiaries, setting up trusts, gifting, powers of attorney and probate issues. Estate planning helps you ensure your assets will go to the person(s) of your choice upon your death.
• Healthcare Planning. This is a broad area that can include long-term treatment decisions, healthcare directives or assistance with Medicare and Medicaid claims, coverage and benefits. These lawyers are especially helpful in designing advance directives and powers of attorney for seniors who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. These attorneys can helps seniors and their families develop a long-term care plan for the future and help seniors manage their finances as their ability to make sound decisions for themselves falters. Elder care lawyers can help you navigate Medicaid and Medicare to ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
• These attorneys can help you set up a guardianship. Seniors often do this if they have adult children with special needs who will need someone be responsible for them after the parents pass. Children of seniors can apply for guardianship or conservatorship of their parents if the parent is incapable of looking after him or herself and does not have an advance directive. Elder care lawyers help guide these processes through court.
• Legal Representation and Advocacy. Like any other legal professional, these attorneys can represent and advocate for you on many issues including insurance claims and settlements, Social Security claims, elder abuse, neglect and landlord/tenant relations or age discrimination.
In addition to advising or representing their clients on legal matters, elder care lawyers can act in a more hands-on capacity. These attorneys are often called upon to act as the executor of wills and trusts or to administer the estate after death.
However, one of the greatest services provided by elder care lawyers is simply advisement and being a resource for both the senior and his or her family. The ultimate goal of the lawyer is to create plans and systems that ensure the highest quality of life possible for their client.
Peck Bloom is a leading firm of estate planning, elder law and litigation attorneys. Contact them for estate planning services or if you need elder care lawyers in Chicago. Visit their website to request a free initial consultation.
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