Why should I use an Elder Law Attorney?
January 5, 2018 | by the National Care Planning Council
As the population of our country ages, more people will need help with legal or planning issues unique to aging seniors. This might include help with veterans' pension benefits, Medicaid, and estate planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, living wills and visitation directives). Other needs might include long term care and disability planning, solving disputes with family through mediation, guardianship and fiduciary administration, or confronting elder abuse.
Elder Law attorneys represent a growing specialty of the law that helps the elderly deal with many of the complex needs affecting seniors and their loved ones. Elder Law attorneys can do a lot for their clients and are often necessary as state laws rule elder law matters. Below is a list of services an elder law attorney might offer. This list is provided by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys' website, naela.org.
- Preservation or transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home
- Medicaid qualification and application and Medicaid planning strategies
- Medicare claims and appeals
- Social security and disability claims and appeals
- Supplemental and long term health insurance issues
- Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, "living wills," for financial management and health care decisions, and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity
- Conservatorships and guardianships
- Estate planning, including planning for the management of one's estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents
- Administration and management of trusts and estates
- Long term care placements in nursing home and life care communities
- Nursing home issues including questions of patients' rights and nursing home quality
- Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
- Housing issues, including discrimination and home equity conversions (reverse mortgage)
- Age discrimination in employment
- Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits and pension benefits
- Health law
- Mental health law
Elder law attorneys normally charge a predetermined rate based on the type of assistance. They do not specialize in every area of law concerning seniors, so it is important to hire an attorney who has experience in your particular area of need and will be sensitive to legal expenses and the dignity of everyone involved. Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) and members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are considered the most qualified to help the aging.