Elder Law: Top 5 Things to be Aware Of
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. Attorneys who specialize in elder law are experts in the field, understanding the ins and outs of the legal problems that you might face as you age.
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?
These are just a few of the areas in which an elder law attorney 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
As soon as you face an issue related to elder law, it would be wise to start looking for an elder law attorney. 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 attorney 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 expert 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 attorney will 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 attorney can help you get things in order before anything becomes 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 Attorney?
You need to make sure your elder law attorney 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 attorney. Consider adding these questions to your list:
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 every detail surrounding the issue you are concerned about. Having a lawyer on your side will 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 unlimited consultation, review paperwork, make phone calls and draft legal documents, 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.
To become a LegalShield member, reach out to an independent associate today!
Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be third-party paid contributors. All information by authors are accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.
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