Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why Work With An Elder Law Attorney

Why Work with an Elder Law Attorney?

Seniors face complex legal concerns that are often different from what they faced when they were younger. Actions taken may have unintended legal effects. As a senior or someone who’s helping make decisions for a senior, it’s important that you work with an attorney who specializes in Elder Law.

What Is Elder Law?

Elder Law encompasses many different fields of law. An Elder Law attorney specializes in how to best use their knowledge to fit the needs of seniors. Some of these fields include:

• Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home

• Medicaid

• 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

• Probate

• 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

• Age discrimination in employment

• Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and pension benefits

• Health law
• Mental health law

Most Elder Law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas, so when an attorney says he or she practices Elder Law, find out which of these matters he or she handles. You will want to hire the attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern in your particular case and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law. For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the estate planner needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse's inheritance.