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What is Elder Law?

As an example, what if your father had a stroke and you’ve been told he will need long term care and cannot return to his home. Where will your father live? What types of supports and services will he need? How will he pay for his care if his assets run out? To answer these types of questions, you or your father may benefit from enlisting the services of an elder law attorney.

What is an elder law attorney?

An elder law attorney addresses legal planning for a person’s changing financial, residential, and personal care needs that result from aging, illness, or physical or mental disability.

Is an elder law attorney different from an estate planning attorney?

Yes! Estate planning attorneys prepare wills, trusts, undertake tax planning, and administer estates after death. An elder law attorney is an estate planning attorney. However, an elder law attorney also has a concentrated knowledge of government benefits and how they impact an individual’s estate planning needs.

Does an elder law attorney only work with the elderly?

The phrase “elder law” is a bit of a misnomer. Elder law can encompass estate and government benefit planning for persons with disabilities of any age. Legal planning for younger persons with disabilities is sometimes referred to as “special needs” planning. If an attorney does planning for persons with disabilities of all ages, the attorney will specify that he or she is a special needs and elder law attorney.

What type of planning is performed by an elder law attorney?

Among several elder law services, an elder law attorney can prepare documents that enable a person to assist an individual or loved one with managing their medical and financial needs. They can review and negotiate admissions agreements, or prepare a trust to protect assets from the sale of a home. If needed, elder law attorneys can also evaluate the level of disability and appropriate housing options that would provide the level of supportive services needed. They prepare plans for qualifying for Medical Assistance or, if an individual is a veteran, an elder law attorney can help evaluate what veteran’s benefits are available to defray the cost of care.

 

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