How Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me?
Elder law encompasses a wealth of legal specialties, pertaining to both finances and the general rights of older adults.
Lawyers specializing in elder law may assist you in determining your optimal retirement age based on your needs and preferences, and can ensure you obtain the maximum Social Security benefit you are owed. They can also help ensure you get all the disability payments to which you are entitled.
An elder law attorney with expertise in estate planning can assist you with legal documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc.) to ensure your wishes are honored. Having an elder law attorney assist you with your estate planning will likely save your estate money on probate and other taxes.
While Medicare and other government-run programs provide seniors with significantly discounted healthcare plans, selecting a plan and completing an application can be a difficult and confusing procedure, especially if you are doing it for the first time. However, with the guidance of an elder law attorney who has a lot of expertise with Medicare, you can design a healthcare plan that keeps you both financially and physically secure.
Elder law attorneys can tell you whether you are eligible for Medicaid and what the program covers. If you do not meet the criteria for Medicaid, an elder law attorney can explain what you can do to qualify. They’re also a great resource when Medicaid refuses to cover your claim.
To learn more about Medicaid, read our guide to Medicare vs. Medicaid.
A qualified elder care attorney can help alleviate some stress related to making a claim or dealing with a claim denial from your long-term care insurance coverage. Additionally, they can help you understand your long-term care insurance policy, identify the most appropriate level of long-term care for your needs, increase your chances of having a claim approved, and provide you with information about legal alternatives for long-term care accessible to you.
If you or a loved one has experienced elder abuse, you’re not alone. While approximately 500,000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year, it’s estimated that only 1 in 24 instances of abuse are actually reported. That means elder law attorneys can assist victims in a variety of ways. For example, they can aid you in contacting authorities, retrieving lost funds, and getting you to safety. In addition, it may be smart to bring in an elder law attorney when there are severe cases of abuse, as they can represent you in court and help you sue for correct compensation or pursue criminal charges against the offender.
Scams targeting the elderly are frequent, and financial fraud is the fastest-growing type of elder abuse. The best way to avoid scams is to educate yourself and then be on the lookout for common signs of scams. Another way to keep yourself from becoming a victim of financial fraud is to have a strong estate plan in place. An elder law attorney can help you create this. If you’ve already been a victim of fraud, an elder law attorney may help you attain justice and recover lost funds.
It can be heartbreaking when your grandchildren’s guardians are unwilling to let them see you due to tensions from a divorce, other legal issues, or unexpected death. However, even when relationships between adults break down, you may have visitation rights as a grandparent that the child’s guardian must honor. While these rules vary by state, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have some type of grandparent rights. When you hire an elder law attorney, they can explain the rules in your state, determine your rights, and guide you through the process of requesting visitation.
If you lose your job or believe you have been passed over for one because of your age, you may be able to pursue an age discrimination claim in line with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against anyone over 40 because of their age. To do this, you’ll want to seek out an elder law attorney, as they can professionally evaluate your claim and advise you on next steps.
Power of Attorney
An elder law attorney can prepare a durable power of attorney authorizing another person to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of making decisions on your own. If you do not establish a power of attorney prior to a circumstance when your competency is questioned, you and your family will be forced to go to court to appoint a guardian, which might take some time. Finally, if a family member attempts to assert power of attorney over you, an elder law attorney can help you retain your rights and prove your competency.
An attorney specializing in elder law can help you select a legal guardian should one ever become necessary. While many lawyers can help you through the process, those who are experts in elder law are the best choice for helping you through the complicated guardianship process. You can also count on them to know and address all of the limitations guardianship places on a senior and all the responsibilities you’re required to fulfill if you’re taking on guardianship over someone else. An elder law attorney can also provide advice on alternatives to guardianship and which ones might work best for you or your loved one.