The importance of making plans for your estate after you die is very well understood, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the duties performed by an elder law attorney. From creating a living will to helping you make plans for your retirement, elder law attorneys perform a variety of services that are used long before a person passes away. An elder law attorney will be able to help you prepare for whatever the rest of your life may hold. Hopefully after reading this article, the benefits of using an elder law attorney will be clear.
Elder law attorneys can help out with any of the following:
The staggering price of long-term care can leave even the most judicious person unprepared. Elder law attorneys can help you plan. They’ll help you apply for state or federal benefits if applicable, set up qualified income trusts, and create guardianship in case you can no longer make decisions on your own. They can also create guardianship avoidance if that is not something you want.
Each state has unique Medicaid rules and elder law attorneys are the people who will be most familiar with those rules. They’ll know whether or not you are eligible for certain benefits and what you need to do to become eligible.
Long-term care planning also means an attorney can help you find different types of care and determine which type is most appropriate. They’ll maximize your private resources and possibly secure public resources to finance the necessary care. They’ll advocate for quality care in the event a client feels taken advantage of, or abused, in any care setting.
A living will guarantees your medical wishes will be followed if you are in an incapacitated state. For example, if you are ever put on life support, a living will or medical power of attorney can dictate whether or not you would like to be taken off or remain on life support. This is extremely beneficial because it places no burden on your loved ones to make that difficult decision for you.
Even if you are not the person who is need of long-term care, an elder law attorney can still be beneficial. An attorney can help with asset protection, insurance, and ensure the community spouse does not become impoverished as a result of long-term care costs.
Attorneys can advocate on your behalf against disability or age discrimination if you are seeking a part time job during your retirement years. They can also make sure you receive the pension you’ve earned if the company refuses to pay the correct amount or blocks your pension for any reason. Lastly, they can petition for grandparents’ rights if it is in the best interest of the grandchild.
No matter your situation, it is never too early to plan ahead. Planning ahead for medical or long-term care issues can relieve stress during what is going to be an already confusing time for family members. It’s hard to imagine the eventuality of your medical decline or death, but if your affairs are disorganized, it could become a financial nightmare. At the very least, an elder law attorney should be consulted for estate matters to ensure your family is taken care of even after you’re gone. Taking a little time to plan out your future now can be extremely helpful for your loved ones down the road.
Max Gottlieb is the content manager of Senior Planning and ALTCS in Phoenix, Arizona. While not affiliated with any elder law attorney, Senior Planning receives many questions regarding this subject. Senior Planning and ALTCS give free assistance to seniors and their families, helping them navigate the often-complicated process of finding benefits or care.