We recently wrote about how seniors who have served can use their Veteran benefits for assisted living. In that same vein, we are providing helpful information regarding elder law, since navigating through the legal complexity of wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, et al can be confusing to people that have not had to deal with such issues in their past. When confronted with these issues it is often helpful to seek a resource that is well versed and can provide guidance through these difficult and confusing situations. Families and residents who need help with these services typically enlist the assistance of an elder law attorney to guide them through the complex documentation and provide much needed legal advice.
What is Elder Law?
Elder law attorneys are advocates for seniors and their loved ones. An elder law attorney can provide assistance in a wide variety of legal issues affecting seniors including health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other important issues. It is a specialty type of law practice that is different from other legal focuses, as they take care of both estate planning issues, financial issues, but can also care for the day-to-day issues as from payment for assisted living to guardianship.
What Does an Elder Lawyer Do?
An elder law attorney provides assistance with many aspects of life for seniors. It can begin with estate planning, and the importance of wills and advanced directives. The elder law attorney can provide important advice on how to protect (or distribute) a senior’s wealth, and also determine what type of care they want to receive should they become very ill. An elder law attorney can assist with powers of attorney, whether a durable power of attorney, a healthcare POA, or a financial POA. This is essentially a selection of who can make important health and financial decisions for a senior.
What to Consider When Hiring an Elder Law Attorney
Once you determine that an elder law attorney would be helpful to you or a loved one, you need to search for one in your area. A great place to start is the State Bar of Nevada website, use their "Find a Lawyer" page.
Selecting an attorney is important. There are several factors that you should consider when looking at an elder law attorney. Though it seems obvious, choose an attorney that has been practicing this type of law for some time. Experience in this specific type of practice is especially important. The next most important factor is what amount of their time is spent focused or working on elder law. Familiarity with the day-to-day aspects of elder law is key. Third, ask for references or testimonials from other clients. An elder law attorney should be able to provide examples of the work that they have performed for similar clients in the past. And finally, the size of the firm could be important to you. Some larger practices may have a greater variety of resources available to them as opposed to a smaller firm. Some attorneys will offer a free consultation, so be sure to ask before you commit.
Find an Elder Law Attorney
In summary, consulting with an elder law attorney should happen even before you consider senior living. Having a relationship with an elder law attorney will help you plan for both your financial future and the future of your health. An elder law attorney is a resource that you can use before you have an issue and, in many ways, help you prevent a future problem. At Lakeview Terrace many of our residents have obtained advice, care, and counsel from an attorney long before they decided to move in. In fact, many of those prior decisions made with that elder law attorney led to that resident being able to choose Lakeview Terrace in the first place. Check out our resources page for information regarding other senior needs.
National Academy of of Elder Law Attorneys - https://www.naela.org/
National Elder Law Foundation - https://nelf.org/page/QualificationsSummary