What is Elder Law? A Complete Guide
Elder law concerns legal matters related to seniors and their families. Acting as a representative and advocate, an attorney can assist their aging adult clients with navigating a variety of legal issues relevant to advanced stages of life.
How Do Elder Law Attorneys Help Their Clients?
Elder law attorneys can provide a number of services to their clients. First and foremost, they can help by providing advice and guidance on the best way to plan for the future. These discussions often include ensuring that a person’s last wishes are fulfilled faithfully once they have passed away.
Some areas where elder law attorneys assist their clients can include:
Estate Plans and Wills:
An elder law attorney can help draft an estate plan that will protect a person’s assets and property. This includes creating a will or trusts, division of assets to beneficiaries, as well as making sure that the right people are in place to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.
Health Planning and Decision Making:
As people age, they may need help making decisions about their health care. This can include choosing a health care proxy or agent, as well as making sure that their medical needs and wishes are expressed in a legal document called an advance health law directive.
Additionally, an elder law attorney can assist with planning for long-term care. This can include making arrangements to pay for care, whether it be in-home, assisted living, or a nursing home.
Your attorney can also assist you with Medicaid payments. At our practice, we often assist our elderly clients in preparing applications for these services and advising on eligibility.
Powers of Attorney:
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. Elder law attorneys often help their clients choose someone they trust to be their power of attorney, as well as draft the necessary documents to legally put this decision into effect.
Financial Decision Making:
Your attorney can assist you with making important decisions about your finances. These can include but are not limited to important matters such as financial planning, housing, long-term care expenses, fixed incomes, and tax concerns.
Elder Abuse Cases:
Elder abuse is an unfortunate situation that affects many seniors. This often occurs when an older person is neglected or physically, verbally, or emotionally abused by their caretaker. In these situations, having a strong legal representation to advocate on your behalf can ensure that you receive the justice you need as well as the proper legal protection from the abuser.
How to Decide On the Right Elder Law Attorney for Your Needs
If you search online for an attorney, you will likely find many options to choose from. However, elder law is a specific area of practice, so selecting the right firm to assist you is paramount.
When you are exploring your own options, look for these traits in an elder law practice:
Years of Experience in Elder Law:
The attorneys you are considering should have many years of experience in handling elder law cases. This means that they will be well-versed in the relevant laws and legal nuances and have the necessary experience to handle your case competently.
Positive Client Testimonials:
When narrowing down your choices, be sure to read client testimonials. These will give you a good sense of what it is like to work with the attorneys and staff at the firm.
A Specific Focus on Elder Law Representation:
The firm you choose should have a specific focus on elder law. This way, you can be confident that the attorneys will be up-to-date on the latest changes in the law and how they may impact your case.
Look for a practice that has been independently verified and accredited for its service quality, such as a rating from the Better Business Bureau. These endorsements ensure that the practice has met certain objective standards to qualify for this distinction.
Get Elder Law Representation in the NY Capital Region Today
Since 1925, our team of attorneys at O’Connell and Aronowitz have provided successful legal representation to clients throughout the NY Capital Region from our offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, our elder law team will assist you in ensuring that you receive the proper fiduciary legal advocacy for a more secure present and future.
To learn more about how we can assist you with your specific elder law needs, contact us today.
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