Many aging Americans depend on family members or friends to help manage their financial, health, and other affairs during retirement and beyond. They often believe that their family members will be able to take care of any issues that arise. While consulting with loved ones about plans and wishes can be beneficial, relying solely on them can cause problems in the long run for both seniors and their families.
Instead, it is best to seek the advice of an elder law attorney when it comes to putting proper planning in place. The issues around retirement, wills, and estate planning are often complex. Working with a legal professional can help seniors navigate these details to ensure that decisions and plans are suited to their specific situation.
Having legal arrangements in place related to retirement benefits, assets, and to determine who will be responsible for the welfare of an aging loved one can also help to avoid family disputes, and ensure that assets are preserved as intended. And although we’d like to assume family members always have seniors’ best interests at heart, legally-binding arrangements also protect against abuse and financial exploitation.
But it isn’t just seniors that benefit from working with a legal professional. Elder law attorneys can also assist heirs and beneficiaries by ensuring that assets don’t fall into wrongful hands due to debts, divorces, or other extenuating circumstances. They can also help beneficiaries avoid the long and complicated probate process.
Elder law attorney expertise
Elder law attorneys have the expertise to help seniors and their loved ones navigate all of the legal issues impacting the elderly. They can help clients to better understand Medicare and Medi-Cal (Medicaid outside of California) programs and laws, and assist clients and families with all of the legal aspects of planning, including drafting wills, estate plans, and trusts.
Below is a list of some of the services elder law attorneys provide:
- Medi-Cal (Medicaid outside of California) Eligibility, Applications, and Planning
- Medicare Eligibility and Claims
- Social security and disability claims and appeals
- Long-term care planning
- Financial planning for long-term care
- Drafting wills and trusts
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Elder abuse case management
- Patient rights
- Nursing home issues and disputes
- Establishing and managing Estates and Trusts
- Tax advice and planning strategies
- Probate services
- Asset protection
… and more
Seniors tend to procrastinate planning due to the unpleasant associations of illness and death. Elder law attorneys can alleviate that discomfort by facilitating family conversations and shifting the focus to the positive benefits of planning and preparedness. Cost can also deter seniors from seeking legal advice and services, however, failing to plan can ultimately end up being far more expensive.
No matter the issue at hand, seniors and their loved ones will benefit from working with an attorney who is expert in these issues.