5 Reasons Why You Need an Elder Law Attorney
The senior citizen population of the United States is increasing rapidly as the baby boomer generation ages, and the influx of international migration continues. Although the US average life expectancy has seen a slight three-year decline, many Americans, men and women, live well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond. An elder law attorney works with seniors, taking a holistic approach to the legal issues people commonly face as they age. These include matters of housing, physical and financial health, estate planning, and more. There are as many issues as there are seniors, as life circumstances are different for everyone. An attorney who specializes in the host of the problems senior citizens face can be a wise investment. Here are five reasons why you need an elder law attorney.
Reason #1: Incapacity Planning
Let’s face it. None of us likes to think of our death, much less becoming disabled or otherwise incapacitated. However, life happens. This is why you need incapacity planning done now, not later.
So what is this incapacity planning? Incapacity planning ensures that your wishes are met regarding your healthcare and finances if you are unable to act for yourself. Think about getting Alzheimer’s, suffering a traumatic brain injury or having a stroke. These are events that could happen to anyone of us. While we cannot one hundred percent prevent these events from happening, we can make plans in the event that these events do happen. We do so through incapacity planning.
How? We complete a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will. These documents ensure that our decisions will be carried out as we want. Through these documents, we name the persons we want to act on our behalf. We state what these persons, our agents, can do for us financially and medically.
Reason #2: Medicare, Medicaid and Long Term Care Planning
Let’s face it. We are living longer as a population. Not only are we living longer, our chances of ending up needing some type of long term care is greater than ever. And, thanks to modern medicine, our long term care needs are lasting longer and are becoming more expensive.
How are you going to avoid your long term care? Do you want to remain in your home? How do you feel about assisted living or nursing home care? Are you concerned that all of your life savings will be used to pay for your care?
An elder law attorney can help you find answers to these questions. They can guide you through a list of options. An elder law attorney can even help you save some of your assets while qualifying you for care. And, an elder law attorney can even help you prepare for long term health care costs in advance so most of your assets are protected.
Reason #3: Veteran’s Benefits
Did you serve in the military? Did your spouse? If so, you may be entitled to additional benefits such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance. This benefit provides a monthly monetary amount to you.
An elder law attorney can help you determine if you qualify for such benefits. And, if you do, guide you through the process of obtaining these benefits.
Reason #4: Guardianship
What if you start to notice that your mom is unable to care for herself safely? You visit and find she left the stove on even though dinner was two hours ago. Or, she keeps falling?
Maybe you notice piles of unpaid bills stacking up on the table? Or, over due notices start appearing? You become concerned about your parent’s ability to handle her finances.
If your parent has no incapacity planning in place, then a guardianship may be your last resort. An elder law can help you navigate the guardianship process. He or she can help you make the difficult decision to become your parent’s guardian.
Reason #5: Elder Abuse
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), instances of American elder financial fraud and abuse range from 2.6 to 36.5 billion dollars in lost money and assets annually. And although self-reported financial exploitation occurs at higher rates than all other types of elder abuse, the NCOA believes instances of elder financial fraud and abuse are likely under-reported. And more disturbing, some of this abuse occurs at the hands of family members!
Seniors are also prone to psychological or physical abuse as well as neglect. Their persecutors can be care takers, family members, and nursing home workers.
An elder law attorney can help you find resources to help you. They can provide you with information about how to spot signs of elder abuse. An elder law attorney can give you options, including filing complaints, to stop elder abuse.
We focus on elder law. We would be honored to speak to you about how we can help you come up with a comprehensive legal plan covering many of the topics above so you can enjoy your senior years without unnecessary worry. We look forward to hearing from you.