WAGM’s recent article entitled “A Closer Look at Elder Law” takes a look at some of the finer points of estate planning and elder law. Elder law focuses on issues that concern older people. However, it’s not just for older people. Elder law attorneys like Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, frequently speak with family members about their concerns for a loved one. In fact, it is often a family member who initiates the conversation because of his or her concern for a parent or relative. What does an elder law attorney do vs. what an estate planning attorney provides?
Wills and estate planning may not be the most riveting topics of conversation. However, in this day and age, they can be one of the most important tools to ensure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone. An attorney who practices in this area of law will talk to a senior or his or her family and ask questions to determine what they may require. In many cases, there are things that can and should be done immediately. In many instances, a senior member of their family isn’t sure what they should do. An elder law attorney will walk them through the process.
One of the main concerns is, “How do I get started and how much planning do I have to do before hand?”
As far as an estate plan, everyone should have a will, a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney and a healthcare directive.
Elder law often goes beyond estate planning and centers upon long-term care planning. Ideally, this should be started before a senior is in a crisis and needs an immediate solution.
With planning, an elder law attorney can help with questions about Medicaid, protecting assets and proper senior care, whether that is at home or in a care facility.
This can benefit families who want to help protect their loved ones, lifestyle and assets; retirees and pre-retirees who’d like to preserve the savings they’ve worked hard to compile over the years; and those seniors who may not have someone to care for them or significant assets to pay for these costs.
Planning can also ease the transition, if a senior suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and will require specialized care.
Given human nature, we often wait to take action on events only when they are becoming or have become a crisis. This is certainly true with long-term care needs.
According to Rudy Beck of Beck & Lenox, a good elder law attorney will have learned the state, federal and even the county rules governing estate planning, Medicaid and Veterans benefits. He or she will then apply the specific facts of their clients to figure out what options best fit their situation. Rudy, Jay Lenox and Caroline Daiker all believe that the elder law attorney’s job is to increase the quality of life of their clients, not just figure out who gets what after they pass away.
Every Elder Law attorney practices in the area of estate planning , however, many estate planning attorneys do not practice elder law. When elder law needs arise, make sure you are working with an experienced elder law attorney. If you need to find one in your area, you can go to naela.org to see a directory of elder law attorneys.
Reference: WAGM (Dec. 8, 2021) “A Closer Look at Elder Law“