What Is Elder Law?
Elder law includes a large scope of practice. Almost any legal service that a person who is older might need is included in this area of practice. End-of-life planning, wills, trusts, disability claims, elder abuse, Medicare planning, nursing home care, age discrimination, and retirement planning are some areas that are commonly used by an older person.
Estate planning is one area that older people often need considerable help in. This includes making preparations for end-of-life care, such as making advance directives, living wills and appointing a health care power of attorney. It also includes appointing financial power of attorney, or durable power of attorney, to a trusted individual. On top of those heavy topics, it also includes creating a will, setting up trusts, and deciding how to distribute everything.
Nursing Home Planning and Elder Abuse
Nursing home planning is an area within elder law that can have significant impacts on a person's life. One aspect of this is deciding how to handle assets in case Medicaid or Medicare will be necessary to help cover the expenses of long-term care. Learning about long-term care insurance and deciding if that is needed might also require the help of an experienced elder law attorney.
Along the same lines as long-term care planning is choosing a nursing home. Making a decision about where to live if staying at home isn't possible is one that is best made early. When deciding on a long-term care or assisted living facility, knowing the patient's bill of rights is vital. Once the transition is made to the facility, knowing how to avoid elder abuse or elder neglect is important, as is knowing how to file complaints if either of those incidents occur.
Social Security and Disability
As people age, it might become necessary to apply for government benefits. Social Security benefits, disability benefits, veterans' assistance, and similar programs might all have lengthy applications. An elder law attorney who specializes in these benefits can help older people to work through the process as effectively as possible.
Along the same lines as those benefits is retirement planning. Knowing how to handle retirement accounts, pensions, and similar retirement benefits is another area in which an elder law attorney can help the elderly population.
Age-based discrimination is a problem for some people. While this is one area that can be handled by an elder law attorney, it is also an area that might require the help of an employment attorney. With the complexities of federal laws and state laws, having an attorney who is well-versed in age-related discrimination can be helpful. When the issue isn't with an employer, an elder law attorney will likely prove to be the most helpful.
Any older person who has legal issues related to an area of practice within the elder law umbrella should make sure to find an attorney who is knowledgeable in that specific area. After all, a person who needs to get a divorce probably wouldn't call a premises liability lawyer, so a person with an elder law need should stick to an elder law attorney.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Elder Law Articles
- Elder Law
- What retirement benefits are available through the Social Security Administration?
- The Rights of Nursing Home Patients
- How to Help Your Parents Obtain Medical Care
- How Trusts Can Help You Protect your Adult Children in the Event of Your Death
- The Top Ten Legal Steps to Take Before You Die
- Why Everyone, Even Young People, Need an Estate Plan
- How to Care for an Aging Parent
- What Retirement Benefits Are Available Through the Social Security Administration?
- What are the requirements for a survivor to receive Social Security benefits?
- What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?
- What is the average monthly Social Security benefits for a retired worker?
- How long does a person need to work to become eligible for retirement benefits?
- When should I apply for retirement benefits?
- What is the earliest age that I can begin receiving retirement benefits?
- When will my retirement benefits begin?
- Will my benefit amount be the same for the rest of my life when I start receiving benefits?
- How are my retirement benefits calculated?
- If I receive a government pension, how will this affect my Social Security benefits?
- Will my retirement pension from my job reduce the amount of my Social Security benefit?
- Will I receive more benefits if I delay my retirement?
- What age can I begin receiving full retirement benefits?
- What month do retirement benefits begin?
- What is the definition of Full Retirement Age?
- Can a non-citizen receive Social Security benefits?
- What are the requirements for a husband or wife to receive benefits?
- Can I receive benefits on an ex-spouse`s Social Security record?
- If both my spouse and I are entitled to Social Security benefits, is there any reduction in our payments?
- What are the requirements for a divorced spouse to receive benefits?
- I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my Social Security benefits be?
- Will a husband and wife`s combined benefits be reduced because of marriage?
- Does Social Security recognize common law marriage for the purpose of paying survivors and spouse`s benefits?
- How does a divorced spouse qualify for Social Security benefits?
- Can my spouse collect benefits at age 62 from her work and earnings and then receive additional benefits as a spouse?