The field of elder law focuses primarily on the needs of older people and the issues they encounter. It should be noted, however, that those who are disabled encounter similar issues as the elderly, so elder law attorneys oftentimes practice in disability issues as well.
Elder law generally addresses three areas of concern:
- Long-term care issues, which includes planning for the costs involved with either assisted living or skilled nursing care.
- The legal ramifications of health issues on the management of personal affairs – for example, whether guardianship might be necessary or consideration of other less intrusive means.
- Estate planning and, oftentimes, probate.
Attorneys who specialize in elder law typically address a variety of legal issues, including, but not limited to:
- Health care and long-term care planning considerations in the context of estate planning;
- Eligibility for government benefits (including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security);
- Surrogate decision-making on the senior’s behalf (including both medical and durable powers of attorney, conservatorship and guardianship);
- Probate avoidance or, in the alternative, administration of a decedent’s estate;
- Taxes (including real estate, gift and estate taxes); and,
- Retirement benefits (including Social Security, disability and veterans’ benefits).
This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.