Elder law is a field of law that deals with the legal issues that affect older adults. These issues are often multifaceted and governed by complex regulations and laws, and they vary by state. Elder law requires that elder law attorneys understand the personal impact of ageing and how this process ultimately leads to social, physical, and financial deterioration. Elder law therefore deals with the different life decisions which arise in old age and how estate plans will be executed after death. Complex elder law situations usually require an elder law attorney because lawyers reduce the chances of a family dispute.
Most elder law attorneys are not specialists in all areas of the law, so it is important for an individual to look for the right type of elder law attorney when they have legal needs. Some of the practice areas in elder law include:
- Estate planning and settlement
- Long-term care planning
- Elder abuse
- Disability and special needs planning
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?
Elder law attorneys represent the elderly and their families. These lawyers deal with issues related to retirement, Social Security, disabled individuals, Medicare, health care, and long-term care planning, among others. They focus their expertise on the needs of older adults, which are usually different and specialized than those of the general population. They take care of complex estate and financial planning matters as well as simpler issues such as assisted living and life planning arrangements. Additionally, elder law attorneys are usually equipped to handle the physical and emotional needs of their clients, meaning they must be emotionally competent to handle challenging situations. The fees they charge are worth it if they can help your family to avoid future legal problems.
Elder law attorneys’ roles include:
- Ensuring all the legal documents such as a Power of Attorney or living will is correct for your state.
- Creating a durable power of attorney.
- Drafting a living will and other advance directives.
- Selecting and appointing a legal guardian.
- Obtaining financial representation that involves income, estate, and gift tax issues, housing opportunities and planning, and durable financial power of attorney.
- Obtaining effective health care planning for patient rights, long term care options, health care power of attorney, and Medicare.
- Discussing the important of wills and estate planning. This also involves making plans for minors or adults with special needs and for probate proceedings.
- Locating efficient long-term care facilities.
- Helping clients find suitable assisted living facilities and managing their assisted living costs.
- Explaining nursing home resident rights and helping clients file nursing home claims.
How to Find an Experienced Elder Law Attorney
Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in all areas of elder law. Therefore, a person looking for a local elder law attorney must ensure they hire one who has the requisite experience in their area of concern. Additionally, before selecting a lawyer, you should feel comfortable that they will represent you or your loved one in an understanding manner. To find an effective and qualified elder law attorney, inquire:
- How they compute their fees.
- How long they have been in practice.
- The amount of time they devote to elder law.
- If they have a particular emphasis on a certain practice area.
- The information you need to prepare for the first meeting.
There are various ways to find a qualified elder law attorney. You can get one through referrals from friends and family or online research. Another option is to find a local elder law attorney using FindlLaw’s attorney directory.
Colorado Elder Law
Throughout Colorado, the number of elderly people is increasing and consequently, many baby boomers are looking for help dealing with rising nursing home costs. There are numerous qualified and specialized elder law attorneys in Colorado who operate in cities such as Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and many more. Elder law attorneys in Colorado help clients with estate planning, power of attorney documents, personal injury, guardianship, and conservatorship. Individuals who need assistance with legal matters should realize that they have more options other than dealing with matters on their own. They should have a lawyer assess the situation to get a clear picture on the way forward.