As we grow older, many questions arise that we never had to think about before. Issues such as where to live if we can no longer maintain our own homes, how to write a will, and even if and when to make advance funeral arrangements can be tricky issues to sort out by ourselves.
Luckily, there are resources available to help us plan our twilight years. Elder law is a specific field of law that is designed to help senior citizens and their families navigate the myriad of legal issues that come with growing older. Elder care lawyers can help you answer any questions that may arise, and can even point out issues that may not have even been considered yet.
What Issues Can Elder Care Lawyers Help With?
It can come as a shock to realize how many issues and legal problems can arise toward the end of life. Attorneys in this particular specialty are trained to recognize these situations and guide their clients through tricky legal situations, including:
– Preparing wills, including living wills
– Deciding how to pay for long-term care
– Making end-of-life decisions, including do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders
– Navigating Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
Qualified elder care lawyers can help with all of the issues above, in addition to pointing out others that may arise along the way. For example, in some cases Medicaid may cover the cost of custodial medical care if the client cannot pay for it out of pocket. A knowledgeable attorney can help determine eligibility for such payment in addition to navigating the application process.
Subspecialties Of Elder Law
Some elder care lawyers have further specialized their skills in specific subcategories. These specialties include:
– Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security
– Retirement and pension management
– Age discrimination
– Estate planning and asset distribution
If a particular case is more complicated than the usual – for example, if the client’s assets include international property – then it may be a good idea to seek out an attorney who specializes in that particular niche. The laws in such cases can be very complicated and it is not wise to try to negotiate them without a law degree.
This becomes especially necessary in cases involving Medicare and Medicaid. Both of these assistance programs are filled with red tape and are notoriously difficult to navigate. In situations that require, for example, challenging a denied claim, a lawyer who specializes in Medicaid could be essential.
How To Choose An Attorney
When looking for a lawyer to work on a case involving an aging person, there are several questions that should be asked in order to determine whether that attorney will be the right one for the case. Before hiring a lawyer, the client should know the answers to the following questions:
– How long has the attorney been practicing?
– What is the fee structure, and when will payment become due?
– Has the attorney handled similar cases in the past?
– Does the attorney do trial work, if it should become necessary? If not, who will handle it?
– Is the attorney a member of any professional organizations geared toward elder law?
These are basic points that should be covered in the initial consultation. It is wise to write down any other questions that may arise and bring them to the consultation. Good lawyers will be able to answer all of these questions and set their clients’ minds at ease.
Growing old can seem frightening at times, but there is no need to navigate the legal system alone. In the growing field of elder law, there are many elder care lawyers who are fully equipped to assist with even the most difficult cases.