Do estate planning attorneys and elder law attorneys practice the same type of law? Estate planning typically involves end of life planning for the disposition of assets. Thus, many people are under the assumption that elder law, because it addresses people in the later years of their life, and estate planning are one in the same. While this belief is not wholly incorrect, there are crossovers between the two practice areas, elder law attorneys deal with issues very specific to senior citizen’s lives, as opposed to their death. Let us discuss why you need an elder law attorney in addition to an estate planning attorney.
- Government regulations are complicated and can have severe penalties. As you reach the golden years, healthcare expenses increase, including the cost of in-home caregivers and nursing homes. It can often be necessary to obtain government benefits, including Medicaid and veterans benefits to cover these expenses. Government regulations concerning the application and qualification for these benefits can be highly complex, as can the penalties for not adhering to the complex regulations. Accordingly, when applying for these benefits, it can be important to work with an elder law attorney who specializes in the navigation of these regulations and can help assure you receive the assistance you are entitled to.
- Guardianship. For some senior citizens, as they age they may experience dementia and other forms of mental incapacity, leaving them no longer able to manage their personal and financial affairs. It may be necessary for family members to become their legal guardians, taking over their affairs. Guardianships can be legally difficult, as specific legal thresholds must be met for the guardianship and the older person. In addition, other family members may not agree to the guardianship or who should serve as the guardian. As elder law attorneys understand the ins and outs of a guardianship, they can be best equipped to guide you through this process.
- Elder abuse. Unfortunately, in the later years of life, senior citizens can be subject to several types of abuse. Physical abuse in a nursing home or by a caregiver sometimes occurs. There may also be financial abuse where senior citizens are pressured into risky financial endeavors or unknowingly persuaded to turn over assets. If this has happened to you or someone you love, an elder law attorney may be able to assist in holding the abusers accountable and to undo any inappropriate financial transactions.
- Other issues unique to aging. Other legal issues, specific to older people may include grandparent visitation or age discrimination.
If you believe you have legal issues, which fall into the category of elder law, working with an attorney who specializes in elder law, can be a prudent choice. For assistance in elder law matters, our office is available to assist. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.