Elder law covers a group of legal specialties focused on the legal needs of older Americans. Needs, of course, vary; therefore, elder law decisions often involve participation by the client’s children, parents, financial advisors, government agencies, healthcare personnel, as well as an elder law attorney. The legal umbrella under which elder law falls, also varies to include Medicare and Medicaid; Social Security; Veteran’s benefits; long-term care insurance; guardianships; disability; competency; estate planning; trusts; wills; estate- and gift taxes; income and capital gains taxation; and advanced directives, such as healthcare proxies and powers of attorney.
What Is An Elder Law Attorney?
Elder law attorneys deal with legal issues involving healthcare planning and personal care of older individuals. Living wills, powers of attorney, lifetime planning and family issues compose a major focus of practicing elder law. But an elder law attorney is not limited to application of the law; elder law attorneys should have comprehensive knowledge of the senior population, the myths related to aging and competency, as well as the real physical and mental challenges accompanied with the aging process.
Why Do Elder Law Attorneys Need to Know About All This?
When planning an estate, an elder law attorney needs to take into consideration the person he is helping. He must consider the individual’s health, or of it’s a couple, their overall physical and mental health particularly with regard to the possibility of a nursing home. An elder law attorney needs to understand the needs and personal wishes of the clients should the possibility of a nursing home admission exist. In that regard, the application of law dovetails with ethical decision-making: elder law covers all aspects of planning, education, counseling and advocacy for the client. The client’s needs often go beyond basic legal services; a full understanding of all the issues surrounding seniors today is paramount, which includes being informed and staying connected to the network of professionals who serve the elder population.