What is an Elder Law Attorney and How Can They Help You?

elder lawDefining the term “elder law” is an almost impossible task. The easiest way to think of what an elder law attorney does is to define the population of people they serve – the elderly and the disabled.

But in terms of the actual work that an elder law attorney does, it runs the gamut from Medicaid and veterans pension planning to nursing home negligence and elder abuse. Many people don’t realize that Elder law is also a subset of estate planning.

How Can an Elder Law Attorney Help You?

Here are just a few of the things that an elder law attorney can assist you or you loved ones with:

  • Help you to develop an overall estate plan, or update your current estate plan. As part of this process, an elder law attorney can assist a loved one who has special needs or is in need of a guardian.
  • A Durable Power of Attorney is an extremely important document for an elderly individual. An Elder Lawyer can help you draft this document so that it gives your loved one absolute peace of mind that they are protected in the event of their incapacity.
  • Help you to understand your long-term care options, should they become necessary. This might include Medicare and Medicaid planning, and assisting your loved one with the proper drafting of a health care power of attorney.
  • If you have a loved one that failed to prepare any estate planning documents, or those documents are outdated, then a guardian may become necessary at some point. An elder law attorney can help your family to select a proper guardian and have that individual appointed by the court.
  • Help you to locate an appropriate long-term care facility and manage the cost of that care through effective Medicaid planning.
  • Assist in the drafting of a living will (aka advanced directives) to assist with end of life decisions.

Managing Expectations and Change

One of the biggest struggles that face our aging population is the change that comes about as someone grows older. These changes can be personal in nature, such as not being able to physically do things that you or your loved one previously could. Or these changes could be mental in nature, such as forgetting small things over time or a decrease in mental faculties.

These changes might also be external – such as the fast pace of technological innovations and the popularity of “smart phone” technology and artificial intelligence.

Whatever the changes might be, to someone experiencing a change in their life as a result of getting older – those changes can be scary and overwhelming.

Change Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

As an elder law attorney, my goal is to shed some light on those changes and help the elderly to clarify their specific concerns and help them to develop a plan for how to deal with certain problem areas in the future.

Planning ahead has many benefits, not the least of which is that planning can help you to de-escalate and manage certain issues and concerns before they turn into a crisis.

But, if you or your loved one has already reached the “crisis” stage, an elder law attorney can help you to unravel those issues and get things back on track.

Not only can we, as elder law attorneys, assist you in preparing a plan to address all of your concerns, but we can also help you understand what benefits are available to you and connect you with other professionals that serve the elder community.

How Does an Elder Law Attorney Get Paid?

Many elder law attorneys will either bill hourly or may charge a predetermined flat fee. Here at The Hart Law Firm, we always charge a flat fee, agreed to in advance, so that there are never any surprises about your legal bill.

What are the next steps?

As you or your loved one grow older, the need to plan ahead becomes extremely important. An elder law attorney is one of the most important professionals that can help you and your family to steer a proper course.

To schedule an initial planning session with elder law attorney James Hart, you may call our office at (919) 460-5422 or click on this link to contact us directly.