Elder law is a rapidly growing area of law which focuses on helping clients with their legal, financial, and medical needs as they age. It is a holistic practice which develops multidisciplinary solutions to problems with the objective of enhancing the client’s quality of life.
As we age, health problems begin to impact every facet of our life. Most seniors not only face the challenge of trying to live independently, but they also face the problem of trying to deal with current and future health care issues and finding a way to pay for their medical care.
Documents like Wills, Trusts, financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney are important tools in Elder Law because they provide a way for people to choose who will make financial decisions and medical decisions for us if we can’t make them for ourselves and determine who will receive our assets at death. These documents are traditionally thought of as Estate Planning, but Elder Law is so much more...
Documents provide little help in answering the questions that address the quality of our life, such as:
Will I run out of money?
Will Medicaid pay for home care and nursing home care?
Will Medicaid take my house?
What will Veterans Benefits pay for?
Which one of my children will take care of me?
What will happen to my spouse who has Alzheimer’s disease if I become incapacitated?
Answering these questions and developing a plan to address all of the issues we face as we age is what Elder Law is about. Elder Law is the interweaving of health and housing issues, caregiver concerns, finding a way to pay for long-term care, dealing with unresolved family issues, mediating among siblings about who will care for their parents, end of life decisions, and others. These are just a few of the subjects that are addressed in a comprehensive, caring way. Enhancing the parent or family member’s quality of life is paramount.
The scope of services provided by an elder law attorney varies with each client and is determined by the client’s overall circumstances. Due to the various and diverse issues involved, an elder law attorney must have knowledge and skill in the areas of Medicaid, Medicare, public benefits, real estate, family law, contract law, financial planning, and tax law. In addition to dealing with legal problems, Elder Law also involves resolving emotional issues of the client, the client’s family members, and the relationship between the family members. Our firm is sensitive to these emotional issues and stands ready to help you.
Some questions to ask yourself when looking for an Elder Law attorney:
Is the lawyer a member of NAELA (National Association of Elder Law Attorney)?
In addition to knowing about Wills, Trusts, and financial powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney, are they experienced in the areas of public benefits?
Do they know about the eligibility requirements and laws for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Insurance (SSI)?
Do they know about long-term care issues, such as how Medicaid can pay for long term care?
Are they familiar with Veterans Benefits? Do they know what “aid and attendance” benefits are and how they can be used to pay for veteran’s medical, home care, assisted living, and nursing home expenses? Do they know the eligibility rules for these programs?
Do they know what a special needs trust is and how these special trusts can preserve a person’s eligibility for long-term care benefits or disability benefits?
Do they know how to use a Guardianship or Conservatorship to protect someone who is not able to care for themselves?
Is the lawyer compassionate and willing to advocate for the client who needs help or protection?
Is the lawyer more concerned about the documents than finding solutions to non-legal as well as legal issues that are presented?
Does the lawyer believe that the quality of life for an older adult is just as important as the quality life for anyone else?
As a Law firm with extensive Elder Law expertise, Dennis Christensen, P.A. can assist clients with the following issues:
Long-term care and nursing home care
Medicaid and assist protection planning
Public benefits, including Medicaid and Social Security
End-of-life decisions, including Health Care Powers Of Attorney and Living Wills
Financial decision-making through a Durable Power Of Attorney
Trusts, including Special Needs Trusts
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Veterans Benefits, which include “aid and attendance” and homebound care
As an experienced elder law firm whose founder has over 16 years experience and is a member of the National Association of Elder law Attorneys (NAELA), Dennis Christensen, P.A. is dedicated to helping you plan for your elder years – from preparing your will or trust to identifying and helping you utilize any and all assistance programs to which you are entitled, so that we can address together your current and future health and financial needs.
For more information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Elder Law, click here.
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