Not all senior matters are relaxing when you think of the “golden years.” As a senior, you will face complex issues such as long-term care insurance, retirement benefits, senior housing complexes, and government programs and benefits. You will also need to handle your estate planning and have your will updated to meet your final wishes. An elder attorney can help guide you through these procedures and help save you time and stress.
Senior issues have a multitude of rules and regulations and can be rather complicated. Each issue can affect another if not handled appropriately. For example, you need to follow all the rules and regulations, or Medicare and Medicaid can impact your estate. Dealing with complicated matters such as long-term health care, retirement benefits, and government programs on a regular basis can be quite confusing and rather stressful.
Elder attorneys also assist with the emotional impact of senior planning for clients and their families. They can also guide you and your family to available community resources if you need further assistance.
You can contact and hire the attorney directly to discuss and manage your affairs. A senior’s family can also hire an attorney to pursue guardianship if the family feels the individual can no longer make good decisions. The family can also hire an attorney on a senior’s behalf if they feel the senior has faced some elder abuse such as neglect or financial fraud.
If you need to draft a will or just need to update your estate plan, this is one of the best times to communicate with a lawyer. You should search for an experienced lawyer that can assist with multiple senior issues including long-term health care, retirement benefits, government programs, and other estate planning tools. This attorney can then help you plan for all of these issues at once to prevent further stress down the road for your family or caregivers.
There are other senior matters that may require an attorney including:
Social Security and Disability Claims
Medicare and Medicaid benefits and appeals
Elder abuse and financial fraud
Long-term and supplemental health insurance
Transfer of assets
Retirement funding from both private and public entities
Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in all these areas of senior law. When you speak to an elder law attorney, find out what is his or her specialty because the practice of elder law can include a broad range of matters.
As with any other service, you should start asking family, friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances for referrals. Your financial planner or tax advisor may also have some local recommendations. You can also search for a lawyer by locations and specialty on these websites: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers. The State Bar of California also has an attorney search function on their website allowing you to search by specialty.
For low-income seniors or those needing assistance, the State Bar of California provides legal aid services from non-profits lawyers for free or reduced rates.
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