Unfortunately, the senior years can get complicated when you think about matters such as long-term health insurance, government programs, retirement benefits, health law, and housing options. You also need to keep your estate plan updated through your will. These issues are so complex that it’s enough to give anyone a headache. Hiring an elder law attorney may be the best option to make your choices easier and save you time.
Senior matters can be complicated, and not all attorneys may know all the rules. If you make an incorrect decision with one issue, you can ultimately harm another one of your plans by accident. For example, not following the Medicare or Medicaid regulations correctly whether on purpose or accident can damage your estate. There are so many affairs as a senior you will need to tackle such as Medicare or Medicaid, health law, housing issues, retirement funding, and long-term care, that it’s best to have an attorney that specializes in senior law.
Elder attorneys can also assist with the difficult decisions you may face since they are in tune with the emotional side. They can also help you find additional community resources if you need more help than legal advice.
You can hire your attorney directly to create all your plans and for legal advice. Some families need to contact the attorney on the senior’s behalf for things such as obtaining guardianship of their loved one when they feel their loved can no longer make wise choices. Also, if the family feels their loved one has suffered elder abuse such as neglect, the family will need to contact the attorney.
Creating or updating your estate plans is the perfect time to contact an elder law attorney. You can search for a lawyer who can assist you with other areas of planning such as long-term health, retirement funding, pension benefits, and senior government programs. If you do all your planning at once, you can save your family or caregivers some stress down the road.
Other times you may need to hire an attorney for advice include:
Discrimination either housing and job-related
Medicare and Medicaid claims and appeals
Long-term health insurance
Social Security claims
Transfer of assets
Retirement funds including survivor benefits
Most elder law attorneys typically do not specialize in all areas of senior matters, so be sure to ask the attorney about his or her concentration.
As you would with any other service, start asking around for a referral from friends, family, or anyone else who may have experience with an attorney. Another great resource is your financial planner or tax advisor. The Colorado State Bar Association allows you to search area members by concentration. You can search on other law websites such as National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers.
The Colorado State Bar Association also has pro bono legal services and Self Help Centers for those who would have trouble paying legal fees.
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