Seniors face multifaceted issues that can be rather stressful even though they are in their “golden years.” These complicated affairs include insurance, housing, retirement benefits, and several government programs. Another big decision you will handle as a senior is estate planning and keeping your will updated to cover your final wishes. To help alleviate stress and to make the right decisions, you may want to consider hiring an elder attorney to guide you through these matters. Having an attorney can save you lots of time.
Senior issues present a multitude of rules and regulations. Each issue can also ultimately influence more issues. For example, you need to follow all the rules and regulations, or Medicare and Medicaid can harm your estate. Dealing with complicated matters such as long-term health care, retirement benefits, and other government programs on a regular basis can be quite confusing.
Elder attorneys can offer a holistic approach for clients and families to help handle the emotional side of this type of planning. They can also guide you and your family to community resources if you need additional assistance outside of legal advice.
Either you can hire the attorney directly for your legal matters if you are still in good health, or a family can hire for a loved one if the family wants guardianship because they feel their loved one can no longer make sound decisions. Also, a family may want to hire an attorney if they feel their loved one is a victim of elder abuse such as neglect or financially.
One of the best times to contact an attorney is when you need to create or update your will or estate planning. You should look for an experienced elder law attorney that can handle other senior issues you want to manage including long-term health care, retirement benefits, and government programs. The attorney can help you manage all your affairs at once to help alleviate future stress for your family.
There are other times you may need to contact an attorney, including these matters:
Social Security and Disability Claims
Medicare and Medicaid
Elder abuse and fraud
Long-term and supplemental health insurance
Transfer of assets to your spouse
Retirement funding from both private and public entities
Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in all these areas. When you speak to an elder law attorney, find out what is his or her specialty because "elder law" is a pretty broad term.
For starters, you can ask for referrals from family, friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances. Your financial planner or tax advisor is another great source for recommendations. You can also search for a lawyer on websites by location and specialty. These sites include National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers. The State Bar of California also has an attorney search option on their website.
For low-income seniors, the State Bar of California offers legal aid services from nonprofits for free or reduced rates.
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