Not all years are “golden years” if a senior does not plan his or her affairs appropriately. Senior matters are rather complicated, and you probably can’t figure everything out on your own. You will need to make decisions regarding long-term health care, pension benefits, retirement funding, Medicare or Medicaid, and housing options. Also, your will needs to be updated to include any changes to your final wishes for your estate. Hiring an elder law attorney can save you a lot of time and headaches because he or she can guide you to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
Senior affairs are complicated with several rules and regulations. Not every attorney is equipped to handle these kinds of issues. If you make the wrong decision in one area, it can have an adverse effect on your other affairs. For example, if you do not follow the Medicare or Medicare stipulations correctly, you may compromise part of your estate. Having an expert in senior law is probably the best decision because there are so many complex matters such as Medicare or Medicaid, health law, housing issues, retirement funding, and long-term care.
Elder attorneys also give you and your family emotional support through the planning process because some of these decisions may be difficult. They can also guide you to additional community resources and senior programs for help outside of legal advice.
Of course, you can hire your attorney directly for all your affairs. Some families will contact an attorney to seek guardianship once their loved one is no longer capable of making wise decisions. The family will also need to contact an attorney on their loved one’s behalf if they suspect elder abuse such as neglect or financial fraud.
When you are ready to create or make adjustments to your will or estate plan, this is the optimal time to find an elder law attorney. You can search for a lawyer to manage additional affairs such as long-term health care, retirement plans and funds, pension benefits, and government programs. You can save your family or caregivers some stress down the road if you do all your planning now while you are healthy.
There may be additional times when you need assistance from an attorney including matters such as:
Medicare and Medicaid claims and appeals
Discrimination either housing and job-related
Long-term health insurance and placement
Social Security claims and appeals
Transfer of assets
Retirement funds, survivor benefits, and pension
Not every elder law attorney concentrates in all areas of senior matters, so be sure to ask your lawyer about his or her specialties.
As you would with any other service, asking around for a referral is a great starting point, including asking your financial planner or tax advisor. The Minnesota State Bar Association has a search function for member attorneys and you can search by practice areas. There are other law sites with search functions to help you find an elder law attorney including National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers.
The Minnesota State Bar Association offers Access To Justice for those who cannot afford legal fees.
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