When you think of retiring, you may think of relaxing. However, the senior years can be anything but relaxing when dealing with housing, retirement funds, government programs, and insurance companies. In addition to these matters, seniors also need to complete wills and estate planning. Having legal advice is extremely crucial and helpful in all of these issues. With the help of an elder law attorney, you can save time, make well-informed decisions, and meet your needs.
Senior issues are very complex in nature especially estate planning, Medicaid benefits, senior housing, and power of attorney or guardianship. One decision in one area can ultimately affect more matters such as a senior’s assets determine VA Aid & Attendance pension, which influence estate allocation and inheritance.
Making decisions related to senior issues can be very emotional, and elder law attorneys are familiar with the feelings of the client and the family. These law practices can also help guide families to community resources available to assist their needs.
If you want to handle your affairs and planning, you can hire an elder law attorney. Families may also want to hire an attorney for guardianship if they feel their loved one can no longer handle their affairs or to prevent any form of elder abuse such as neglect or financial exploitation.
If you are planning your estate or revising your will, you may want to consider contacting an attorney experienced with not only estate planning but also health care, asset allocation, and federal benefits. You can then use the same attorney to help relieve stress for you and your family in the future.
Other senior situations that may require the assistance of an expert elder attorney include:
Any kind of age discrimination
Managing retirement benefits
Medicaid claims and appeals
Insurance and long-term care coverage
You will need to find one that specializes in your needs because not all elder law attorneys are familiar with every aspect of complex senior matters.
A good place to start is to ask your friends and families for referrals. You can also ask your financial planner, tax advisor, or family lawyer for a local recommendation. There are national legal affiliation websites for you to search for attorneys specializing in elder law including National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers. The State Bar of Washington has an online directory that allows you to search by location and area of practice. It’s also important to ask each lawyer you contact about affiliations, experience, and areas of expertise because "elder law" can be such a broad specialization.
The Washington State Bar offers free or reduced help for low-income clients. You can call a legal referral hotline for more information on services available to you.
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