The “golden years” can be fun and relaxing. However, as a senior, you will need to deal with some different and complicated issues such as long-term health insurance, retirement plans and funds, government benefits, and housing choices. You will need to make sure your estate planning is complete with an updated will matching your final wishes. Navigating through these types of plans can be confusing, and this is where an elder law attorney can assist you. He or she can help save you time while helping you make the best choices for you.
Senior issues have a lot of rules and regulations that can be hard to follow if you are not familiar with them. One issue can ultimately impact another if not handled appropriately. For example, Medicare and Medicaid decisions can adversely affect your estate if rules and regulations are not followed properly. There are so many issues that seniors face that can be confusing and complicated like insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, health law, and estate planning. It is probably best to hire an expert in these areas.
Elder attorneys can also give you emotional support through your planning processes because some of these decisions may be difficult. They can also help you find community resources if you need additional assistance beyond legal advice.
You can hire your lawyer directly to handle all of your legal matters. However, there are times that a senior’s family will need to contact an attorney such as obtaining guardianship when they feel their loved one is incapable of making appropriate decisions. Also, the family will need to hire an attorney on their loved one’s behalf if they believe there is elder abuse such as financial fraud or neglect.
When it is time to complete or update your will, this is an excellent starting point to find an attorney. You may want to consider a lawyer with additional experience in other issues such as long-term care, health law, retirement funding, and senior government programs. You can then manage all of your affairs at once to save your family or caregiver from stressful situations in the future.
Other issues that may require a consultation with an attorney include:
Medicare and Medicaid claims and appeals
Disability planning and claims
Long-term and supplemental health insurance
Retirement benefits including survivor benefits
Most elder law attorneys typically do not concentrate in all areas of senior matters. Be sure you ask a lawyer about his or her experience and specialties because having an elder law concentration can be extensive.
Ask your family, friends, and neighbors for a recommendation. Your financial planner, family lawyer, or tax advisor may also have some local referrals. The Oklahoma Bar Association website has a search function to find a lawyer by area of concentration. You can also search other law-affiliated websites such as National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers.
The Oklahoma Bar Association offers low cost or no cost legal assistance to those who meet certain income requirements.
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