The “golden years” can be fun and relaxing, but as you age, you will face more complicated issues like long-term health insurance, retirement funding, and government programs and benefits. You will also need to do estate planning and have an updated will for your final wishes. Having an elder attorney can help make these issues easier to understand, and he or she can help guide you through the planning process to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Senior issues are packed with rules and regulations and can be rather complex. Each issue can affect another if they are not managed the right way. For example, you need to know the rules of Medicare and Medicaid, or your decision can ultimately harm your estate. Seniors can be confused when having to manage complex issues on a regular basis such as health care and insurance, retirement funding, and other government programs and benefits. These matters can be quite stressful if you aren’t familiar with all the intricacies.
Elder attorneys can also provide emotional support for their clients and families through the planning process. They can also refer you and your family to community resources if you need additional help.
You can choose to hire the attorney directly to handle all of your affairs for future planning. A senior’s family can also hire an attorney to seek guardianship if they feel the individual needs help to make choices. The family can also hire an attorney if they suspect their loved one has been abused either through neglect or financial fraud to name a few.
When it is time to draft your will or update your estate plans, this is when you will need to contact an attorney. You should consider finding an attorney experienced with other senior law matters such as health law, long-term care, retirement benefits, and other government programs. You can then use the same lawyer and make plans for all your future needs to alleviate stress on your family or caregivers.
Here are some other issues you may need guidance from an elder law attorney:
Medicare and Medicaid claims and appeals
Social Security and Disability Claims
Long-term and supplemental health insurance
Elder abuse and financial fraud
Retirement sums from either private or public funds
Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in all senior law areas. When you speak to the attorney, ask about his or her specialty because "elder law" is very broad.
You should begin your search by asking family, friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances for referrals. Your financial planner or tax advisor may also have local recommendations. Websites offer search functions to look by location and specialty. The State Bar of Virginia offers a lawyer directory of all their members. You can also search other affiliation websites such as National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, or Super Lawyers.
If you are on a strict income with limited resources, the State Bar of Virginia offers some pro bono legal services.
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