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Elder Law Attorneys
Elder law attorneys are specialists and advocates for the elderly and their loved ones. Most elder law attorneys handle a wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the client for the optimal level of financial freedom and independent living possible.
The advice offered by elder law attorneys is based on knowledge of facts concerning key issues facing seniors: housing, financial well-being, health and long-term care, and autonomy/quality of life. They understand and empathize with some of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process and apply a range of legal tools and techniques to address them.
Elder law attorneys may provide legal services including:
- Preservation/transfer of assets when a spouse enters a nursing home
- Medicaid/Medicare, Social Security and disability claims and appeals, Medicare supplemental and long-term health insurance issues
- Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts and living wills
- Financial management and health care decisions
- Conservatorships and guardianships
- Estate planning, probate, administration and management of trusts and estates
- Long-term care placements in nursing home and life care communities
- Nursing home issues including questions of patients’ rights and nursing home quality
- Age discrimination, elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
- Housing issues including reverse mortgages
- Retirement, including public or private retirement/pension benefits
- Health and mental health law
Some elder law attorneys specialize only in the estate planning or financial planning aspects of law and are listed as a subspecialty,
Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys
Estate planning attorneys, also referred to as estate law attorneys or probate attorneys, advise clients on preparing for the possibility of mental disability and eventual death. Probate is a legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will. They are experienced and licensed law professionals with a thorough understanding of state and federal laws that affect how a client’s estate will be inventoried, valued, dispersed, and taxed after their death. The goal of estate planning is determined by the estate owner and may be as simple or complex as the owner’s wishes and needs.
Estate planning attorneys’ services include planning for:
- Bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes;
- Designation of guardians for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity;
- Minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and taxes;
- Possible incapacity;
- Reduction or elimination of uncertainties over administration of a probate; and
- Maximizing the estate’s value by reducing taxes and other expenses.