Elder law is a term coined to describe the unique legal issues experienced by older adults. It covers a broad range of topics, including financial and healthcare concerns, and decision-making powers. Many of the issues handled by elder law attorneys are universal and affect virtually all seniors.
Estate Planning and Administration
Much of elder law is concerned with estate planning and administration. In fact, as the average life expectancy in the United States crept upwards in the twentieth century, the legal area of elder law grew out of the practice area of trusts and estates. People who specialize in elder law can help you with the documentation required for wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and property transfer. Professionals in elder law can also answer questions you may have about taxes on your property, income, or other wealth.
Elder law also covers issues related to healthcare. Lawyers working in this area help clients set up the documentation granting decision-making power to the individual(s) they choose in matters of health and finances. Living wills, documents specifying healthcare proxies, powers of attorney, and medical orders such as Do Not Resuscitate or Do Not Hospitalize all can be drawn up by an elder law attorney.
Age and Disability Discrimination
Another area elder law deals with is obtaining and understanding insurance, housing, and benefits of employment. Firms that take on elder law cases can provide help with issues stemming from age or disability-based discrimination. If you’re not sure if you’ve been discriminated against based on age or disability, a lawyer who works in the area of elder law can help you through counseling, litigation, or both.
Elder law is an important piece of the legal system because the professionals working in this area are typically prepared for the unique challenges of old age. Furthermore, they have experience with families and are prepared for the complications that sometimes arise when there are multiple children who tend to disagree. Elder law specialists are familiar with the issues facing older Americans, and they can provide counseling to clients, which can be quite valuable when there are other family members involved.
If you need an attorney to help you with any of these topics, look for someone who works in elder law. They can help smooth out the sometimes difficult transitions that occur later in life.
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