What Is Elder Law?
Elder law is an area of law that encompasses any legal issue facing the elderly. It is often associated with estate planning but can involve much broader social, economic and health related difficulties facing aging Americans. Some of the concerns that become more important to us as we grow older and may require more careful planning include:
- estate planning
- planning for a long term medical care requirement including Medicaid planning
- planning for incapacitation with the use of durable powers of attorney and health care proxies
- issues requiring guardianships and conservatorships
- elder abuse and other issues involving nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities
- SSI, SSDI and other government benefit programs
- special needs trusts
As the elderly population grows each year, so will the issues facing these individuals requiring a comprehensive estate plan that addresses long term care needs. Often times, planning must take into account strategies involving financial planning, estate planning, and other asset protection techniques. Other times ancillary issues involving home health care, skilled nursing facilities, long term care insurance and disability benefits must be addressed. Elder law attorneys, geriatric or nurse case managers, financial planners and professional well versed in benefits planning are often involved to ensure all needs are met. Advanced planning can help to minimize the problems and stress associated with these issues.