elderly with paper
TROY HUELS

TROY HUELS

Understanding Elder Law: Why You Might Need an Attorney

Everyone wants to live peacefully in their senior years. People envision the later stages of their lives spending time and cherishing moments with their families. Unfortunately, our aging minds and body can be the culprits of unexpected events that could ruin the party, so it’s best we come prepared for our twilight years.

We should prepare to protect our families and the people we love when we couldn’t be there for them anymore. That protection means still providing for them or leaving a piece of ourselves that could help them.

With elder laws being very tricky to understand, that level of protection can be hard to achieve without guidance. It’s good to know that we can call upon the expertise of elder law attorneys to help us through it. With their help, we can plan what happens once we pass away or become disabled. Only then can we truly relax and enjoy our later years without worrying about uncertainties.

Beyond Planning for Death

While elder laws do cover similar issues with estate laws, they function in very different ways. Elder law accounts for your worth in cash and properties. It also considers how to best provide for your loved ones while you’re still breathing. In contrast, an estate is what you want to leave on this earth for your family and those dear to you when you die.

The goal of hiring an elder law attorney is to have control over your life, even when you become mentally or physically unable to do so yourself. They help you take care of personal and business matters after the fact. But most importantly, they help you take care of yourself.

Protection for Family and Assets

Elder law attorneys can help you plan for and take care of your family and other loved ones when you no longer can. The same concept applies to any business matter. If you have more complicated situations that need attention before you go, they will always have a strategy or a plan for you to do so.

The most common way to resolve your concerns for your family and wealth is through an estate plan. An estate is a collection of legal documents that help you decide what you want to do with your assets once you pass away or become incapacitated. Elder law attorneys guide you through the process of estate planning, allowing you to distribute and transfer your wealth to people or entities you identify as worthy successors.

They can help you establish a revocable living trust, which allows you to identify someone who can take over the management of your assets and businesses.

paper and contracts

Ensure your medical protection

If you end up needing long-term care, you’ll want to qualify for Medicaid. Unfortunately, the policy has strict eligibility guidelines that might be hard to navigate yourself. Elder law lawyers are familiar with these guidelines, preventing you from making mistakes when providing information to Medicaid. With their grasp of the eligibility guidelines, they assure your qualification for Medicaid benefits.

Elder law attorneys will also help you establish your medical preferences and legally bind them through living wills. A living will is a legal document where you can assign a person medical or health care power of attorney. Those given this power will convey your preferences or decide on your behalf, especially medical matters you cannot decide for yourself. It ensures you receive the treatment you need, even when you cannot communicate what you want to do.

Worth the Weight

Of course, all the benefits of hiring an elder law attorney come with a price. Trying to delve into elder laws and estate laws by yourself could lead to irreparable damage. These damages could end up hurting you, or worse, your family.

Similarly, you might try and fill out Medicaid forms yourself without prior knowledge of the eligibility guidelines. Writing down one wrong word or two could hurt your qualifications for any benefit. The same idea applies when you write your own will or trusts, even power of attorney. Any of these documents, without proper guidance, can become legally invalid.

All these costly mistakes add up, and you might end up paying remarkably more for them than you would on an elder law attorney. Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, so it’s best to visit your local law firm for elder law and see how they charge for their services. Having this knowledge helps you find out if they charge by the hour or offer package deals that cover all your concerns for one price.

As the saying goes, do it nice, or do it twice. It is in your best interest to seek legal counsel and save your precious time and money.

 

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