There are numerous factors to consider as our loved ones age, and ensuring that all legal matters are in order is essential. When it comes to estate planning and making important decisions regarding healthcare, having the necessary legal documents is crucial. These documents provide the legal rights needed to make the best choices for our senior loved ones, both now and at the end of life.
Elder law attorneys specialize in serving older adults and provide legal guidance and services related to disability planning, probate and estate planning, asset preservation and transfer, and Medicaid. Let’s explore some of the ways in which an elder law attorney can assist seniors and family caregivers:
Planning and Safeguarding Assets for the Future
You or your loved one may be concerned about protecting financial assets while ensuring access to necessary care. An elder law attorney can help you develop a plan that adheres to complex tax and Medicaid regulations. Estate planning is not solely reserved for the wealthy, as providing care is costly and intricate. For families with limited resources, mistakes and lack of planning can result in a loss of control over a loved one’s care.
Ensuring Compliance with Legal Documents
Each state has specific laws regarding legal documentation, particularly with regards to Power of Attorney, advance directives, and wills. To guarantee compliance with state and local laws, consulting with an elder law attorney is essential.
So, when should you consider hiring an elder law attorney, and how do you choose the right one for your needs?
When to Enlist the Services of an Elder Law Attorney
It is recommended that individuals above the age of 65 seek the assistance of an elder law attorney, even if they are in good health. This proactive approach ensures their involvement in developing a holistic strategy beyond estate planning. Waiting until a crisis occurs can be stressful and limit available options.
As an individual ages, their legal needs may change in line with their healthcare requirements. In the event of incapacitation, a Power of Attorney becomes crucial. If your loved one requires care at home, moves into an assisted living facility, or enters a nursing home, pre-planning with an elder law attorney ensures flexibility in complying with Medicaid and tax regulations while safeguarding their financial well-being.
Choosing the Right Elder Law Attorney
Referrals are an excellent way to find a reputable elder law attorney. Consider seeking recommendations from your clergy, financial advisor, accountant, or existing attorney. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a professional organization that specializes in elder law and can provide valuable starting points for your search.
Local agencies that work with seniors can also offer assistance with referrals. For example, town social workers and support groups for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can provide useful information. Oasis Senior Advisors, a trusted resource, can also offer referrals to qualified local elder law attorneys who have been vetted by their clients.
Key Questions to Ask When Hiring an Elder Law Attorney
Here are some essential questions to ask before making a decision:
- How many years of experience do they have?
- Is there a consultation fee, and how are ongoing fees structured?
- Have they handled cases similar to your loved one’s?
- What do they see as the greatest threat to your loved one’s financial security?
- What are the advantages of working with them instead of handling matters yourself?
Take the time to thoroughly evaluate potential attorneys. Not every attorney will be the right fit for you and your loved one’s specific needs. Elder law is a specialized field, so finding an attorney with expertise in this area is crucial. Building a relationship with an elder law attorney is based on mutual trust, so it is important to make a careful and informed decision.
If you’re unsure about finding the right elder law attorney, reach out to the professionals at Garrity Traina. They can provide guidance and ensure that your loved one receives the necessary assistance. Contact them online or give them a call at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 to learn more.