Changing demographics in the United States is driving the demand for elder attorneys, as millions of dollars in estate and exemptions need to be figured out each year.
This is why so many people are starting to wonder whether they need an elder law attorney. The short answer is: yes! Searching for a certified elder law attorney is key to making sure you or your family members are set up right for the years to come.
In this article, we’ll be outlining what elder law attorneys do, why they’re important, and the value they bring to all elders in the U.S. Read on to find out more!
What Is Elder Law?
Let’s first go over what elder law is and how attorneys fit into the process.
Elder law encompasses a wide range of laws all-around serving the needs of seniors. These needs might involve specific programs like Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.
On the other hand, it might involve more personal matters, like estate planning or guardianships. Other times insurance policies are incorporated into elder law.
These laws require a lot of nuance into the physical, mental, and financial aspects of growing older. Elder law is also a holistic category of laws that require a big-picture framework to properly serve each client.
There’s a misconception that elder law only has to do with seniors who are struggling with insurance, have disabilities, or are otherwise facing an adverse situation. This isn’t the case, as most if not all seniors have to sit down and work with elder law attorneys at one point in their lives.
So who are these attorneys and what do they do?
Why Hire Elder Law Attorneys?
As you can imagine, elder law attorneys work with clients to help them navigate laws and regulations regarding topics like retirement, benefits, estate, and others.
They’ll help you plan for the future of both you and your family, while also addressing present-day risks and paperwork. Let’s break down some common issues and topics covered by elder law attorneys here:
Estate and Finances
Most people assume elder law attorneys work with their clients on things like estate. In other words, they exclusively deal with issues after death.
But not everything about elder law has to do with sorting things out after death. There are plenty of present-day issues that elders have to work through to make sure they and their families are set up for the future.
Finances and property are important things to consider while you’re still alive on behalf of your family. While estates are crucial to determining who gets what after your death, you can set up living trusts to take care of your property even after your passing.
Elder law attorneys are crucial in these instances.
Another key issue that seniors commonly deal with is Medicaid. While this program is extremely useful for many, navigating all the bureaucracy can be tricky.
Guidelines for eligibility certainly complicates things. If you don’t know whether you qualify for Medicaid or face certain roadblocks, then elder law attorneys are there for you.
Since Medicaid benefits tend to be income- or asset-based, attorneys will ensure you’re getting the right coverage without having to lose any money.
Complicated family histories aren’t at all uncommon, and elder law attorneys are equipped to deal with specific situations that might become tricky when other family members become involved.
Things like being in a second marriage, owning one or more businesses, losses in the family, substantial 401(k) savings, and other topics can complicate your situation.
If even one of those situations applies to you, an elder law attorney can help you figure it all out. By having a second set of eyes, you can find the optimal solution for both you and your family.
Navigating State Laws
Every state has different laws regarding the rights of elders, but they are all specific and can be tough to figure out on your own. Whether it’s about your will, estate, medical insurance, or other directives, attorneys will be on your side to get things figure out.
They’ll help you navigate the formalities of signing wills and other important documents. Without a lawyer on your side, you might incur some serious penalties just because of a few slight errors.
Elder Law Attorney Costs
A key concern for many is how much they’ll have to pay a lawyer for their services. While there’s no single benchmark number for elder law attorneys, you should consider how much you can save overall.
Instead of incurring fees for late submissions of documents or missing information on Medicaid reports, you can hire an elder law attorney to make sure you’re always on top of the action.
In other words, you might end up paying a lot of money trying to fix minor mistakes. Hiring a certified elder law attorney, while costing you a bit from the outset, helps you recoup those otherwise lost costs.
When hiring an elder law attorney, they’ll most likely charge by the hour. This means you should always be prepared with what you want to discuss while also looking for any packages that a law firm offers.
Leverage Elder Law Attorneys Today
The last thing you should be worried about in your later years is how you or your family will be affected by your passing, or for missing Medicaid documents. Use this guide to find the right elder law attorney to make sure you’re set up right for the future.
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