In 1963, the National Council of Senior Citizens met with John F. Kennedy to advocate for elderly needs, which led to the designation of Senior Citizens Month. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has since embraced this proclamation and declared May as National Elder Law Month.
Elder Law Attorneys serve senior clients and assist and advise family members who care for their elderly parents or relatives. Unlike other lawyers who specialize in one field of law, Elder Law Attorneys often handle several aspects of Estate Planning including Guardianships or Conservatorship, Medicaid Benefits, Probate and Estate Planning, Health and Long-Term Care Planning, as well as Elder Abuse cases.
Working with an Elder Law Attorney allows you to prepare for the future and avert potential crises. Below are the seven benefits of hiring an attorney to take care of your senior needs.
7 Benefits of Hiring an Elder Law Attorney
1. Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney gives you greater control over your life by empowering someone to act on your behalf if you are unable or unavailable to handle matters or make decisions on your own. This applies to business affairs, as well as personal and medical matters.
If you don’t have a durable Power of Attorney and something happens to you, and you’re unable to make your own healthcare decisions, your family will have to get the court to grant authority to handle your financial and medical manners. This doesn’t bode well if you’re in an emergency, which is why it’s imperative to draw up a Power of Attorney before you need it.
2. Neutral Legal Advice
Reputable lawyers serve values of justice, fairness, efficiency and harmony as third-party neutrals. When it comes to Elder Law, many people rely on family and friends for advice, but this can be biased.
A bad experience and/or financial hardship can make family members act in ways they usually wouldn’t, as well as offer bad counsel. In a blended family, the stakes to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes are even higher. Your Elder Law Attorney is a neutral party who will provide impartial legal advice.
3. Personalized Assistance
Every client has unique circumstances that affect their Estate Planning, Medicaid eligibility and other legal affairs. An Elder Law Attorney can tailor your long-term planning to fit your retirement goals and care needs.
At Siegel Law Group, we emphasize the importance of recording your final wishes in a legal will and other Estate Planning documents while you are still in good health so that you have peace of mind that your final wishes will be honored.
Working with a qualified Elder Law Attorney also prevents simple and costly assumptions. Every state has very specific laws about what can be included in a will, trust, advance medical directive or financial power of attorney, which a qualified attorney will know.
4. Medicaid Planning
Laws surrounding Medicaid Planning are complex and constantly changing. To avoid penalties and exceptions, you will need to plan for Medicaid at least five years in advance.
Medicaid eligibility depends on financial need. When you apply, your income and assets must be below the limits set by the government. Therefore, you can’t just suddenly transfer all your assets to a relative to qualify.
An Elder Law Attorney can help you structure your financial resources and prepare documentation to ensure the best possibility of being accepted into the Medicaid program without financial loss. They will create trusts, manage asset transfers and convert countable assets into exempt assets to ensure eligibility and preserve a family’s resources.
5. Estate Planning
Every individual, regardless of their financial position or age, can benefit from Estate Planning. For instance, drawing up a will allows you to control how your assets are distributed after you pass away.
An Elder Law Attorney can also draft living trusts, develop a plan to mitigate or avoid estate taxes and protect your life savings and assets from taxes and creditors. If your circumstances change, so your Attorney can help you update your estate arrangement.
Marriages, divorces, births, death or changes in finances are all valid reasons to update your estate. An Elder Law Attorney will manage and streamline this process so it does not become overwhelming for you.
6. Veteran Benefits
In 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finalized new rules that can make it more difficult for veterans to qualify for long-term care benefits. If you’re a veteran, you may have different medical, psychological or social needs than your civilian peers.
To qualify for Veterans Benefits, veterans and their spouses have to provide financial eligibility, active duty, honorable discharge, clinical needs and more. There are many types of benefits, documentation requirements and asset and income limits. A knowledgeable Veterans Benefits Attorney will ensure you receive the highest level of benefits possible.
7. Advocacy in Care Settings
An Elder Law Attorney will advocate for you if you experience issues arising from long-term care, including questions around patients’ rights and nursing home quality. A qualified Attorney will ensure you are not taken advantage of financially and that you receive care of the highest quality.
Put Your Mind at Ease
Hiring an Elder Law Attorney to keep your legal Estate Planning paperwork in order, protect your assets and ensure a good quality of life in your golden years allows you to enjoy the present with Peace Of Mind. The best way to determine if a legal professional is a good fit is to arrange an initial consultation to gather more in-depth information that applies to your unique situation. At Siegel Law Group, our comprehensive Elder Law Services offer personalized options and solutions to protect your best interests. We’d be happy to assist you with your legal needs and provide a complimentary initial consultation. Contact us at (561) 955-8515 or book a consultation through our website for more information.