Do You Need To Know What An Elder Law Attorney Is?
You may be at the point in your life where you have to ask yourself a few questions or you are just preparing for the future and need some answers to your questions such as:
- What is an elder law attorney?
- What do elder law attorneys do?
- Do I need an elder law attorney?
In this blog, we will be answering all of your questions about Elder Law and what we actually do for our clients.
If you are looking to see why you should hire an Elder Law Attorney over a Medicaid Specialist we have written a blog that breaks down exactly why.
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?
While many areas of law focus on a particular discipline, elder law focuses on the specific needs and challenges that senior citizens may face. Whether you are planning your estate, making long-term care decisions, or need help protecting a loved one’s rights in a nursing home, an elder care attorney can help.
Here’s more about what elder care lawyers do and how an elder law firm can help you.
What Is an Elder Care Attorney?
What do elder lawyers do and what sets them apart from other attorneys? Elder care lawyers focus on the financial and legal issues that affect seniors. An elder law attorney may offer counseling and legal advice to help you choose a retirement plan, pay for long-term care, settle your estate, or qualify for Medicare while protecting your assets.
Elder law encompasses a range of fields such as:
- Age discrimination and housing discrimination
- Social Security and disability claims
- Medicare and Medicaid claims and qualification
- Probate and estate planning
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Elder abuse
- Long-term care
How Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me?
An elder care lawyer focuses their practice on seniors’ legal needs with a great degree of specialized knowledge to help you address your concerns and protect your rights. Many seniors hire an elder law attorney to help them protect their assets when qualifying for Medicare or set up an advance directive and powers of attorney to ensure their wishes are met, but there are many other ways in which an elder law attorney can help you.
The following are the most common areas in which an elder care lawyer can be helpful.
WIth an elder law attorney, you can better plan for retirement and get the maximum amount of benefits when you retire or if you become disabled.
Virtually everyone can benefit from estate planning. An elder law attorney can help you:
- Ensure assets are passed to your designated beneficiaries
- Avoid probate
- Create and execute an advance directive
- Make guardianship decisions if you are incapacitated
- Set up trusts to protect your assets and pass them to beneficiaries
Most seniors require long-term care at some point, but long-term care can become expensive very quickly and eat through a lifetime of savings. Medicaid is the leading payer of long-term care in the United States. By planning for long-term care as soon as possible with the help of an elder law attorney, you can make a difficult transition easier down the road. Your attorney may assist with estate planning, Medicaid planning, and counseling to determine which solutions will work best to help you cover the expense of long-term care.
Medicare is an incredibly beneficial program for seniors, but it’s also notoriously complex. An elder law firm can help you plan for long-term care expenses, decide if you should purchase Medigap coverage, or appeal a claim denied by Medicare.
Medicaid is a need-based federal program with qualifications that can be difficult to meet. Because qualifying for Medicaid requires that you fall below specific income and asset thresholds, a Medicaid lawyer can help you with strategies to pay down or protect your assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid planning can be quite complicated but, when done properly, allows you to receive benefits while retaining enough of your assets or income to provide for loved ones.
What Questions Should I Ask an Elder Law Attorney?
Elder law is a very broad area of law that covers all types of concerns for senior citizens, including long-term care, elder abuse, estate planning, Medicaid, and Medicare. Because most elder care attorneys specialize in specific areas of senior law, it’s important to choose an experienced attorney familiar with your concerns.
Important elder law questions you should ask when choosing an attorney include:
- What is your area of specialty or emphasis in elder law? Because elder law is a broad area encompassing many financial and legal issues affecting seniors, you want to be sure you’re choosing a lawyer who has experience in the area that fits your needs.
- How much of your time is devoted solely to elder law? Some attorneys only practice elder law as part of a larger practice that’s more devoted to personal injury, for example, or litigation. You may be more comfortable with an attorney who devotes much of their time to elder law.
- What documents or services are included in the agreement? While an elder law attorney can give you a specific end result like an advance directive, they should also offer tailored solutions that can fit your situation and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- What do I need to bring to our first consultation? Ask about any documentation or information you will need to bring to the initial consultation based on your specific circumstances.
- How do you determine your fees? Is there a fee for the first consultation? After creating a list of qualified attorneys in your area that seem well suited to your specific issues, it’s a good idea to schedule consultations to narrow down your options. Make sure you know if the consultation will be free and how you will be charged if you proceed.
How Do Elder Law Attorneys Bill for Services?
While personal injury attorneys generally work on a contingency fee basis, an elder law attorney typically charges by the hour. For some forms of assistance, such as preparing a will or reviewing documents, you may pay a flat fee.
Are you looking for an elder law attorney near me? At Sheryll Law, we take pride in our tailored approach to Medicaid planning, estate planning, and other areas of elder law. We will work with you to develop strategies based on your unique needs and situation rather than merely offering cookie cutter services and rushing you out the door. If you are struggling with denied claims, need to qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, or you’re ready to begin planning your estate, contact us today to learn more about what an elder lawyer can do to help you.