Lots of people don’t fully understand the difference between elder law and estate planning— and that’s okay! We get it. Many elder law attorneys also specialize in estate planning, as the two often go hand in hand. This can make it a little confusing to differentiate one from the other.
At Elder Law of Arizona, we are often asked ‘what is the difference between elder law and estate planning’ by our clients. We can compare it to medical practice. Some physicians have a general practice and others specialize. Both practice medicine. Estate planning is a tool that can be used for both general purposes or for specific demographics or purposes. Most estate planners do general planning for adults of all ages. However some attorneys also specialize in areas such as tax planning, special needs, business owners, asset protection, or elder law. Elder law focuses on the needs of the elderly and the disabled. It may involve estate planning or much more.
Today, our skilled team of elder law attorneys is breaking down the key differences between elder law and estate planning to give you a better understanding of the two areas.
What is Elder Law?
Elder law revolves around meeting the needs and protecting the rights of the elderly. Besides estate planning, it covers a wide range of legal issues, from long-term care planning to protection from elder abuse.
Some of the most common questions we, as elder law attorneys, often hear include:
- Who will help me pay my bills and handle my finances?
- How can I protect my self or my loved one from scams or exploitation?
- Who will make my medical decisions when I am no longer able?
- Who will take care of me? How will I afford it?
- Will Medicaid take my home?
- How can I preserve my retirement savings?
If you or a loved one are in need of elder abuse protection, assistance with the preservation of your assets, or help with medical care access or benefits, you should seek out a top Arizona elder lawyer. We are here to protect the rights of the elderly and to ensure that they are being looked out for.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is proactive preparation for your protection as you age or become incapacitated, as well as the distribution of your assets that will occur after your death.
Your estate plan is essentially a road map of your wishes for your loved ones to follow in the event of your incapacity or after you die. The process generally begins with a conversation between client and attorney to determine the best estate planning strategies for your unique case.
Unlike elder law which only pertains to the elderly, you can start planning your estate at any point throughout your lifetime—the sooner the better. While a subject anyone looks forward to, it’s essential for your own peace of mind and the protection of your loved ones.
Your estate plan should be updated whenever you undergo a major life change, which you can do by reaching out to a licensed estate planning attorney in your state. Examples of major life changes that would warrant an estate plan update include:
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- Moving to a new state
- Buying a home
- Having children
Estate planning attorneys will help you with everything from identifying the right estate planning strategies for your situation to helping you establish beneficiaries and avoiding probate court.
While an estate plan can be created without a lawyer, it’s in your best interest to work with someone who has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the area.
Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona
Hopefully next time someone raises the question, ‘what is the difference between elder law and estate planning’ you’ll be able to give them an answer with confidence. It’s important to understand the differences between the two and how they pertain to one another.
While no one likes to think about what happens after they die, estate planning is paramount to ensuring that your loved ones will be taken care of when you’re no longer around. Elder law provides you and your loved ones unique perspectives on the needs of the elderly and disabled. Here at Elder Law of Arizona, our skilled team of Arizona estate planning and elder law attorneys treats every client with compassion.
We offer holistic approaches that are tailored specifically to your unique circumstances and financial goals. Don’t let the stress of planning for your future overwhelm you. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.