To some, the concept of elder law may sound a bit ambiguous and mysterious. Judging by its name, we assume that it has everything to do with seniors and nothing to do with younger people. We’d be wrong.
In fact, Elder law is the general term referring to legal advocacy for the elderly and their families. It covers a wide range of issues that affect the aging population, including everything involved with physically and financially caring for an elderly person, estate planning, long term care planning, and asset protection planning, medical and end-of-life decisions, and other aspects of senior living. Such practical concerns affect everyone involved: the young and the old, relatives and caregivers, financial planners and institutions, the nursing homes and hospices where some spend their last years, and a variety of other individuals, directly or indirectly involved in the wellbeing of the elderly person.
Why hire an elder law attorney, if we’re not millionaires?
One of the misconceptions surrounding this area of practice is that it’s only for wealthy people. In reality, everyone could use the help of a qualified legal professional as they approach an advanced age or have relatives and close friends that are in the more mature category. Even caregivers, employers, healthcare facilities and other institutions and individuals involved with the elderly may need advice on how to deal with complex, age-specific situations.
What you can do with an elder law attorney behind you
As you grow older, you might start to think about your future differently. You might plan for greater or more secure financial independence but also start to wonder about how you may pass on what you have built, who will benefit, what it will cost you and what the short- and long-term impact of all those decisions will be on your life and the lives of those who matter to you.
Some things do get better with age, but others don’t. The perception of some people around you may change, where you become less independent and more vulnerable or easy to take advantage of in their eyes. Imagine renting an apartment and taking good care of yourself, but one day you have a leak inside, and the landlord refuses to repair the pipes. You stop paying rent, but then you’re served with an eviction notice. Imagine living in a nursing home and discovering that your property frequently disappears and is never returned. Or that a staff member abuses you verbally or physically whenever you interact with them. We can help you or your family find solutions and resources for all of these situations so you don’t have to be a victim and have the support you need from trusted individuals and professionals.
On top of that, our office offers legal representation and assistance in a variety of other situations such as planning for disability and long term care benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Disability, SSI and Veterans pension), planning for retirement, explaining your rights when you live in an assisted-living or nursing facility, or selecting and appointing legal representatives, such as under a trust, power of attorney or guardianship for those who can no longer take care of themselves. We can also help resolve some real estate issues, protect you or your elderly relative from financial exploitation, take you through the probate process or trust administration and guide your estate planning decisions.
We routinely prepare legal documents for most needs, such as medical and financial powers of attorney, and living wills, as well as wills and trusts for Arizonans who want to provide an inheritance, whether sentimental or financial, to their family or friends.
You don’t have to face issues concerning the older people in your life alone. Or, as an elderly person, you don’t have to figure things out on your own. Our team is standing by to answer questions such as what you need to know about Elder Law and see how we can better assist you or provide resources to better assist you.