7 Reasons You Need an Elder Law Attorney

Older adults are vulnerable to various physical and mental conditions due to their advancing age. Because of this, some individuals take advantage of them, especially financially. The Adult Protective Services report that the most common forms of financial exploitation involve defrauding seniors of their estates and investments.

Here’s where an elder law attorney comes in. Their goal is to protect older adults and their loved ones from financial exploitation. Not only that—they also specialize in planning for their long-term care and getting the maximum benefit available for them. Check out the following list to get a better picture of what other services an elder law practitioner can provide.

Estate Planning

It doesn’t matter how large or modest your bank accounts, properties, or assets are. Estate planning can be challenging. And for this, elder Law attorneys have the necessary expertise to guide you through the process.

Estate planning is not just about making a will. It involves various aspects such as setting up trusts, powers of attorney, and other healthcare directives. It is vital to set things up ahead of time. However, make sure you appoint trusted people to manage your affairs in case of incapacity.

Optimizing Social Security Benefits

According to the 2012 data of the Social Security Agency, 65 percent of elderly beneficiaries derive the majority of their cash income from Social Security. Elder law attorneys can help you get the maximum benefit you can claim based on your condition.

Applying for Medicare and Medicaid

These two separate programs run by the government are designed to provide medical coverage. They target different demographics and social groups, so it’s best to have a better understanding of their provisions.

Medicare, run by the federal government, provides health coverage for older adults above 65 and people with disabilities below that age. As long as you fall under these categories, you are eligible for Medicare regardless of your income.

Meanwhile, Medicaid is a federal and state program designed to provide health coverage for those with a meager income. It can have different policies for different social groups depending on which state they’re in.

Some states also offer a spend-down program that allows you to deduct your medical expenses from your income. This effectively lowers your declared income, which helps you qualify for Medicaid. And with the assistance of an elder law attorney, you can make the most of these initiatives as lawyers guide you according to your state’s eligibility requirements.

Long-Term Care Planning

Many Americans need long-term care. However, it can be costly. To lessen the costs, it would be a good idea to establish a plan to make the transition to long-term care more manageable. 

There are plenty of long-term care insurance policies available on the market. The premiums vary depending on factors such as your coverage, age, and preexisting medical conditions. Consulting with an elder law professional helps you plan the best arrangements for your needs.

Legal Assistance for Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects the elderly from discrimination based on their age. They make it illegal to discriminate against older adults in receiving federal financial assistance and employment opportunities. Elder law specialists also provide legal assistance for people being discriminated against based on their age. 

Legal Assistance for Elder Abuse

Although it is quite unfortunate, hundreds of thousands of elder abuse cases are reported each year in the U.S. They include financial, physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse. 

It is the fundamental right of a human being to be safe and cared for. But the reality is, abusive situations still arise. So, elder law attorneys assist in pressing charges, claiming damages, and helping the elderly get into a safe environment. Employing the help of these legal professionals can give peace of mind not only to the individual but also to their family members.

Asserting Visitation Rights

Domestic relationships aren’t always smooth sailing. They can be strained, and in some cases, the disagreements between partners can lead to divorce and battles for custody. And while parents can end up losing the right to see their children, grandparents can lose the chance to be part of their grandchildren’s lives.

Different states have different statutes and provisions regarding these cases. And an elder law attorney can help grandparents navigate the legal system to assert their visitation rights.

This list covers some of the things an elder law attorney can help you with. And because of the sensitivity of these issues, it is essential to consult with a lawyer you can trust. It is also recommended that you discuss with different practitioners first to determine who can help you most effectively.