According to the US Census Bureau, there will be more adults over 65 than children by the year 2035.
The American population is aging. Baby boomers are beginning to reach senior age, while birthrates decline and lifespans increase.
This means many Americans will have to begin navigating the laws pertaining to older people. There are many complicated legal processes associated with aging. Without proper planning earlier in life, they can present a serious issue.
Luckily, there is a sect of lawyers dedicated to this area of law. An elder care attorney works to cover these issues and help prepare the aging population.
Keep reading to learn more about elder care attorneys, what they do, and how they can help you prepare for and navigate this stage of life.
What Does an Elder Care Attorney Do?
Elder law is complex. It covers a variety of specialties, including:
- Estate tax
- Special needs and disability trusts
- Medicare and Medicaid issues
- Long-term care planning
- Age-discrimination disputes
- Veterans benefits
- Guardianship issues
- Inheritance disputes
- Elder abuse
An elder care attorney exists to tackle these age-specific issues for seniors and their families. This helps create peace of mind for you and your family when facing the many issues associated with long-term care and finances.
One of the largest costs facing seniors is the price of medical care. This can be difficult, as not just anyone knows how to care for an elderly person. There are dedicated professionals and care facilities dedicated to this area of practice—and they are not cheap.
Without proper planning for this purpose, long-term savings can quickly get wiped out. However, there are other options to assist seniors with these high costs.
Medicaid is one example of a senior’s healthcare option for paying medical and long-term care costs. This is an extremely complicated government program and is designed to be a last resort.
As such, there are strict financial requirements and other eligibility qualifications. The rules that govern Medicaid are very complicated. With a change in presidency coming quickly, it’s likely these laws will change again.
Another example of a government healthcare option is Veterans Aid and Attendance. This is available to many veterans, as well as their surviving spouses to cover the costs of long-term care. Qualified veterans usually receive between $1,000-$2,000 in tax-free assistance paid directly to the veteran, their surviving spouse, or their representative.
With so much riding on the consequences of preparing for senior citizen medical care, it takes great care to plan for and apply for benefits. It is essential to consult with an elder care attorney who is experienced in this area of law.
Experts recommend planning for Medicaid at least five years prior to need. The sooner you contact lawyers specializing in elder law, the better.
In addition to assisting with medical matters, an elder care attorney can act as a durable power of attorney for senior citizens.
To give another party power of attorney means they are authorized to handle matters on your behalf. These are usually financial or health care issues.
The durability aspect means this power remains in effect even if you become incapacitated through illness or injury. Electing a durable power of attorney helps to eliminate confusion during an already difficult time for family members.
Similarly, an elder care attorney can help you develop an advanced healthcare directive. This is a legal document where an individual outlines how they would like medical decisions made, in the event they cannot make these decisions for themselves.
Finally, an elder care attorney can help you establish a guardianship or conservatorship. These help to care for a loved one who is not able to manage their own affairs.
Why Would You Need an Elder Care Attorney?
Good elder care lawyers will be trusted in their field. They will help you focus on assisting those older adults in your life, so they can ensure their long-term care is properly planned for.
The knowledge these attorneys hold of government programs and the laws pertaining to older people, combined with years of experience helping families, can change the whole dynamic of planning elder care.
Care for Your Family
An elder care attorney can create plans to cover medical needs and thus protect savings.
They can help you make sense of the complicated qualifications for health care and government programs. In addition to saving money, this will ensure proper long-term care for your loved one.
A trusted elder law attorney can help determine which benefits someone is eligible for and helps to achieve them.
Avoid Probate Court
Planning ahead with the help of an elder care attorney can help simplify future processes for family members. When someone dies without leaving clear instructions for the future of their estate, the matter goes to probate.
This refers to the legal process of verifying the deceased individual’s will and distributing their estate.
The more planning ahead of time, the less expensive and drawn-out the probate process becomes. Depending on the situation, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to go through the full probate process.
There are also many fees factored into this process, including:
- Personal representation fees
- Attorney’s fees
- Accounting fees
- Bond fees
- Appraisal/business valuation fees
- Misc fees
These fees can land anywhere between three to eight percent of the total estate. This is money pulled away from heirs/beneficiaries. As such, planning ahead of time can ensure an easier and less costly process after death.
Finding an Elder Care Attorney in Your Area
When planning how to care for an elderly person, there are many factors to take into account. It’s critical to hire a trusted elder care attorney who is familiar with the laws pertaining to older people in your state.
They should be trustworthy, with a good reputation to take care of such important details in your life.
In the Savannah, Georgia area, you can trust Smith Barid, LLC to help you navigate these complicated elder law matters. Contact the attorneys today for more information.