Posted on: 4 October 2022Share
If you, a loved one, or your family members are wondering whether you might want to speak with an elder law attorney, you may also need to know what the field includes. These four topics commonly come up in conversations with an elder law attorney.
Disabilities and Long-Term Care
Many aging Americans will find themselves unable to do as much as they once did. Lots of these folks will be fine slowing down and dealing with things like chores a bit more judiciously.
However, plenty of elder people also need access to care for disabilities. Likewise, many may need some form of in-home care or even an assisted living arrangement. These care programs often entail legal agreements that can strip people of their rights if they're not careful. An elder lawyer can make sure your interests and rights are protected before you enter into any such arrangements. They also can address problems if someone has already entered into care.
Whether or not someone has entered into the types of agreements from the previous section, elder Americans are often targets for abuse. This can happen in professional care settings, with family members, or even with would-be friends. Abuse patterns may start out seemingly small and look like simple frustration, and that can make identifying problems challenging. Similarly, abuse isn't always physical. Verbal and financial abuse are common elder law issues, too.
Fortunately, counsel is available if you're worried about your own situation or that of someone you care about. An elder lawyer can investigate what's happening and propose some potential legal remedies if there's any evidence of abuse.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Decision-making in an aging individual's life is important. However, some folks may struggle to address financial, health, and legal concerns as they get older. Frequently, this exposes them to problems like mismanagement or even exploitation.
If you believe that someone needs to take over such authority in a person's life, you may want to talk with an elder lawyer about establishing a guardianship or conservatorship. This may be limited to a handful of needs, such as managing finances to ensure the person's bills are paid on time. It also could extend to medical and legal choices.
The disposition of a person's assets if they pass or are incapacitated matters, and age amplifies the effect. An elder law attorney can help you make estate-related decisions like putting down or modifying a will, forming trusts, and setting up beneficiary arrangements outside those structures. They also can lend a hand with interpreting and settling estates.