Elder law encompasses several areas within the legal sector. It can include any legal issue facing older adults and their families, such as estate planning, probate, guardianship, real estate, nursing home neglect and more. The goal of an elder law attorney is to understand the needs of today’s older Americans while also keeping in mind that it’s never a “one person show”. They must understand the intricacies and challenges in this area so that they can best help their clients.
Our attorneys offer a number of services, including assistance with Medicaid Applications and Pre-Planning, asset transfers and other ways of preserving client’s income, disability and estate planning, conservatorships, guardianships, supplemental and long term health insurance, probate issues and the ever-growing concerns surrounding elder abuse and elder fraud.
The greatest reason to establish a trust is to avoid probate. If your trust terminates with your death, any property in the trust prior to your death passes immediately to your beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust without requiring probate. This is important and can prevent the overwhelming hassles associated with probate and can save your beneficiaries time and money. It can result in tax advantages both for you and your beneficiaries. Unlike wills, trusts are private documents. Only those who have a direct interest in the trust need know of its assets and distribution.
Medical directives are also important. This includes a variety of documents, such as a health care proxy, a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, and medical instructions. These are important since it’s the health care proxy and a durable power of attorney for health care are what allow you to designate someone to make health care decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. Not only that, but a living will instructs your health care provider to withdraw life support if you are terminally ill.
The durable power of attorney allows you to name someone to manage your property while you’re alive should you become incapacitated or too ill to do so yourself. The last will and testament document is what provides guidance for the distribution of your property in a legal way and that’s according to your wishes after you die. The living trust protects assets from young beneficiaries until you feel they’re mature enough to manage their own affairs.
Of course, all of this is part of the entire estate planning process. You maintain control of what you’ve worked hard to secure and proper planning means you have a say in how those assets protect your loved ones into the future.
If you’d like to learn more about elder law and estate planning, we invite you to contact our offices today. Our qualified attorneys stand ready to help put those documents in place that will provide peace of mind. When it comes right down to it, that’s what most of us are looking for: the peace of mind that comes with knowing the future is protected for those we love most.
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