Elder law is one of the newest areas of the law. Although elder law is a relatively new area of law, it is fast becoming a much sought-after and necessary area of the law given the exploding elderly population in the United States. As the Baby Boomers move into their retirement years, the sheer number of older Americans has created a need for attorneys who specialize in legal issues that impact the elderly. Whether you are an older individual yourself, or a caregiver for an elderly loved one, you should be able to recognize when, and why, you might need the assistance of an elder law attorney. With that in mind, an Essex Junction elder law attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC explains how an elder law attorney can help you.
Legal issues that affect the elderly are hardly new; however, the area of the law referred to as “elder law” is relatively new. It began to develop in the 1970s as the population of older Americans started to grow. Eventually, the National Elder Law Foundation was formed along with a certification program for attorneys who wished to focus at least part of their practice on elder law issues.
Reasons You Might Need an Elder Law Attorney
- Estate planning. Every adult should have a comprehensive estate plan in place; however, the need for estate planning typically increases with age. By the time you reach your retirement years, your estate plan should be well-grounded and all-inclusive. An elder law attorney can help you make any changes or modifications to your plan that are called for as you age.
- Long-term care/Medicaid planning. Thehigh cost of long-term care (LTC) often results in the need to rely on Medicaid to help pay for that care. Qualifying for Medicaid, however, can put your assets at risk if you failed to plan for the possibility by incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan. An elder law attorney can help you create a Medicaid plan or assist with last-minute Medicaid planning strategies if you did fail to plan.
- Elder abuse or neglect. As a family member or caregiver, you may come to believe an elderly loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect. If so, an elder law attorney can help you to understand your legal options which may include filing a civil lawsuit against the facility.
- Guardianship/conservatorship. If you are concerned that an elderly loved one can no longer safely care for himself/herself and/or manage his/her finances, it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship/conservatorship. An elder law attorney can help you make the difficult decision to become a guardian/conservator.
- Incapacity planning. As a senior, you should incorporate an incapacity planning component into your estate plan to ensure that your wishes will be honored if you reach a point at which you are unable to express those wishes because of Alzheimer’s or another incapacitating condition.
- Social Security or veteran benefits. You and/or your spouse worked hard all your life, now you should be able to collect your Social Security retirement benefits and enjoy your Golden Years. If you encounter problems, consult an elder law attorney. Likewise, if you are a veteran or a surviving spouse, you may be entitled to several VA benefits. Some of those benefits may be unfamiliar to you, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance. Talk to your elder law attorney about your eligibility for VA benefits.
Contact an Essex Junction Elder Law Attorney
For more information, please attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact an experienced Essex Junction elder law attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC by calling 802-879-7133 to schedule your appointment today.