Legal Issues for the Aging

The many legal issues associated with aging has given rise to a new and emerging practice of law known as “elder law” that deals with specific legal issues faced by the elderly population. Attorneys dealing with the elderly have a unique understanding of the laws that may have an impact on aging seniors. Elder law includes elements of:

  • Estate Planning
  • Disability Planning
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Incompetency or Incapacity
  • Trusts and Living Trusts
  • Wills and Living Wills
  • Conservatorships
  • Guardianships
  • Healthcare Planning
  • Healthcare Insurance
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Social Security
  • Supplemental Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Fraud, Abuse, Neglect and Harassment

The elder law practitioner brings a knowledge and understanding of the elderly that works to ensure the elder's right to quality care. Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in every area but have a broader, more comprehensive understanding of the laws that may have an impact on your situation and may help you to avoid problems in the future. They bring in expertise in areas of law and have a firm understanding of elderly concerns that allows for appropriate planning and problem solving. They are tied to other professionals such as social workers, psychologists, and eldercare specialists who may benefit you as well.

The method for charging fees will vary widely. Some charge by the hour, others have a flat fee, and still others might use a combination of these billing methods. In addition, most will charge for out-of-pocket expenses and some may ask for a retainer which is money paid to the attorney prior to working on your case and then placed in a trust account for later expenses. Whatever the fee plan decided upon with the attorney you are hiring, ask that your arrangement be put in writing.

Contact the American Bar Association (ABA) for more information about elder law and elder law attorneys.

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