Elder law and estate planning are not synonymous.
Your parent is getting older.
In fact, you are recognizing signs of memory problems as well as physical frailty.
Although your parent can live independently now, you recognize this will not last forever.
You do not know what to do.
According to a recent Forbes article titled “Hiring an Elder Law Attorney,” it is common to feel lost when it comes to knowing what steps you need to take to support your aging loved ones.
Although estate planning attorneys can prepare documents for death and incapacity, they do not necessarily assist with aging issues like planning for nursing home care.
The specialists who do so are called “elder law” attorneys.
While many can draft estate documents like medical directives or special needs trusts, their work often encompasses disability planning, tax planning, nursing home placement, and probating or administering an estate.
Some elder law attorneys will also provide Medicaid planning assistance for those who will likely require long-term care, whether due to a debilitating physical illness or a mental ailment like Alzheimer’s disease.
Specific assistance provided by elder law attorneys involves helping families preserve the assets they accumulated though a lifetime of work via transferring them within a certain window of time to qualify for Medicaid.
In other instances, they may recommend long-term care insurance.
These attorneys are often familiar with connecting individuals to managed care environments and nursing homes for long-term care needs.
For those with both disability planning and estate planning needs, an elder law attorney can be beneficial.
If you want to appeal disability, Social Security, Medicare, long-term health insurance, and supplemental insurance claims; these professionals can often provide assistance.
Help may also be available for those seeking fraud recovery and protection from elder abuse.
For those without advance health care directives or financial powers of attorney, elder law attorneys can help with processing guardianships or conservatorships.
The attorneys also work with home equity conversions, housing discrimination, and mental health law.
When you need support for aging-related issues, seek the services of an experienced elder law attorney.
Spoiler alert: I am not an elder law attorney.
Reference: Forbes (Oct. 4, 2021) “Hiring an Elder Law Attorney”