Elder Law & Legal Services
If you’re a senior who wants to put your house in order, so to speak, by taking care of legal matters now while you’re able, that is probably a good idea. Most experts agree that you shouldn’t wait until there’s a crisis to find a lawyer. Or if you’re a family member who needs legal advice about a matter concerning a parent or other elderly relative, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible can help you avoid aggravation and confusion.
It’s true that just about any lawyer can help you with a simple task such as preparing a will. However, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in elder law if you need broader or more complex legal advice and assistance.
How An Attorney Can Help
Due to the growing population of those 65 and older in the U.S., elder law is a fast-growing specialty practice. It covers a wide and diverse range of services that hold special interest to older adults. These include, but are not limited to:
- Estate planning, wills and trusts
- Social Security
- Preservation and transfer of assets if you or your spouse enters a nursing home
- Supplemental and long-term health insurance issues
- Administration and management of trusts and estates
- Long-term care placement in nursing homes and other senior care communities
- Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
- Retirement and survivor benefits
- Medicare claims and appeals
- Conservatorships and guardianships
Elder Law Attorneys & Legal Services
A lawyer specializing in elder law should be knowledgeable of the many key issues concerning seniors today, such as housing, financial health, quality of life, and healthcare and long-term care, and they will take these issues into account when giving legal advice. However, keep in mind that most elder law specialists focus on several key areas, and may not provide all services.
Elder law attorneys are often members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a non-profit association of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the quality of legal services to people as they age and to people with special needs.
If you can’t afford an attorney, you may able to receive help through the legal aid program from your local Area Agency on Aging or through volunteer lawyer programs of your local bar association. Some states may also offer legal assistance through their attorney general’s office.