What Is Elder Law
The legal needs of the elderly are many and diverse:
- Age Description
- Durable Powers of Attorney
- Estate Planning
- Financing Long-Term Care
- Health Care Quality Issues
- Independent Living Options
- Medicare and Medicaid
Rather than being defined by technical legal distinctions, elder law is defined by the client to be served. Elder law attorneys focus on the legal needs of the elderly and utilize a variety of legal tools and techniques with care and compassion to meet the goals and objectives of the older client. The approach and demeanor of such an attorney must also encourage trust and confidence on the part of senior citizens and their families.
Under this holistic approach, the elder law practitioner handles estate planning issues and counsels clients about planning for incapacity with alternative decision making documents. The attorney would also assist the client in planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the client’s right to quality care are all part of the elder law practice.
In addition to providing legal counsel to the elderly, a qualified elder law attorney may serve a significant function for those planning for retirement and also for families with minor children concerned about the possible implications of the untimely death of a spouse or loved one.