“Helping families plan for long life, obtain quality care and navigate the long term care maze”

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What is Elder Law?

Rather than being defined by technical legal distinctions, Elder Law is defined by the client to be served. In other words, the lawyer who practices Elder Law may handle a range of issues but has a specific type of clients -- seniors. In addition, Elder Law attorneys also assist persons with special needs or disabilities. Elder Law focuses on planning for while we are alive, while estate planning involves planning for after our deaths.

Elder Law attorneys focus on the legal needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities, and work with a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of their clients.

Under this holistic approach, the Elder Law practitioner handles general 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.

Elder Law Components

  • Health and Personal Care Planning, including giving advice and preparing documents regarding, advance medical directives (medical powers of attorney, living wills, and health care declarations) and counseling older persons, attorneys-in-fact, and families about medical and life-sustaining choices, and related personal life choices.

  • Pre-Mortem Legal Planning, including giving advice and preparing documents regarding wills, trusts, durable general or financial powers of attorney, real estate, gifting, and the financial and tax implications of any proposed action.

  • Fiduciary Representation, including seeking the appointment of, giving advice to, representing, or serving as executor, personal representative, attorney-in-fact, trustee, guardian, conservator, representative payee, or other formal or informal fiduciary.

  • Legal Capacity Counseling, including advising how capacity is determined and the level of capacity required for various legal activities, and representing those who are or may be the subject of guardianship/conservatorship proceedings or other protective arrangements.

  • Public Benefits Advice, including planning for and assisting in obtaining Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans benefits, and food stamps.

  • Advice on Insurance Matters, including analyzing and explaining the types of insurance available, such as health, life, long term care, home care, COBRA, medigap, long term disability, dread disease, and burial/funeral policies.

  • Resident Rights Advocacy, including advising patients and residents of hospitals, nursing facilities, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living facilities, adult care facilities, and those cared for in their homes of their rights and appropriate remedies in matters such as admission, transfer and discharge policies, quality of care, and related issues.

  • Housing Counseling, including reviewing the options available and the financing of those options such as: mortgage alternatives, renovation loan programs, life care contracts, and home equity conversion.

  • Employment and Retirement Advice, including pensions, retiree health benefits, unemployment benefits, and other benefits.

  • Income, Estate, and Gift Tax Advice, including consequences of plans made and advice offered.

  • Counseling about tort claims against nursing homes.

  • Counseling with regard to age and/or disability discrimination in employment and housing.

  • Litigation and Administrative Advocacy in connection with any of the above matters, including will contests, contested capacity issues, elder abuse (including financial or consumer fraud), fiduciary administration, public benefits, nursing home torts, and discrimination.