According to the US Census Bureau, more than 51 million Americans are currently aged 65 or older, and the number is steadily increasing while medical and technological advancements are allowing seniors to live longer and better lives than ever before. The expanding needs of the US aging population are contributing to an increase in federal government senior assistance programs complexity and availability. Every senior has a unique set of circumstances that set parameters to navigate a successful aging plan, and the best way to determine what your plan should be is to retain the counsel of a skilled elder law attorney.
How can an elder law attorney assist you? An elder law attorney provides overarching coordination for the financial, legal and health care decisions that seniors face. Many seniors and their family members fail to plan for researching and paying for long-term care, which can result in running out of money or an inability to secure appropriate care. We encourage families to seek legal counsel before the need for long-term care of a loved one arises in order to determine the type of care desired and how to pay the costs while preserving family resources.
Elder law attorneys also facilitate the establishment of a medical power of attorney, advanced health care directives, or aiding in the selection process of the right long-term care facility and assisting in structuring the financial resources that cover the cost of that care. Elder law attorneys often assist with guardianships if a senior is no longer capable of making responsible and informed decisions regarding health, living, and financial affairs and no one has been previously designated to do so. Guardianships are normally a last resort, as they are costly, require court involvement for the lifetime of the incapacitated person, and a stranger could be appointed to oversee the incapacitated person’s finances. To avoid guardianship, we encourage putting a plan in place with proper legal documents to ensure the individual’s wishes are followed and managed by the person chosen to do so.
Selecting the right elder law attorney for your personal needs or those of a loved one will significantly impact a plan for successful aging. Though many attorneys may provide standard templates, we individualize each set of documents to reflect the uniqueness of each family situation. To maximize safeguarded resources and the ability to secure the care you most want, we encourage you to plan as in advance as possible for either yourself or an aging loved one.
Please contact us for initial guidance or how we can help you or a loved one with your elder law needs.