What Is Elder Law?

People often ask "What is elder law?" or "How can an elder law attorney help me?" As the name implies, "elder law" deals with a wide range of legal issues faced by seniors and their families. It is a holistic approach to the practice of law, akin to trusts and estates, but with a difference.

Where the traditional trusts and estates attorney focuses on plans to reduce taxes and transfer of assets upon their client's death, the elder law attorney asks the additional questions, "What happens if the client becomes ill or begins suffering from diminished capacity?" "Who will handle their affairs and make healthcare decisions?" "What if the client needs long-term care?" and "What can be done to insure some of the estate will be left to pass on in the event the client needs to go to the nursing home?"

Contrary to what many people believe, elder law is not just about nursing homes and Medicaid. It includes all of the following areas of legal planning:

  • Planning for future health and medical decisions
  • Representation for trustees, executors and other individuals with fiduciary responsibilities
  • Planning for the possibility of future incapacity
  • Counselling on eligibility for public benefits, including Medicaid
  • Advising individuals who have loved ones with special needs
  • Offering guidance on long-term, life and other types of insurance policies
  • Information surrounding housing issues for seniors
  • Planning for gift, estate and income taxes
  • Litigation services for will contests, trust contests, contested guardianships and other related matters

For more information about elder law, contact us at 307-433-0921.