Elder Law Attorneys Protect the Elderly
Elder Law | Protecting You or Your Loved One’s Interest as You Advance in Age
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes on issues that affect the aging population. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the elderly person for financial freedom and autonomy through proper financial planning and long-term care options.
Elder law attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in helping seniors with issues specific to their needs. This often includes navigating the increasingly complex laws and regulations around aging populations, and requires a broad understanding of both federal and state elder law.
Elder law services range from financial planning to estates to health care and beyond, and attorneys frequently specialize in a particular topic while providing overall counsel for the elderly.
The toll of time and age is something which no one can ultimately avoid. It is a natural part of life, and one which you can prepare for with the best possible attitude and plans. Far too often, a friend or loved one gets into a position where they can no longer take care of themselves and there is little planning and even less knowledge regarding the potential pitfalls of the next steps.
Our elder law service will help you understand the tools and legalities of caring for elderly individuals who need assistance in their daily lives. They deserve love and protection. With the right knowledge and support, you can provide that for them.
Elder Law Questions & Answers
We provide answers to all your Elder Law Questions, such as the following:
- How Do I Prove to Medicaid That I Have Been Living With My Mom for Two Years?
- What Does Medicaid Consider ‘Fair Market Value’ When Selling a House?
- Does Co-Signing a Student Loan Affect Medicaid Eligibility?
- How Do We Get Information on a Pending Medicaid Application?
- Will Small Gifts Really Disqualify My Mother from Medicaid?
- Can My Mother-in-Law Sell Her House and Buy a New House with Us Without Affecting Her Medicaid Eligibility?
- How Much Do I Pay My Agent Under a Power of Attorney?
- Can My Mother’s Agent Under a Power of Attorney Sell Her Belongings?
- Now That My Daughter Is Married, Should I Change Her Name on My Power of Attorney Form?
Questions for an Elder Law Attorney
Below are some Questions for an Elder Law Attorney that you should ask BEFORE hiring an attorney:
- How Familiar Are You With the Medicare and Medicaid?
- Are You One of the Few “Super Lawyers”?
- Do You Educate Others About Elder Law Issues?
- Are You a Member of Any Relevant Organizations?
- How Familiar Are You With the State Laws?
- Do You Have Experience With Similar Cases?
Elder Care Attorney Fees | Costs
How much are Elder Care Attorney Fees? There are a number of reasons why lawyers cannot or will not answer that question before they meet with the client and assess the client’s situation. Quoting prices ahead of time encourages price shopping and clients making decisions based solely on price.
If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you call up ten doctors and ask them how much they would charge for the surgery and radiation, then choose the doctor who charged the least amount of money simply because he charged the least?
Differences in Elder Law Services
There are differences in lawyers’ services. The fact of the matter is, a lawyer who concentrates in one area of the law is more likely to practice that area of the law with greater efficiency and with greater skill. The client of such a lawyer can expect to pay an enhanced fee for that superior quality of work and knowledge.
On the other hand, prospective clients should have some idea as to what fees a lawyer may charge for work. When lawyers fail to provide prospective clients with any idea as to the fee, clients assume that the fee is going to be astronomical.
It’s critical to ask detailed questions up front about the attorney’s fee structure, including incidentals and retainers, to guarantee that there are no surprises.
Differences in Elder Law Rates
Many charge by the hour. The hourly rate generally varies depending on the person performing the work, with different rates for attorneys, paralegals, and administrative assistants. Others charge predetermined flat rates based on the type of work, such as preparing a will, filing tax returns, or reviewing documents. Some elder lawyers combine these methods, or will work with you to determine the best approach for your needs.
In addition to an hourly rate and/or flat fee, elder law attorneys frequently charge fees for incidentals. These may include copies, postage, court fees, deposition fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
An elder law attorney may also ask for a retainer. A retainer is money placed in a trust account before work begins on your case. Each time your attorney bills you, he or she is paid from that account. The retainer may be a small percentage of the final cost up to the full amount.
Billing schedules vary among attorneys as well. Ask your elder lawyer if he or she bills weekly, monthly, or on completion of work, and about your options and timeline for paying the fees.
Elder Law fees at Altman and Associates are reasonable and transparent. We take very good care of our clients!
An Aging Population and Difficult Decisions
As it is widely reported, the U.S. population is aging. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the population aged 65 and older will almost double between 2012 and 2050 – growing from 43.1 million to 83.7 million.
Moreover, the overall percentage of elderly Americans is expected to more than double in the next twenty years alone. This will place the significant responsibilities associated with caring for the elderly on progressively less and less family members and friends.
Deciding that a loved one needs assistance in their daily lives is a difficult decision to make. There are many factors to consider, such as whether the person needs to be in a nursing home with 24-hour care, whether they can live in their current home with assistance, which family members will be in charge of their care, and who will be responsible for any assets the person might have.
Elder law is a unique, comprehensive area of the law which addresses all of these important considerations in the face of an elderly loved one who needs assistance. These considerations often have serious emotional and financial consequences for families and can lead to problematic legal situations. With such difficult decisions and an aging population, it is no surprise that elder law is an important and growing area of the law.
Planning and Preparedness Are Always Key
The time to start thinking about elder law issues is not when a loved one needs significant assistance. Rather, every individual should factor elder law considerations into their retirement and estate plans many years earlier.
Even the best laid plans can change, but having a plan and including your friends and family in the discussion will help facilitate a smoother transition later.
People who are well-prepared for their aging can use traditional retirement and estate planning tools to direct and support their lifestyle – even in the event that they need significant assistance. Among the questions a family should closely examine are:
- What type of setting would the individual prefer in the event that they need significant care, and is this something the family can support?
- Which family member(s) will be entrusted with the individual’s care, or is there a situation where an outside party may need to assume this role?
- To what extent will the individual have assets to support the significant costs associated with aging and assistance?
- What will Medicare cover, and what will it not?
- If there are disagreements regarding living arrangements, financial matters, or medical decisions among family members, how will these be resolved?
- What should a family member entrusted with an individual’s care sign or agree to, and what should they not?
- How will the family guard against abuse of the elderly individual or financial indiscretions with the individual’s assets?
We’ll help to guide you through answering these important questions.
Guiding You Through an Important Transition
The realization that a family member can no longer care for themselves almost never happens in a calm, emotionally-detached manner. Instead, some kind of unfortunate event or trauma occurs which compels the family to act.
In these times, emotions can run very high and normally objective minds can be clouded by an over-arching concern for the elderly individual and the overall family dynamic. This transition period is fraught with potentially harmful legal situations.
Caring for the elderly is a big and growing business in the U.S., especially with an aging population. Like all businesses, groups that offer care and assistance to the elderly need to ensure revenue and will often use tactics which render a family member personally and financially liable for the care of an elderly individual.
Do not agree to or sign any document without carefully reviewing it and understanding the financial and legal ramifications. Sitting down with an experienced elder law attorney can make all the difference. We’ll help you plan for and address even the worst elder law situations, such as professional or family member impropriety in the care of an elderly individual.
The law is designed to protect elderly individuals who cannot care for themselves. It’s our job to help you understand the law.
Difficult Decisions – You’re Not Alone
When facing difficult decisions regarding advanced aging, you do not have to act alone. We advocate for elderly individuals and their families in times of need. To schedule a time to meet with us, call (301) 468-3220 or submit an inquiry on our site.