When you’re approaching retirement or have recently retired, you may think about planning for your future. Whether it’s creating a will or stating your wishes for health care and who can act on your behalf, having a legal professional help you create a legal plan can bring you peace of mind. The legal representative you’re looking for is an elder law attorney.
“Meeting with an elder law attorney to discuss your future plans and wishes is an important task that every older adult should do. When you have an attorney at your side, you can go over legal options available to you and make a plan for what you want,” says Wayne Vinson, Director of Sales at The Village at Gainesville, a senior living community in Florida.
Learning what an elder law attorney does, what services they provide, and what questions to ask your elder law attorney when you meet them will help you start planning for your future.
What Is an Elder Law Attorney?
An elder law attorney is someone who specializes in elder law. According to the American Bar Association, elder law is the legal practice of providing counsel and representation for older persons and those with special needs.
Elder Law Attorney Services
Elder law attorneys provide a number of important legal services to seniors to protect their rights, assets, and plans for their estate. Attorneys practicing elder law cover legal issues like:
- Long-term care planning
- Estate planning
- Legal capacity
- Asset protection
- Retirement advice
An elder law attorney can help you find the best way to get your affairs in order so that your children know what to do and what they will inherit from your estate.
Your attorney can also help you with long-term care planning. You’ll determine how you want to meet your future health care needs in case you cannot make those decisions. This can include home care, choosing a senior living community, and further directions for your health care wishes.
Your elder law attorney will examine your assets, health insurance, VA benefits (if applicable), and other sources to ensure that your plan is covered by the time you need it.
When you have these plans in place, you can avoid missteps that result in losing money to taxes, and your family will know what you want. This removes the question of your children wondering what your wishes are and where you would want future care.
Without the help of a lawyer and detailed wishes for your care, you may run into problems when it comes to your senior living choices. While you may have wanted to be in a certain community, but it hasn’t been communicated and written down, your children may not know that you wanted to move to that community.
Additionally, they may know you’d like to move to a certain community, but if you didn’t meet with a lawyer who could look at your accounts and help you create a plan to afford that care, then you may run into financial issues that prevent you from going to your first-choice community.
You and your family will feel secure and relieved to know that all of your plans and legal affairs are taken care of so you can enjoy your retirement worry-free.
Questions To Ask an Elder Law Attorney
When you go to a law firm to meet with an elder law lawyer for the first time, you’ll want to have some questions about protecting your rights and future prepared ahead of time. You’ll be able to make the most of the appointment progress to the next steps.
Start with these questions like the following:
- Are you a certified specialist who can help me with my last will and testament, trust, and estate?
- How can I protect my assets?
- What legal documents do I need for estate planning?
- How do probate laws work in my state?
- How do I appoint a power of attorney?
- How does dementia factor into who can sign documents?
- Is it more beneficial for me to ladder successors or use co-agents?
- What is a special needs trust, and when do I need one?
- Can you explain what a lady bird deed is and if it would be beneficial for me?
- What is the safest way to store my original documents?
- How do I access my documents regarding health care if I cannot get to the original documents?
- What is your rate?
When you’re prepared with this list of questions, your first meeting with an elder law attorney will be productive. You’ll take another step forward in legalizing your plans and wishes.
Secure Your Future at The Village at Gainesville
Planning for your future not only matters to you and your family – but also to us. At The Village at Gainesville, we believe in providing educational resources on aging and senior living to residents and the greater community.
Older adults can refer to these lawyers and tools to learn about important topics, like meeting with an estate lawyer and how to effectively plan for the future.