When You Need an Elder Law Attorney

An elder law attorney can guide you through the issues that affect us as we age.
An elder law attorney can guide you through the issues that affect us as we age.

The conversation that you have with an estate planning attorney, when you are in your thirties with a new house, young children, and many years ahead of you is different from the one you’ll have when you are much older. That’s the time to consult an elder law attorney. When you are older, you face a whole new set of issues, including rising health costs and the possibility of needing long term care. An elder law attorney knows that you are about to enter a time in your life when your estate planning documents are more likely to be used, says the article “Learn about legal documents and Medicaid” from the Houston Chronicle.

As we get older, the need to address long term care becomes more important. Elder law attorneys warn that there are many options that may be foreclosed if planning is not done ahead of the time. This is the time to talk to an elder law attorney to create a road map that anticipates the care you may require as you get older and how to pay for it. Making the right decisions now, could have a big impact on the quality of your life in the future.

This is also the time to update your financial and medical powers of attorney. Because of your experiences, there may be certain preferences you have for health care treatment. In addition, your elder law attorney may advise you to include a broad gifting power in your financial power of attorney which may be necessary to help you qualify for government assistance.

You should also review your other estate planning documents to make sure that they still reflect how you wish your estate to pass at your death. Your elder law attorney may suggest adding provisions to protect a surviving spouse’s eligibility for Medicaid or other government assistance in case it is needed.

It may be that your estate plan will include trusts, or that certain assets will need to be retitled. An elder law attorney can guide you through this stage of your life to make sure that you are prepared for what the future holds.

Learn more about elder law and medicaid at our website.

Reference: The Houston Chronicle (April 19, 2019) “Learn about legal documents and Medicaid”

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Elder Law Community Follows Proposed New Alzheimer’s Legislation

Assistance may be on the way for those with younger onset Alzheimer's disease.
Assistance may be on the way for those with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Elder law issues can also affect those under 65. About 200,000 individuals aged less than 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, according to Clay Jacobs, executive director of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The need to reach everyone affected will grow significantly in the coming years,” he said.

A bipartisan effort in Congress to make these elder care services available to younger people affected by Alzheimer’s disease recently resulted in the introduction of new proposed legislation known as the “Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act.”

Nutritional programs, supportive services, transportation, legal services, elder-abuse prevention and caregiver support have been available through the “Older Americans Act” since 1965. However, under the current law, only individuals over 60 are eligible for these kind of elder care services.

“These programs would make a huge difference in the lives of individuals living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, who don’t have support services available to them,” said a Congressional hearing witness Mary Dysart Hartt of Hampden, ME, a caregiver to her husband, Mike, who has young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Another bipartisan effort in Congress affecting elder law involves the proposed “Lifespan Respite Care Act” to help communities and states provide respite care for families. This legislation would earmark $20 million for fiscal year 2020, with funding increasing by $10 million annually to reach $60 million for fiscal year 2024. The program lets full-time caregivers take a temporary break from their responsibilities of caring for aging or disabled family members.

Elder law attorneys are following this legislation in hopes that the new laws, if passed, will provide additional ways to help those afflicted with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and to ease the burdens on full-time caregivers.

Reference: McKnight’s Senior Living (April 3, 2019) “Bill would aid those with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease”

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