Elder law is a specialty that focuses on legal issues relating to seniors. Elder law became recognized as a specialty in the 1980s as the legal issues affecting seniors became more complicated. This was due primarily to the difficulties in qualifying for Medicaid coverage when nursing home care was needed. The need for an elder law attorney in Fayetteville AR with specialized knowledge in these and other areas became more apparent.
Elder law requires legal advocacy as well as counseling, educating and planning for future needs. An elder law attorney in Fayetteville AR must work closely with clients and their families to address all of their specific goals. These attorneys must become familiar with their client’s health care needs and family dynamics. With this unique knowledge and insight, these attorneys are more able to thoroughly address their client’s needs than a general practice attorney would be able to.
These attorneys are trained and experienced in legal issues affecting seniors which makes them better able to understand their client’s needs and to anticipate problems that may arise in the future. An important skill of Elder law attorneys is maintaining a working knowledge of the common problems affecting the senior population, as well as having the wisdom to recognize myths related to aging and the competence of seniors. Elder law attorneys must recognize the physical and mental challenges that seniors actually face, while embracing the importance of providing as much freedom and autonomy as possible.
Because an elder law attorney’s advocacy usually goes well beyond simply drafting legal documents, they must stay informed about changes in the law and maintain connections with the vast network of professionals who routinely provide services for the elderly.
Common legal areas handled by an elder law attorney in Fayetteville AR
As with all specialties, there are certain areas of the law that elder law attorneys will handle. However, the specific needs of each client require special attention that only an elder law attorney is equipped to provide. Some common issues include the following:
- Medicaid and Medicare coverage for long-term care
- Estate planning and administration
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Establishing and administering various types trusts
Medicare is an insurance program provided by the government to people over the age of 65 regardless of income, as well as younger disabled individuals and dialysis patients. Medicare is a federal program with essentially the same eligibility requirements and benefits everywhere in the United States.
Medicaid is a healthcare assistance program based on economic need regardless of age. Medicaid is run by state and local governments, but within federal guidelines. So, the eligibility requirements and benefits vary from state to state. The Elder law attorney in your state will know the laws applicable to you.
Estate Planning is accomplished with legal documents designed to avoid probate, reduce estate taxes and protect assets by appointing someone you trust to act on your behalf should you become incapable of making your own decisions.
Guardianships and Conservatorships sometimes become necessary if an adult becomes mentally impaired and unable to make decisions on their own. A guardian is authorized to make legal, financial and health care decisions on the adult’s behalf.
Trusts are legal instruments that authorize someone, known as a trustee, to manage and protect your assets for the benefit of your heirs. There are two general types of trusts. Testamentary trusts are established in your will and are not created until you pass away. Inter vivos trusts are created while you are alive and can be either revocable or irrevocable.
If you have any questions about any of the services provided by an elder law attorney in Fayetteville AR we would be glad to answer them.