Rather than being defined by technical legal distinctions, elder law is defined by the client to be served. In other words, the lawyer who practices elder law may handle a range of issues but has a specific type of clients-seniors, the elderly and disabled and their families.
Elder Law attorneys work with a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of their clients.
Under this holistic approach, the elder law practitioner handles estate planning issues and counsels clients about planning for incapacity. The attorney assists the client in planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the client's right to quality care are all part of the elder law practice.
Elder Law is a relatively new specialized field of law that deals with the issues faced by the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, the elderly. This area of law combines elements of Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Health Care Planning, Guardianship, Medicare/Medicaid Planning, Veterans benefits and Elder Rights.
Today we are more active and live longer than ever before, but we also have a new set of legal concerns rarely experienced by earlier generations. Everyone should consider their Estate Planning to pass their assets to their beneficiaries. Now that we are living longer, there are more issues about future care that have to be included in Estate Planning, such as plans for housing, future medical care, and what to do if the person should become incapacitated.
One of the most important questions being raised is how to provide long-term housing, with possibly increasing levels of care, as the seniors age. This, in turn, gives rise to a whole new industry of senior living facilities and raises many legal questions about contract rights and the power of facilities to discharge residents. As continuing care becomes more and more costly, seniors are also need to be informed about long-term care insurance and eligibility for government benefits.
What Must A Certified Elder Law Attorney Know?
Certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of competency and experience within an area of law, and professionalism and ethics in practice. Some areas an attorney certified in elder law must have expertise in are as follows:
Health and personal care planning.
Giving advice and preparing documents regarding wills, trusts, durable, general or financial powers of attorney, real estate, gifting, and the financial and tax implication of any proposed action.
Legal capacity counseling.
Public benefits advice.
Insurance matters such as health, life, long-term care, home care, COBRA, medigap,long-term disability, dread disease, and burial/funeral policies.
Resident rights advocacy.
Housing counseling .
Vicki J. Bowers is Certified by the Florida Bar in the area of Elder law. Contact Vicki J. Bowers today to schedule a consultation.
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