Although most of us prefer not to think about it, we’re growing a little older every day. Unfortunately, too many people ignore their advancing age, avoiding consideration of the legal issues which could affect them greatly in their later years. Those issues, often grouped together under the term “elder law,” will affect what happens to your assets while you are alive, your estate after you pass away, your power of attorney if you are disabled, your medical care, advanced directives and more. But what is elder law?
Elder law is an umbrella legal term that houses numerous legal issues affecting the aging population. If you’ve been wondering, “What is elder law?”, you've come to the right place. We can help you clear your mind and assemble your future. We can help you design a plan to protect you and your family from the uncertainty of long-term nursing home costs.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder law encompasses many different issues involved with aging, including medical powers of attorney, living wills, retirement planning, life insurance, and the prospect of long-term care and the expenses of living in a nursing home.
Why do I need to be concerned with it?
These issues will greatly affect you in your later years, so it is important that you consider your options now and make informed, thoughtful decisions. If you don't take control of your future, the government might end up deciding what happens to your income, wealth, and family. Wouldn't you rather decide these things for yourself?
When my future is so uncertain, how can I plan for it?
Through proactive planning you can ensure your assets are protected and your plan has the flexibility to adapt to your uncertain future. With the help of a lawyer experienced in elder law, you can begin making some of those difficult decisions.
What should I expect when it comes to elder law?
Some of the most important choices you will make involve the following:
Estate Planning: You need to choose how you will be provided for during your life if you are disabled and who will inherit which pieces of your estate and under what conditions. Estate Planning puts you in control of your property and financial affairs!
Probate: Probate is the court system's method of processing a person's estate after they have died. It can be costly and time-consuming, so your goal is to avoid it altogether. Estate Planning will help you do this.
Medicaid: Medicaid is the program which will pay for your nursing home care if you are impoverished. Medicaid will force you to spend down nearly ALL of your assets before qualifying. If you plan for this scenario ahead of time, a lawyer can help you plan how to get the best possible care, while protecting the most amount of assets. This is one of the most important parts of planning for an individual he or she can do.
Advance Directives: These documents state what you would like to happen if you are not able to make healthcare decisions for yourself in the future. If you don't prepare this in advance, the court will appoint a guardian to make these decisions for you.
So what is elder law? It's many things! Estate planning, Medicaid planning, advance directives, protecting assets and more. It's a very broad term and it covers many legal issues which encompass the aging process. It's an important subject for all of us, but it's especially critical for those who are concerned about how to pay for the rising costs of nursing home care.
If you're interested in learning more about elder law and you live in Southwest, MO (including Springfield or Branson), call the attorneys at Parks & Jones. Their experience in elder law will help you protect your estate, health, family, and future, and also avoid taxes and unnecessary complications.