NAELA, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. established May as Elder Law Month as a way to educate seniors and their families about their legal options in dealing with elder abuse and fraud, long-term and health care planning, Medicaid, Medicare, estate planning, and other important issues that effect the senior population.
“With the elderly population growing each day, driven in large part by the graying of the Baby Boomer generation, it is crucial to assist older Americans and their families in finding legal services and resources to improve their quality of life,” said NAELA President Edwin Boyer.
Far too often we wait to deal with these issues until times of crisis, rather than working with a skilled attorney familiar with elder law before the crisis is upon us. By planning ahead and looking to the future, seniors can ensure a better quality of life and that they have the services and support they need as they get older.
As we age, we face complex legal concerns that are often different from when we were younger. Our actions may have unintended legal effects. That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney who is an expert in elder law.
What exactly is elder law you may be asking? First, elder law is no one thing. It encompasses many different fields of law. An Alabama elder law attorney specializes in using their legal knowledge to fit the needs of older clients. Some of the fields most often seen in elder law include:
• Durable powers of attorney, living trusts and living wills
• Conservatorships and guardianships
• Estate planning
• Nursing Home Negligence
• Administration and management of trusts and estates
• Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and pension benefits
• Social Security Disability Claims
Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas; so seek out a lawyer with a background in the practice area you are specifically interested in. You will want to hire an attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern in your particular case and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law. For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the estate planner needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse’s inheritance.
The Huntsville elder law attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. will take into account and empathize with the unique challenges that often accompany the aging process. Their understanding of the real-life problems of people as they age allows them to serve as more effective legal representatives.