What Is Elder Law?
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As the baby boom generation enters retirement, elder care planning has become an important topic in the estate planning community. One of the biggest concerns is elder law. Simply put, elder law addresses the legal needs of an aging population. It is a specialty field of law that Phelps LaClair has been practicing for two generations. Here is an overview of several of the significant areas of elder law to help you understand this complex subject.
Long-term care planning
When you are young, long-term care planning seems like something only your grandparents think about. As you age and mature, it becomes more obvious that someone you know, perhaps even yourself, will need long-term care at some point. Planning for this possibility is the only way to protect your assets from being consumed by nursing home care. Many people believe that Medicaid provides solutions for this, and Medicaid can help. But Medicaid, by law, requires assets to be transferred out of your ownership five years in advance in order to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits. Phelps LaClair will be able to help you navigate various ways to do this.
Like long-term care planning, it is easy to procrastinate on planning for a disability. But it is a serious need that can wipe out your estate should you become physically or mentally incapacitated. You need to have documents such as a living will and an advance medical directive in your estate plan in order to avoid a law-mandated and court-appointed supervised guardianship.
Special needs planning
Disabled individuals who are eligible to receive government benefits have legal needs that fall under special needs planning. When these disabled people are beneficiaries of an inheritance, they may no longer qualify for government aid. If they are named beneficiaries of your estate, you need specific legal plans in place in order to ensure that they don’t lose their government assistance.
Aging people tend to become more vulnerable to predatory tactics of swindle, fraud and physical abuse. This is elder abuse. Relatives or close “friends” can exert undue influence to convince older people to change their will or trust, thereby causing them to reassign or give away their assets. Elder law includes an area of litigation that aids in the recovery of these assets.
The process of settling a deceased person’s estate can be easy or complicated. Without a comprehensive estate plan in place, the settlement will occur through a state’s probate court. This involves court and lawyer fees and results in delays of beneficiary disbursements. With a Revocable Living Trust, the process is much less complicated and can often be handled quickly and efficiently.
Phelps LaClair, serving Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler, has been helping people with elder law needs for 40 years. We are here to answer your questions regarding elder care planning and elder law. Your first consultation with us is free, so don’t wait: give us a call. There will be no better time than now to create or update an estate plan for your golden years.