As people age, they will likely face different challenges in life. Some of these challenges may have to do with financial planning, health care needs and wants, housing, and more. Navigating through these issues can be difficult, and while there are advocacy groups such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys that focus on policy and advocacy on a larger scale, within that realm there are also individual attorneys who specialize in elder law.
What defines elder law?
There are certain protections afforded seniors that are not quite the same as they are for other age groups. There are also a number of legal issues that face aging individuals. These could include powers of attorney, living wills, and more.
As defined by NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys):
“Elder and Special Needs Law are specialized areas of law that involve representing, counseling, and assisting seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from estate planning to long term care issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for the individuals. Typically, Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys address the client’s perspective from a holistic viewpoint by addressing legal, medical, financial, social and family issues.”
There are numerous topics that can all fall under the purview of elder law, including insurance, disability planning, age discrimination, Medicare and Medicaid, estate planning, retirement benefits, and much more.
Many of the elder law attorneys who operate in a local region somewhere in the country also provide these legal services to those with special needs, whether they are in their twenties, forties, or older.
Promoting Planning for the Future
One of the most vital aspects to elder law attorneys is the prospect of properly planning for the future rather than advocating during a potential crisis. So many aspects can affect daily life for an elderly individual, from a health emergency, loss of mobility, and even requiring modifications to a home in order for them to remain safe there.
By planning ahead and making the appropriate provisions, seniors and their families can be better prepared for what may occur in the future. This doesn’t mean once a living will is established or a guardianship or power of attorney is assigned that these would be utilized, but it helps make the necessary provisions for the senior to be clear on what he or she wants and alleviate some stress and anxiety from loved ones who may struggle to determine the best course of action during a crisis.
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