Elder law focuses on safeguarding the lifetime personal and financial needs of clients who are aged or disabled. It may include some aspects of traditional estate planning, such as drafting powers of attorney, living wills, and health care surrogate designations. It also may include establishing a guardianship or selecting a pre-need guardian. However, depending on the client’s circumstances, elder law also may involve advising clients about issues related to assisted living or skilled nursing care, personal services contracts, real estate purchases and sales, or eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The primary goal of elder law is to anticipate the future needs of aging clients and their families and create a legal framework for addressing those needs. For example, an older client with a disabled adult child may want to establish a special needs trust to ensure that the child will be cared for after the client’s death, and also will remain eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. An older client anticipating the need for nursing home care may want to create a qualified income trust, explore joint ownership of property, or take other steps to ensure that he or she can retain important assets but still qualify for long-term care through Medicaid.
Attorney Marynelle Hardee can help elder law clients develop unified life care plans to navigate the unique challenges of caring for themselves, their families, and their property as they age.