Elder Law Lawyers in Chesterfield, MO, Serving the Legal Needs of Senior Citizens and Their Families
The average life expectancy in the United States has risen continually over the past few decades, with an ever-increasing percentage of older Americans living well into their 80s and 90s. Older citizens have unique legal needs that span across several law practice areas, and an Elder Law attorney is well-equipped to cater to all of them. Learn how Elder Law works and how getting help from an Elder Law attorney can be beneficial for you or your aging loved one.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder Law is a more recently created practice area that focuses on the clients it serves rather than on a particular case type. The primary focus of Elder Law is to cater to the diverse legal needs of senior citizens and their families.
Because aging citizens may not only need legal guidance when facing a dispute but also when planning for their future, protecting their assets, and even planning for nursing home care, an Elder Law attorney is well-versed in a variety of elder law issues and legal areas ranging from estate planning to long-term care and Medicaid planning. Most Elder Law or Elder Care attorneys can also be invaluable guidance sources for families with aging loved ones who need legal information, financial planning, and resources to support and protect their loved ones as they get older.
What Can an Elder Law Attorney Do for a Senior Citizen?
An Elder Law lawyer focuses on the rights of aging citizens through every stage they may go through later in life. For example, if an individual has just retired and would like to review their estate plans, an Elder Law attorney can help guide them through the process to ensure that their plans are still in alignment with their goals and financial situation. If a senior citizen is facing a negative situation involving elder abuse or exploitation, an attorney can represent them to ensure their rights are protected.
Another example is when senior citizens and their families are worried about a potential healthcare crisis and would like to make plans to preserve their aging loved ones’ financial well-being while providing them with the healthcare they need. In this case, an Elder Law attorney could assist with the steps needed to qualify the senior citizen to receive government benefits and Medicaid eligibility without exposing their estate to Medicaid estate recovery.
Can an Elder Law Lawyer Take Care of Estate Planning?
The majority of Elder Law attorneys are well-versed in the area of estate planning, but unlike an attorney that solely focuses on estate planning, an Elder Law lawyer can provide a more encompassing approach to help senior citizens not just with estate planning needs but with all other legal matters they may encounter along the way.
Senior citizens have worked hard their entire lives to build their estates and acquire their assets. An Elder Law lawyer can help seniors with the planning and tools they need to ensure they will get to age comfortably and reap the rewards of their lifelong hard work. Elder Law lawyers focus on ensuring seniors get to access the care they need while they are still alive without draining all their finances and preserving their legacy so they have something to pass on to the next generation. All of this can be done in addition to traditional estate planning (which typically includes writing a last will, creating trusts, and other tools).
Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me Seek Guardianship for a Loved One?
Another aspect an Elder Law attorney can assist clients with is establishing guardianship for an aging loved one who has become mentally incapacitated and unable to manage their own finances or make important life decisions on their own. This can occur when an older person is diagnosed with deteriorating conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
A guardianship allows a family member to become responsible for all of their loved one’s affairs. The guardian is given the authority to handle their loved one’s finances, make decisions, sign legal documents, and manage their loved one’s assets. However, seeking court approval for a conservatorship is usually a complicated and often overwhelming task that starts with the older adult being deemed incapacitated by the court. There are a lot of requirements that need to be fulfilled and paperwork to be submitted in order for someone to be appointed as a conservator. An Elder Law attorney can provide crucial insights and knowledge to guide you through the process – from helping you decide whether a conservatorship is right for your loved one to represent you in courtroom proceedings.
Can an Elder Law Attorney Help With Elder Abuse Cases?
Any person who harms an elderly individual through willfully negligent actions or harmful actions carried out on purpose may have committed elder abuse. Unfortunately, many senior citizens are the target of abuse at the hands of a caregiver they trust. Besides physical abuse and actions that may cause intentional injuries and impairment, seniors can also be victims of emotional and psychological abuse as well as financial abuse.
An elder law attorney can assist with the process of investigating the abusive situation, pinpointing a responsible party, and taking steps to not only stop the abuse but also to seek compensation from the individual or entity (such as a nursing home) responsible for the abuse. If you suspect a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, take action and call the Missouri Elder Abuse Hotline, then reach out to an Elder Law attorney such as the ones at the Mid-America Law Practice, LLC as soon as possible.
When Should I Consult an Elder Law Attorney?
As you can see, an Elder Law attorney can assist seniors and their families with a wide variety of legal services. However, while many clients seek legal help when facing a crisis situation, the best approach is to be proactive and reach out to an Elder Law lawyer before your loved one becomes too ill or incapacitated to participate in the process of planning for their care later in life.
By starting early and having the plan to protect your loved one’s wishes for long-term care, safeguard their financial well-being and determine how they want their assets to be divided after death, you will be bringing yourself and your family greater peace of mind and will spend less time worrying about any uncertainties the future may hold. At Mid-America Law Practice, LLC, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to serve seniors and their families, ensuring their rights are protected and that they are able to enjoy life to the fullest and leave a legacy for the next generation. Reach out to our law office in Chesterfield, MO, at (314) 347-3567 and request a free consultation to learn how we can help you.