Senior law attorneys address legal issues that arise as a result of the aging process. The law of the elderly is a fairly large umbrella and covers the areas that are most practical for the problems faced by older people. Here are the top five ways these attorneys can help seniors:
– 1. Financial abuse of the elderly. These are cases where financial predators use undue influence, manipulation, and coercion to take property and money from the elderly who have diminished mental capacity. Perpetrators can by anyone, but are generally family members, caregivers, or friends who have more access to the elderly and are less likely to be challenged by outsiders.
– 2. Abuse in nursing homes. The abuse or neglect of a nursing home patient generally results from inadequate staffing where there are too many patients and not enough nursing assistants. Sometimes this is a conscientious policy on the part of the nursing home owner that puts corporate profits before patient care. Fortunately, there are many legal remedies available to stop these wrongdoing and compensate the older victim for the injuries sustained.
– 3. Custodies. When an elder can no longer make sound health care and financial decisions, and there are no other alternatives available, the court may be asked to establish a guardianship and appoint someone who has the legal authority to make such decisions. This is a complicated process, but it provides a solution to help an elderly person who can no longer protect himself.
– 4. Estate planning. “Living trusts,” powers of attorney for health care and financial decisions, and wills are the main documents that make up a person’s estate plan. These written instructions help the elderly client both during and after life. A proper succession plan can also avoid the need to establish a guardianship if the elder is unable to make wise decisions. These documents grant all the necessary legal authority to carry out the elder’s affairs, without having to seek the participation of a court.
– 5. Medi-Cal Planning. This term applies to California residents and involves the process of getting Medi-Cal benefits to pay for the skyrocketing costs of long-term care in a skilled nursing facility. Planning involves three stages: (1) Complete analysis of the client’s financial status to develop a written strategy to obtain eligibility, reduce any part of the cost, and avoid recovery claims; (2) Execution of the written strategy; and (3) Completion of the application process. Medi-Cal law is complicated and requires an attorney experienced in the nuances of the various rules and regulations.
There are many other subfields that fall under the umbrella of elder law. Each has its own peculiar application and importance as a piece of the elder’s law puzzle. This short article has addressed just the top five ways that senior law attorneys can help their clients.