Blog Article

Elder Law and Senior Living Communities

There are many factors to consider when it comes to yourself or a loved one and being prepared from a legal standpoint as we age or move into Senior Living.

What is “elder law”?

There are several practices that fall under elder law. These include estate planning, asset protection, Medicaid planning, preparing for long-term care and special needs planning. Elder law attorneys help seniors navigate the legal and financial complexities of aging, which include issues such as power of attorney, guardianships, conservatorships, and probate law.

  • Estate Planning

An elder law attorney specializes in a range of legal services related to estate planning, including preparing wills, trusts, health care directives and powers of attorney. An elder law attorney can help an individual understand the legal complexities of estate planning and help them make decisions that will benefit them in the long term.

  • Asset Protection

An an elder law attorney provides asset protection services to help protect seniors and their families from financial harm or loss. An elder law attorney can also help seniors with asset protection strategies such as trusts and other legal documents, as well as helping them navigate the complex tax and legal regulations that govern retirement benefits such as Social Security and Medicare.

  • Medicaid Planning

An elder law attorney can help seniors and their families navigate the complexities of the Medicaid system. This type of planning typically involves creating a plan to preserve assets and income while still qualifying for Medicaid benefits. This can include creating a trust, gifting assets, or transferring assets to a family member. Additionally, elder law Medicaid planning can involve the selection of an appropriate long-term care option, such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, that best meets the individual’s needs and financial situation.

  • Long-term Care Planning

For long-term care planning, an elder law attorney focuses on the care and financial needs of elderly and disabled individuals. It involves creating a plan to ensure their legal and financial needs are met long-term, including things like estate planning, Medicaid planning, and creating guardianships and powers of attorney. It also involves helping families navigate the many laws and regulations related to the care of elderly and disabled individuals.

  • Special Needs Planning

Elder law attorney special needs planning is a type of legal planning that focuses on providing for the needs of individuals with special needs, such as those with physical or mental impairments, developmental disabilities, or chronic health conditions. This type of planning ensures that those individuals have a secure financial future, receive the necessary services and support, and have access to appropriate accommodations. Special needs planning includes drafting documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and guardianships, as well as developing strategies for addressing long-term care, government benefits, and other legal issues.

Why do I need an elder law attorney?

Elder law attorneys have experience in all the areas above, as well as helping protect seniors from individuals or family members that may be taking advantage them of by providing legal advice and representation, helping seniors understand their legal rights, and act on their behalf in court. Elder law attorneys can help seniors protect their assets, enforce their rights, and recognize potential scams.

They can also provide legal advice and representation in cases involving undue influence, financial exploitation and guardianship. In addition, elder law attorneys can help seniors set up trusts, establish power of attorney, and create advance health care directives. By having an elder law attorney on their side, seniors can be better protected from being taken advantage of by family members or scam artists.

Learn more about the benefits of an elder law attorney here.

When should I contact an elder law attorney?

At the age of 60 is when it’s suggested to see an elder law attorney. This is a great time to get all your affairs in order or protect your assets from potential lawsuits. There's even an advantage to doing this at a younger age, so you can set up an estate plan to protect your young children.

I have Power of Attorney for my parent. When does this become effective and what decisions am I able to make?

Your power of attorney (POA) becomes effective when your parent is incapacitated and can no longer make decisions on their own. When this happens, having Financial Power of Attorney would allow you to make the financial decisions on their behalf, and having health care power of attorney would allow you to make decisions related to their healthcare.

What is the difference between a medical and financial power of attorney?

A medical power of attorney is a legal document that grants an individual the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of another person in the event of their disability or incapacitation. This form of power of attorney is also known as a health care proxy or health care power of attorney.

A financial power of attorney, on the other hand, is a legal document that grants another person the authority to manage an individual’s financial and legal affairs in the event of their incapacity or disability. This form of power of attorney is also known as a durable power of attorney.

How often should I update Power of Attorney Papers?

While there isn’t a technical expiration date, it is recommended to update documents every 5 years.

My mother refuses to move into a memory care/assisted living community, but I know she needs to. What needs to be in place for this to happen?

In this situation, the only way to enforce a move would be to obtain guardianship/conservatorship over them. If they will not sign over to you willingly, you will need to obtain it through the court system. An elder law attorney can assist you with the proper steps to take to ensure your parent is getting the care they need.

The information provided on this FAQ sheet was completed with the help of the Rutkowski Law Firm Team. These are examples of the questions they receive most from the community regarding Asset Protection, Estate Planning & Elder Law and does not represent specific legal advice. You should always consult an attorney before making any decisions regarding your planning situation. Call Rutkowski Law Firm today at (248) 791-9193 or visit their website for additional information:

Written By

Rachel Nagorsen

Rachel Nagorsen has worked in the senior industry for the past 20 years. She graduated from Oakland University with a major in Journalism. During her time in college, she was an intern at WDIV and enjoys broadcasting and public speaking. Rachel loves being able to combine her passion for writing with her love for working with seniors. Outside of work, her husband and four small children keep her busy, but during her free time she enjoys to read and exercise!

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