What is a “Elder Law Attorney”?

When it comes to matters of older adults’ legal matters, not just any attorney will suffice. It is best to retain the services of an attorney who specializes in issues relating to older adults.  “Elder Law Attorneys” specifically assist older adults and individuals living with disabilities. They also are powerful allies to family members dealing with the issues involving older relatives. Many issues involve long-term care for the older family member.

To be certain that your attorney has the proper qualifications, you can look for a designation called “CELA”.  Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) are certified to have expertise and experience with the planning issues of older adults.

The types of issues with which an elder law attorney may helpful include:

  • Estate planning including Wills Living Wills, Powers of Attorney (financial and health) and Trusts.
  • Probate and estate administration
  • Long-term care planning
  • Medicaid planning, including asset management to determine eligibility.
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships for situation where you may become physically or mentally incapacitated.

It may be wise to take a pass on services that offer free advice and do-it-yourself wills.  You may find that the planning was not done properly or takes a one-size-fits-all approach. By working with a certified elder law attorney, you will have more confidence that you have solid plans in place if or when you need them.

Many elder law attorneys offer free or moderately priced initial consultations. Generally elder law legal work is priced on a flat rate.  You will always know what it will cost to complete the legal work before signing a letter of engagement with the attorney.

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