What do you do? This is such a great question. The short answer – Study.
Here’s the longer answer: We work to preserve our clients’ assets and to help them plan for and maintain the lives they’ve always imagined they would have in their senior years. We understand that issues such as housing, health care, insurance, finances, and asset protection are necessarily connected. An Elder Law Attorney knows that a single action -- even if undertaken with the very best of intentions -- could have unintended and unwanted, even disastrous, consequences.
Elder Law encompasses many areas, and the law is constantly evolving. We read and study and stay up-to-date on all sorts of areas of law: Medicaid; Medicare; Veterans’ Benefits; estate and gift tax; income tax; social security/disability benefits; elder abuse; and anything relevant to our clients. Some of us also serve the special needs community, which includes not only our senior clients, but any client who needs careful planned to maximize the benefits available to him and the assets he has managed to preserve for himself. Some of us also provide other services, including bankruptcy and probate actions (conservatorships and guardianships, or trust reformation). Some of us focus on elder abuse and exploitation, both by family members and facilities.
Why? The vast majority of us understand. We’ve been there, or we are there. We have elderly parents, or we cared for our grandparents. We have children or other family members with special needs. Our grandparents, parents, spouses, and children are Veterans. We’ve spent a good bit of time visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities to find the best ones (in our opinions, of course). We read every article as soon as it comes out on any progress with treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. We shop around for the coolest walkers (with the built-in seat for rest and handy basket for sundries, just FYI). We want to take care of ourselves, and we want to make sure our loved ones are taken care of as well. Just like you.
A good number of us used to be litigators or estate planning-only attorneys or prosecutors. Most of us have had that “aha” (or “oh no”) moment when a loved one needed help and we realized that the problem was incredibly complicated, that we knew nothing about it, and that the stakes were the highest we’d ever known.
So now we study and go to classes and watch webinars and talk to our peers, and then we read read read read. We know what you are worried about. We worry with you, and we want to help. That’s an Elder Law Attorney.