This past May, I celebrated National Elder Law Month. And by celebrated, I mean I went about my daily routine as usual. Because for me, and many other elder law attorneys out there, we create awareness and help provide legal counsel to elders and their families year round.
However, the dedication of this month brings to mind just how little is known or considered about elder law and the effects it has on those it serves.
More than age
While elder law is a practice area focusing on senior citizens, many people don’t realize it’s not just about age. It’s also about helping elders navigate through incredibly complex systems, such as applying for and receiving their Medicaid benefits.
Although this is an important facet of elder law, and Medicaid brings in more clients than almost anything beyond death (probate) and incapacity (guardianship), much of what elder lawyers do also includes: Veterans’ Administration benefits, estate planning, Social Security, retirement and disability benefits, and counseling on retirement community entrance agreements.
Lesser known, not less important
Most of my clients have worked hard for decades—sometimes since they were small children—and have never been able to accumulate much wealth. Their families may not be able to care for them, or they may not have families willing to dedicate the time and resources it takes for proper care. That’s why elder law matters.
Lawyers work to ensure the public benefits created to support the elderly and disabled are obtained for those who need them most. Today, as the population grows older and families grow smaller, fewer children are left to care for aging parents. Elder law is integral in finding seniors public benefits to help them through life’s later years securely.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to help
Elders are often easy targets for scams. Even certain elder law attorneys can take advantage of them. To prevent a loved one from falling for a less than credible lawyer, visit the websites of the National Academy of Elder Law or Elder Law Answers to help them find committed counsel.
Additionally, advise any elders you know to stay away from attorneys introduced by financial planners who sponsor events, such as free dinners or consultations. These “teams” are often selling a one-size-fits-all approach and don’t care about individual needs.
Although Elder Law Month has ended, I encourage you to continue to spread awareness about this practice area, and always reach out to an attorney with questions.
For more information, contact us at 765-742-9066.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.