If you had a contract dispute, you would seek out an attorney who practices contract law. If you found yourself charged with committing a crime, you would want an attorney to represent you who focuses his/her practice on criminal law. Because it is a relatively new area of the law, however, you may not recognize when you need the assistance of an elder law attorney. To make sure you recognize that need if it arises, the Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group, APC offer five reasons why you might need an elder law attorney.
What Is Elder Law?
In answer to the growing population of older Americans, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA, was formed in the late 1980s to better serve the growing segment of the population made up of older Americans. Five years after the creation of NAELA, the National Elder Law Foundation was formed. The purpose of the non-profit NELF was to help improve the professional skills of attorneys who choose to focus on elder law. Toward that end, NELF then developed a national certification program for attorneys known as the Certified Elder Law Attorney, or CELA, certification program. Attorneys who wish to gain certification in elder law may do so through a rigorous and selective certification program recognized by the American Bar Association and administered by NELF. CELA certification indicates that an attorney has chosen to focus on elder law issues.
5 Examples of When You Might Need an Elder Law Attorney
Unlike most other types of attorneys, an elder law attorney does not strive to become an expert on one narrow area of the law. Instead, an elder law attorney works at understanding how numerous areas of the law impact the elderly and those who care for them. Consequently, there are a wide variety of legal matter that might call for the assistance of an elder law attorney, including these five examples:
- Estate planning. Every adult should have a comprehensive estate plan in place; however, the need for estate planning typically increases with age. By the time you reach your retirement years your estate plan should be well grounded and all-inclusive. An elder law attorney can help you make any changes or modifications to your plan that are called for as you age.
- Guardianship/conservatorship. If you are concerned that an elderly loved one can no longer safely care for himself/herself and/or manage his/her finances, it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship/conservatorship. An elder law attorney can help you make the difficult decision to become a guardian/conservator.
- Incapacity planning. As a senior, you should incorporate an incapacity planning component into your estate plan to ensure that your wishes will be honored if you reach at point at which you are unable to express those wishes because of Alzheimer’s or another incapacitating condition.
- Long-term care/Medicaid planning. The high cost of long-term care (LTC) often results in the need to rely on Medicaid to help pay for that care. Qualifying for Medicaid, however, can put your assets at risk if you failed to plan by incorporating Medicaid planning into your estate plan. An elder law attorney can help you create a Medicaid plan or assist with last minute Medicaid planning strategies if you did fail to plan.
- Nursing home abuse or neglect. As a family member or caregiver, you may come to believe an elderly loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect. If so, an elder law attorney can help you to understand your legal options which may include filing a civil lawsuit against the facility.
Contact Los Angeles Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact the experienced Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.