An Elder Law attorney in Los Angeles CA is one that specializes on legal issues relating primarily to seniors. Elder Law did not become a well-recognized specialty until the 1980s, when legal issues that affected seniors became more complex. Difficulties in qualifying for Medi-Cal coverage in the face of nursing home care needs were on the rise.
Elder law attorneys are specially trained and experienced in legal issues that affect seniors, making them better suited for understanding the needs of their clients. They are also better able to anticipate future problems facing seniors. The practice of elder law requires not only legal advocacy, but also education, counseling and future planning. Elder law attorneys work closely with client and their families in an effort to address each client’s specific needs and goals. These attorneys need to become familiar with the health care needs of their client as well as the family dynamics. This unique insight allows elder law attorneys to be better able to comprehensively address their client’s needs.
Another important area of expertise of most elder law attorneys is the ability to maintain a good working knowledge of the problems commonly affecting the senior population. They must also develop the wisdom to recognize the common myths related to aging and the competency of seniors in general. Elder law attorneys are keen enough to recognize the actual mental and physical challenges of seniors, while embracing the importance of freedom and autonomy. Staying informed about the changes in the laws affecting seniors and maintaining connections with the useful network of professionals who routinely provide services to the elderly is a professional duty. An elder law attorney’s advocacy often goes beyond simply drafting legal documents.
Common legal areas handled by an elder law attorney in Los Angeles CA
As with any specialty, there are particular areas of the law that are common to elder law attorneys. Some of those include the following:
- Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage for long-term care
- Estate planning and administration
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Establishing and administering various types trusts
Medicare and Medi-Cal are both healthcare assistance programs provided by the government. Medicare is more of an insurance program available to people over the age of 65, regardless of their income. It is also available to younger individuals who are disabled and patients on dialysis. Because Medicare is a federal program, the eligibility requirements and benefits are pretty much the same everywhere in the United States.
Medi-Cal, on the other hand, is based on economic need, regardless of age. The eligibility requirements and benefits are different in each state, because Medi-Cal is controlled by state and local governments within guidelines set by the federal government.
Estate planning involves drafting and executing various legal documents designed specifically to avoid probate, reduce estate and gift taxes and protect assets.
Guardianships and conservatorships may be required when an adult becomes mentally impaired or unable to make their own decisions for any reason. The guardian is appointed and given the authority to make legal, financial and/or healthcare decisions on behalf of the incompetent adult.
Trusts are legal documents that give a chosen trustee the authority to manage your assets for the benefit of your potential heirs. Testamentary trusts can be established by your will and do not become effective until you die. Inter vivos trusts are created while you are still living and are either revocable or irrevocable.
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