Elder law is a special area of the law devoted to the legal issues affecting seniors. This specialty includes advocating for seniors on legal issues, as well as counseling, educating, and planning for the future. Elder law requires working closely with clients and their families to accomplish each individual’s specific goals.
Elder law attorneys are trained and experienced to recognize the client’s current legal needs as well as to anticipate issues that may arise down the road. Therefore, a good elder law attorney’s advocacy will always extend beyond simply rendering legal services. Elder law attorneys must remain knowledgeable of the ever-changing laws concerning seniors. It is also good practice for elder law attorneys to stay connected to a network of professionals who routinely provide services for seniors in the community.
Common issues handled by elder law attorneys.
As with many specialties, there are common legal issues that elder law attorneys handle, including:
- Estate planning and administration
- Establishing and administering trusts of various types
- Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage for long-term care
Estate Planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during your lifetime, for the distribution of your estate after your death. The primary purpose is to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of your assets after your death. Estate planning involves drafting and executing legal documents that are designed to avoid probate, save on estate taxes, protect assets and appoint a trusted person to act on your behalf as an agent if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. A trust is a powerful estate planning tool that authorizes someone to manage and protect your assets for the benefit of your heirs.
Sometimes a conservatorship becomes necessary when an adult becomes unable to make decisions on his or her own because of incapacity or a mental impairment. In those situations, a conservator can be appointed to become responsible for making financial, legal and health care decisions on behalf of the one who is impaired.
Medi-Cal is a government program that assists low-income individuals in paying for medically necessary medical services. As we cannot predict when we may need to be placed in a nursing home or if we will require some type of long-term care in the future, establishing a Medi-Cal plan is smart. The cost of extended care facilities in California can be excessive, ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 or more. By establishing a Medi-Cal plan now, you can protect your assets and retain more of your wealth for your family to inherit after your death.
Within the last few years, states have begun increasing the restrictions on who is allowed to receive long-term care coverage under Medi-Cal. For example, in order to be eligible for long-term care under Medi-Cal, you can own a home and a car, and no more than $2,000 in cash. The catch is that the $2,000 limit will include any gifts you have given in the past five years. Therefore, planning ahead is crucial. Let the Los Angeles, California elder law and Medi-Cal planning attorneys in the Schomer Law Group help you create the proper plan for your family’s future.