In short, and elder law attorney is simply an advocate for the elderly and their loved ones. He or she works to plan and administer a multitude of matters specifically affecting the elderly population, or disabled persons. These issues can include long-term care planning, end of life directives, health care issues, retirement accounts, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, guardianship matters and more.
Elder law is a specialized field in that rules are often different once a person reaches a certain age. For example, Social Security disability grid rules change when a person turns 55. Health insurance options change as we grow older, as does our need for assistance in simple day to day living. Elder law attorneys handle all of these matters, making them a valuable and necessary part of growing older.
An often overlooked aspect of elder law is the need for an emotionally neutral party in sensitive decisions. When those we love get older, and we see them begin to decline, emotions often well up and affect our ability to make clear headed decisions. An attorney is able to look at the best interests of the family as a whole and assist in making the most beneficial decision for all involved.
Because of the plethora of work an elder law attorney may be involved in, he or she may bill hourly or at a flat rate. For example, a single task such as drafting a last will and testament and durable power of attorney may bill at a single flat rate. However, a task such as locating long-term care facilities and determining suitability may take an unknown amount of time, and therefore may be billed hourly. At the end of the day, there are many significant decisions to be made when we become elderly. An elder law attorney can offer peace of mind in many ways and is a great asset to any family.