Put simply, May is for seniors. Since 1963, every May has been designated Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month. The idea has been to both celebrate seniors and provide them with both education and much-needed legal resources for a wide range of senior-specific issues.
The U.S. Administration for Community Living leads the annual observance of Older Americans Month. The occasion is devoted to honoring seniors through ceremonies, events, fairs and similar activities. The theme for 2020 is “Make Your Mark,” which is designed to recognize the many contributions that Older Americans make every day.
National Elder Law Month was furthered by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. It acknowledges the importance of the elder law profession while providing seniors with professional assistance and planning expertise. Even though Covid-19 changes how we celebrate, Elder Law Month involves public seminars, clinics, and other public awareness events. What are the focuses of these resources? Let us share three specific ways elder law attorneys help.
1. Estate Planning. Elder law attorneys are a premier resource for seniors and their families when it comes to estate planning. Typically, this involves drafting or updating wills or trusts in order to safely pass a senior adult’s assets to their loved ones after they die. Estate planning, however, also involves durable powers of attorney, advance health care directives, beneficiary designations, and much more.
2. Elder Abuse. Elder abuse is defined as the mistreatment or harming of an older person. It can be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature, or involve neglect or financial exploitation. Elder abuse can be a single event or occur repeatedly whether in a nursing home-type setting or at the hands of a family caregiver. In any case, it is absolutely unacceptable and elder law attorneys are uniquely equipped to provide guidance.
3. Long-Term Care Planning. Long-term care planning involves preparing for a variety of services that can, or may already, support seniors both medically and non-medically once they require assistance for their activities of daily living. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are two such examples, and elder law attorneys can help maximize available resources. For instance, Medicaid offers long-term care financial assistance but has strict income eligibility requirements. An elder law attorney can help navigate program rules and provide customized options.
Other areas where elder law attorneys can provide assistance include, but are not limited to:
- Social Security Insurance or Disability
- Special needs trusts
- Retirement planning
- Veterans Affairs benefits
We know this blog may raise more questions than it answers. If you or someone you know would like more information or specific guidance on senior legal matters, do not hesitate to contact our law practice. We are here to help.