It’s a common misconception that a senior who already has an estate plan prepared has no need for an elder law attorney. While estate planning and elder law do share some similarities, speaking to an elder law attorney is the best way to prepare for the challenges that aging can bring.
How Elder Law Attorneys Help Seniors With the Challenges of Aging
In the simplest terms, the difference between estate planning and elder law is that estate planning focuses on what happens after a person passes away, and elder law focuses on helping seniors age with dignity. Elder law takes a holistic approach to meet each client’s unique needs, but some of the issues an elder law attorney may help with include:
- Evaluating care options within the community, including options for home healthcare, assisted living, nursing home care, and hospice
- Implementing Medicaid planning strategies to preserve assets for adult children and/or a spouse remaining at home
- Helping to apply for applicable veterans benefits, such as VA Aid & Attendance, to help pay for long-term care needs
- Ensuring power of attorney and advance healthcare directives are in place
- Obtaining a conservatorship if a person’s health has already declined and no power of attorney documents are in place
- Providing representation when making claims related to elder abuse or fraud
Elder law attorneys often handle estate planning tasks as well, but an estate planning attorney won’t necessarily handle elder law. Ask questions about your attorney’s education and experience to ensure you’re choosing someone who is well-equipped to meet your legal needs.
It is best to contact an elder law attorney before a senior’s health starts to decline because many planning strategies take time to implement properly. However, an elder law attorney can still be of assistance if a sudden change in health has resulted in the need for immediate action.
Do You Need Help With An Elder Law Issue In Virginia?
If you need to speak with an experienced elder law attorney in Virginia please feel free to contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.