Geriatric attorneys assist elderly or disabled clients with legal issues specific to their stage of life. They help with complex healthcare issues, long-term care options, retirement, estate planning, and more. While a GP may have an understanding of the needs of older people, an experienced and compassionate elderly lawyer is the most reliable bet.
Here are some examples of services provided by senior lawyers:
Financial Planning and Asset Preservation
No matter what your cash or assets are worth, you don’t want to see a single penny going to creditors, the government or bogus nursing home bills. Many people prefer to choose how their assets are distributed after death. A qualified law firm can help you determine the best asset preservation strategy based on your financial situation and long-term goals. Some of the things you will discuss include:
– Avoid probate fees
– Minimize income, inheritance and gift taxes
– immunity from judgment
– Planning for long-term care expenses
Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts serve different purposes when it comes to your estate planning. Both can be useful, but you need to understand the pros and cons of each. Highlights include:
– A will takes effect after your death, whereas a trust takes effect when you create it.
– The will goes through probate, which means the court will oversee the process. Trusts do not go through probate. Courts are not involved allowing the terms of a trust to remain private, whereas a will is a public document.
– Trusts allow you to designate your assets and property to others before you die, which may help with planning for illness or saving taxes.
– A will can name guardians for minor children and can also include provisions for funeral arrangements.
Your attorney can help you determine whether one or both documents are appropriate for your situation.
Healthcare and Long Term Care
No one likes to think about the possibility of getting sick or disabled as they age, but it’s wise to plan ahead. If you are unable to make medical decisions on your own, you will want to develop a plan detailing your medical care needs. Laws may vary from state to state, but some basic health-related paperwork you may wish to discuss with a senior attorney includes:
– Health Care Proxy/Power of Attorney: This document designates a person with legal authority to convey a person’s medical instructions. This is especially important if family members may not agree to treatment options in critical situations.
– Advance Directive: This may be included in a health care proxy, or it may be an entirely separate document. It details the specific type of care the client wants. For example, if the patient is comatose or in a vegetative state, they wish to be placed on life support, and instructions for Do Not Resuscitate (DNO) documentation.
– Living Will: This document includes instructions about a person becoming terminally ill or in a permanent vegetative state and specifies when life-sustaining treatment should be discontinued. It differs from a health care proxy because a life well only takes effect when the person is completely incapacitated.
These are just a few of the many emotional and challenging areas that a senior attorney can guide you through. Having a plan for your senior year means you can rest assured that your wishes will be honored.
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