An Overview of Elder Law in New York
Elder law is a specialized area within the legal field that concerns itself with the goals and challenges of the aging population. Seniors face issues that are specific to the life stage they are in and elder law seeks to provide full support for senior needs. Elder law can cover legal, financial, healthcare, and safety matters for the elderly. At Morgan Legal Group, P.C., our elder law attorneys have years of experience assisting seniors with different legal concerns. We fully understand the wide range of issues that need to be taken care of as a person ages and can help guide clients through these step by step. Whether a client needs to create or update their estate plan, create a financial strategy for long-term care, or set up a medical power of attorney, we’re here to ensure that their affairs are in order and that their needs are taken care of.
If you or a loved one has questions about an area of elder care, reach out to our elder law attorneys at Morgan Legal Group, P.C. We’re happy to consult with clients and their families and provide them with expert legal assistance.
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Questions And Answers
An elder law attorney provides assistance with a variety of legal issues that are specific to the elderly. Many of these issues encompass different legal and financial areas. As such, an elder law attorney must have a wide range of expertise in all matters that concern seniors. Estate planning, healthcare, long-term care planning, guardianship, and advanced directives are just some of the areas an elder law attorney can help with. In addition, because of the delicate nature of some of the challenges faced by the elderly, an elder law attorney can provide the necessary assistance with the utmost sensitivity and care.
One of the tasks of an elder law attorney is to assist clients with preparations for their medical care later in life. Most people want to decide for themselves how they wish to be cared for under certain circumstances. This is particularly true when it comes to end-of-life care. End-of-life care, as the name implies, refers to care that is aimed at providing comfort to an individual towards the end of their life. This type of care is distinct as its purpose is not curative. The goal of end-of-life care is to ensure that a person in their final stages of life passes on with comfort and dignity. An elder law attorney can be consulted to look into different options for end-of-life care such as hospice, palliative sedation, pain management, and decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments, to name a few. With any decision regarding end-of-life care, it is extremely important to consult with an elder law attorney and have these decisions legally documented in a living will as well as a medical power of attorney.
Within estate planning, asset and wealth preservation are areas that become more important the older a person gets. This is because there are more things to prepare for such as long-term care, increased health care needs, conservation of a home or other important assets, to name a few. There are a number of options for seniors to safeguard their assets. However, the strategies to be implemented will largely depend on a person’s individual situation and goals. For example, a healthy, independent senior who wishes to pay for a grandchild’s college tuition in the future might create a trust in which they can establish specific terms such as when and how often their grandchild can receive funds from the trust. As another example, a senior whose requires round-the-clock medical care and seeks to qualify for long-term care through Medicaid can have an elder law attorney create a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust in order to reduce and secure their assets while qualifying for the program. There are a number of other ways to protect a person’s assets such as wills, trusts, life estate, etc. Again, the planning tools to be used for safeguarding assets will be determined by individual circumstances and objectives.
As a person gets older, it becomes very important to draft certain legal documents in preparation for the decline of health that happens with age. One of these includes power of attorney. This is an important document that allows an individual to designate a person of trust to make decisions about their finances, health, or children’s care on their behalf should they become unable to do so while living. These decisions carry the same legal weight as if they were being made by the principal (the person who had the power of attorney created). However, failing to establish a power of attorney means that if an elderly person becomes incapacitated or disabled, another person such as a family member, will have to petition for a guardian to be appointed. A guardian essentially takes over the incapacitated person’s affairs and administers them under the supervision of a court. While a guardian is usually expected to respect a person’s wishes, this is not always possible, and they will carry out their duty as they see fit. This is why it is so important for seniors to prepare a power of attorney and ensure that their wishes are carried out.
Although it is a federal program, each state operates Medicaid a little differently. In general, however, most states offer home healthcare and personal care services to Medicaid recipients living at home. Home healthcare delivers at-home medical check-ins and services provided by certified healthcare professionals such as nurses or physicians. This type of service prioritizes a person’s medical needs that can range from blood pressure checks to post-operative wound care. Personal care service, on the other hand, focuses on non-medical assistance. The services provided under personal care may vary, but mostly consist of basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating.