What is elder law?
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes on issues that affect the aging population. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the elderly person for financial freedom and autonomy through proper financial planning and long-term care options. The three major categories that make up elder law are:
- Estate planning and administration, including tax questions;
- Medicaid, disability and other long-term care issues; and
- Guardianship, conservatorship and commitment matters, including fiduciary administration.
Wills, Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives are the bedrock of estate planning and elder law. In many cases, development of trusts - revocable and irrevocable, are critical elements of the process.
Medicaid Planning is a process engaged for purposes of asset protection by analyzing an individual's assets and determining what assets would be subject to Medicaid "Spend-Down" should they become disabled and require benefits.
Guardianship: will typically arise where someone determines that a senior has become unable to care for their own person and/or property.
Conservatorship: a Conservator is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age.