Estate Planning & Elder Law FAQ

What is an Elder Law Attorney?

Elder Law is a specialized areas of law that involve representing, counseling, and assisting seniors, as well as people with disabilities, and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from estate planning to long term care issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for the individuals. Typically, Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys address the client’s perspective from a holistic viewpoint by addressing legal, medical, financial, social and family issues.

Some of the areas that elder law attorneys practice in are:

My parent needs nursing home care. What should I do?

Witnessing a parent’s failing health is emotionally very difficult for most children.  And the decision to place a parent in a nursing home can be a very painful decision to make.  Most parents want to remain in their home, but it may no longer be a safe environment for them to live in.  Their doctors may have concluded that they need 24 hour care.  Now is the time to schedule an appointment to see us.  We have guided literally hundreds of families through similar circumstances.  We will provide expert advice on how best to qualify for benefits as early as possible and we have experience in dealing with the more difficult eligibility questions that can arise.  We are known for our compassionate approach to long term care planning and will maintain a high level of service through what is often a long, grueling process.  Call us for a consultation today.

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My child has a disability. What is a special needs trust?

Special needs trusts (also known as “supplemental needs” trusts) are an important component of planning for a disabled child (even though the child may be an adult by the time the trust is created or funded). These trusts allow a disabled beneficiary to receive inheritances, gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds and yet not lose her eligibility for certain government programs, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The trusts are drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining her eligibility for public benefits.

My loved one passed away and I am the executor? What should I do?

Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing a person’s property (the “estate”) after death.  If the person had a will, the will goes through probate, which is the process by which the deceased person’s property is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will). The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year.

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