Elder Law Explained

201709.07

Old man with young womanThere are a number of specialized fields in law.

One of those is elder law. It is a group of laws related to specific issues that affect the elderly. Unfortunately, there are times when elder law is violated. That can occur when an elderly person is mistreated, abused or neglected and is a very serious offense that can lead to incarceration of the perpetrator. Anyone who is arrested for violation of elder law in this manner should immediately get in touch with a bail bonds company to secure bail bonds for release from jail. No matter what the situation, however, it is important to know exactly what elder law entails and the various topics that encompass the law.

Guardianship, Conservatorship and Financial Administration

When an elderly person becomes incapable of caring for himself or herself any longer, it is a tricky situation. A person can become incapacitated because they are affected by an illness that renders them unable to care for themselves. This is a common scenario, which can lead to confusion in some cases.

In general, when an older person becomes disabled or incapacitated, the most common thing to happen is that a court will be called on to appoint a legal guardian. It is a long and detailed process in which the court decides on naming a person as their guardian, someone who can legally make decisions for the individual and manage their affairs. The guardian is responsible for caring for the incapacitated person, who is also known as a ward, and handles their affairs. Those affairs include managing the person’s finances, providing basic necessities, making medical decisions for the individual and decisions on their care in general. A conservator does much of the same as a legal guardian but has limitations when it comes to handling the person’s financial affairs.

Advance Directives, Living Wills and Power of Attorney

A lot of people, as they age, decide to make preparations for their future in the event they ever become ill or disabled in some way and are unable to care for themselves. Advance Health Care Directives allow people to make their wishes known for medical treatment and subsequent care if they ever fall disabled and unable to make their own decisions. There are also living wills, which are legally binding documents that detail exactly what the individual wants in terms of care. This document also names someone they trust, usually a close family member or friend, as power of attorney. The person named as power of attorney has the right to make legal decisions for the individual on their behalf regarding their financial matters and long-term care, such as if the person needs to go to a nursing home.

Health Care and Social Security Issues

One of the most important components of elder law is health care. In many instances, an elderly person is heavily reliant on benefits like Medicare or other programs available in their state as those can be important to their overall health, well-being, and welfare. When there are disputes over medical care due to medical malpractice, such as injuries, it is a great concern and major legal area that commonly affects elderly people. In addition, concerns about patients’ rights regarding care while they are in hospitals and nursing homes are equally common.

Sometimes, unfortunately, there are problems in an older person getting their Social Security benefits or having benefits transferred to their spouse or dependents. When that occurs, applying for Social Security benefits can be done through an attorney. Individuals who are disabled can also apply for Social Security disability benefits. Applications for these benefits and the process of appealing decisions from the Social Security Administration that are negative are frequently grouped into the category of elder law.

Estate Planning

Estate planning and administration is one of the oldest areas of elder law. It involves the transfer of somebody’s property to their beneficiaries after their death and usually takes place through the probate process. Unfortunately, probate is typically a long and often complex process. Lawyers are usually involved throughout the entire matter. Although estate planning is an area of the law on its own, it is one common in elder law as well.

Estate planning takes a variety of forms, although most people will create a will to determine how their property is distributed after their death. When a will is drafted, it usually includes an executor who manages and distributes the estate as well. This varies depending on the state.

If you need assistance with an elder law issue, it’s important to contact an experienced elder law attorney. The lawyer can help you in any of these areas and represent you in a case involving elder abuse.