Gainesville Elder Law Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Senior Citizens and Helping Safeguard Their Assets for the Future
Elder Law caters to the specific needs of seniors – a significant slice of the American population that is benefiting from improvements in medicine and lifestyle and living longer. It is estimated that the average lifespan of people living in the US today is currently 78.6 years of age, with half of the adults that live past the age of 65 reaching far into their 80’s and women living about 4.9 years longer than men.
What Areas are Covered by an Elder Law Practice?
With more and more Americans living into their 80’s and longer, Elder Law increasingly becomes a sought-after law practice area because it brings together many different areas of law under a single umbrella, allowing seniors and their families to get the legal help and advice they require in order to fulfill their needs. It is the only practice area that focuses on the customers served rather than on specific areas of law. It combines estate planning with many different areas such as real estate, probate, wills, medical directives, guardianships, and Medicaid issues, and may even include legal help for serious claims such as elder abuse and exploitation. The Johnson Law Firm, PC, is proud to offer Elder Law services to seniors and their families in Gainesville, VA and surrounding areas.
Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me Get Guardianship of My Parents With Dementia?
Among the most frequent issues that an elder law attorney deals with is the process of applying for guardianships and conservatorships for an aging relative – usually a parent – who requires care due to dementia or another debilitating condition that affects their mental capacities to make important decisions. A guardianship and/or conservatorship allows a family member to take over the responsibilities of making financial and personal decisions on behalf of their loved one. It is not a straightforward process and requires proper preparation and extensive documentation in order to be accepted in court.
An elder law attorney has the knowledge and skills to assist families with the guardianship application process in Virginia. He or she may also recommend less restrictive options such as a healthcare directive and/or power of attorney. If those are not enough to fulfill the needs of the person needing a guardianship, the individual applying for the guardianship will need to show the court enough evidence documenting that the senior person is unable to manage his or her own financial and personal affairs. Your elder law attorney can advise you on what type of documents and petitions you will need to present to a court.
How Can I Keep My Assets from Being Exhausted on Nursing Home Care?
Another area covered by an elder law attorney is elder care. Traditionally, estate planning is seen as your wishes for what should happen with your assets after death, but in reality, it also includes planning for long-term care in case you become incapacitated during your lifetime. This is an area overlooked by many – lack of proper planning may result in straining your assets in order to pay for services in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
When you hire a knowledgeable elder law attorney, he or she will be capable of recommending the best tools to preserve your assets and ensure you will still have an estate to pass on in case you find yourself needing the services of a long-term care facility. These facilities are known to cost several thousand dollars per month. In Virginia, a nursing home can cost in average over $77,015.00 per year, with monthly costs ranging from $3,510.00 to $11,970.00 or more.
What Can an Elder Law Attorney Do to Help My Family?
Knowing how to qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid or the VA and understanding the eligibility rules that govern each of them is important to avoid surprises later on. An elder law attorney can make recommendations on how you can protect your home and assets from Medicaid estate recovery and still be able to have enough to pass down to your heirs. The key is planning ahead, especially once you’ve reached your retirement age. The Johnson Law Firm, PC, focuses on assisting senior clients in Gainesville, VA and offers elder law services and legal advice personalized to meet your needs. If you are looking to begin your estate plans or need to update them, contact us at (703) 884-8003 for a consultation today.