Elder Law Attorneys

Elder Law Attorney Protects the Elderly

As a top-rated Elder Law attorney, Gary Altman, is an advocate for the elderly and their loved ones. He specializes in finding legal solutions to the many complex issues that affect the aging population.

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.

What does an Elder Lawyer Do?

senior couple hand in hand walking on beach

Elder law attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in helping seniors with issues specific to their needs. This often includes navigating the increasingly complex laws and regulations around aging populations and requires a broad understanding of both federal and state elder law.

What type of Elder Law Services do you provide?

Elder law services range from financial planning to estates to health care and beyond, and attorneys frequently specialize in a particular topic while providing overall counsel for the elderly.

The toll of time and age is something which no one can ultimately avoid. It is a natural part of life, and one which you can prepare for with the best attitude and plans. Far too often, a friend or loved one gets into a position where they can no longer take care of themselves.

Our elder law service will help you understand the tools and legalities of caring for elderly individuals who need assistance in their daily lives. They deserve love and protection. With the right knowledge and support, you can provide that for them.

Elder Law Attorney Questions & Answers

We provide answers to all your Elder Law Questions, such as:

  • How Do I Prove to Medicaid That I Have Been Living with My Mom for Two Years?
  • What Does Medicaid Consider ‘Fair Market Value’ When Selling a House?
  • Does Co-Signing a Student Loan Affect Medicaid Eligibility?
  • How Do We Get Information on a Pending Medicaid Application?
  • Will Small Gifts Really Disqualify My Mother from Medicaid?
  • Can My Mother-in-Law Sell Her House and Buy a New House with Us Without Affecting Her Medicaid Eligibility?
  • How Much Do I Pay My Agent Under a Power of Attorney?
  • Can My Mother’s Agent Under a Power of Attorney Sell Her Belongings?
  • Now That My Daughter Is Married, Should I Change Her Name on My Power of Attorney Form?

Questions to ask your Elder Lawyer

Below are some Questions for an Elder Law Attorney you should ask BEFORE hiring an attorney:

  • How Familiar Are You with the Medicare and Medicaid?
  • Are You One of the Few “Super Lawyers”?
  • Do You Educate Others About Elder Law Issues?
  • Are You a Member of Any Relevant Organizations?
  • How Familiar Are You with the State Laws?
  • Do You Have Experience with Similar Cases?

Elder Care Attorney Fees | Costs

How much are Elder Care Attorney Fees? There are several reasons lawyers cannot or will not answer that question before they meet with the client and assess the client’s situation. Quoting prices ahead of time encourages price shopping and clients deciding based solely on price.

If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you call up ten doctors and ask them how much they would charge for the surgery and radiation, then choose the doctor who charged the least money simply because he charged the least?

Differences in Elder Law Services

There are differences in lawyers’ services. A lawyer who concentrates in one area of the law is more likely to practice that area of the law with greater efficiency and with greater skill. The client of such a lawyer can expect to pay an enhanced fee for that superior quality of work and knowledge.

But prospective clients should have some idea as to what fees a lawyer may charge for work. When lawyers fail to provide prospective clients with any idea as to the fee, clients assume that the fee will be astronomical.

It is critical to ask detailed questions up front about the attorney’s fee structure, including incidentals and retainers, to guarantee there are no surprises.

Differences in Elder Law Rates

Many lawyers charge by the hour. The hourly rate generally varies depending on the person performing the work, with different rates for attorneys, paralegals, and administrative assistants. Others charge predetermined flat rates based on the work, such as preparing a will, filing tax returns, or reviewing documents. Some elder lawyers combine these methods or will work with you to determine the best approach for your needs.

Besides an hourly rate and/or flat fee, elder law attorneys frequently charge fees for incidentals. These may include copies, postage, court fees, deposition fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

An elder law attorney may also ask for a retainer. A retainer is money placed in a trust account before work begins on your case. Each time your attorney bills you, he or she is paid from that account. The retainer may be a small percentage of the final cost up to the amount.

Billing schedules vary among attorneys. Ask your elder lawyer if he or she bills weekly, monthly, or on completion of work, and about your options and timeline for paying the fees.

An Aging Population and Difficult Decisions

As it is widely reported, the U.S. population is aging. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the population aged 65 and older will almost double between 2012 and 2050 – growing from 43.1 million to 83.7 million.

The overall percentage of elderly Americans is expected to more than double in the next twenty years alone. This will place the significant responsibilities associated with caring for the elderly on progressively less and less family members and friends.

Deciding that a loved one needs assistance in their daily lives is a difficult decision to make. There are many factors to consider, such as whether the person needs to be in a nursing home with 24-hour care, whether they can live in their current home with assistance, which family members will oversee their care, and who will be responsible for any assets the person might have.

Elder law is a unique, comprehensive area of the law which addresses these important considerations in the face of an elderly loved one who needs assistance. These considerations often have serious emotional and financial consequences for families and can lead to problematic legal situations. With such difficult decisions and an aging population elder law is an important and growing area of the law.

Elder Law Planning and Preparedness 

The time to think about elder law issues is not when a loved one needs significant assistance. Rather, every individual should factor elder law considerations into their retirement and estate plans many years earlier.

Even the best laid plans can change but having a plan and including your friends and family in the discussion will help facilitate a smoother transition later.

People who are well-prepared for their aging can use traditional retirement and estate planning tools to direct and support their lifestyle – even if they need significant assistance. Among the questions a family should closely examine are:

  • What type of setting would the individual prefer if they need significant care, and is this something the family can support?
  • Which family member(s) will be entrusted with the individual’s care, or is there a situation where an outside party may need to assume this role?
  • To what extent will the individual have assets to support the significant costs associated with aging and assistance?
  • What will Medicare cover, and what will it not?
  • If disagreements regard living arrangements, financial matters, or medical decisions among family members, how will these be resolved?
  • What should a family member entrusted with an individual’s care sign or agree to, and what should they not?
  • How will the family guard against abuse of the elderly individual or financial indiscretions with the individual’s assets?

Choosing an Elder Law Attorney

The realization that a family member can no longer care for themselves rarely happens in a calm, emotionally detached manner. Instead, some unfortunate event or trauma occurs which compels the family to act.

In these times, emotions can run high and normally objective minds can be clouded by an over-arching concern for the elderly individual and the overall family dynamic. This transition period is fraught with potentially harmful legal situations.

Caring for the elderly is a big and growing business in the U.S., especially with an aging population. Like all businesses, groups that offer care and assistance to the elderly need to ensure revenue and will often use tactics which render a family member personally and financially liable for the care of an elderly individual.

Do not agree to or sign any document without carefully reviewing it and understanding the financial and legal ramifications. Choosing an experienced elder law attorney can make all the difference.  

The law protects elderly individuals who cannot care for themselves. It is our job to help you understand the elder law.

Difficult Decisions – You’re Not Alone

When facing difficult decisions regarding advanced aging, do not act alone. We advocate for elderly individuals and their families in times of need.  To schedule a time to meet with Altman & Associates, call (301) 468-3220 or submit an inquiry on our site.

We will help you plan for and address even the worst elder law situations, such as professional or family member impropriety in the care of an elderly individual.  Gary Altman is a founding member of the Academy of Special Needs which includes elder law issues.

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