Elder law is a legal specialty focused on helping seniors and their caregivers make the best choices for their finances, care, and estate planning. As the eldest members of the Baby Boom begin to retire, and even the youngest have blown out fifty candles, the ranks of seniors in Colorado will continue to grow. It is important that older Coloradans, and their caregivers, have legal guidance that takes into account their particular needs.
Simple and innocent missteps in financial, legal, and health care planning can lead to disproportionately large and negative outcomes. One example involves long-term care and how it can deplete assets. Failure to plan for the possibility that long-term care will be needed may mean that assets will need to be “spent down” so that you can receive the needed care. Taking relatively simple measures can preserve wealth for your use, or that of your family.
What Does Elder Law Include?
Because elder law attorneys regularly deal with the needs of an aging population, they have a “road map” for situations seniors and their caregivers may encounter, and can them help avoid unanticipated pitfalls. Some of the issues you might address in a consultation with an elder law attorney include:
- Making sure your will, trusts, and other estate planning documents are current, and that they are the right tools to accomplish your goals and avoid unnecessary taxes and legal issues.
- Confirming that you are getting the best value and coverage from your health insurance choices, including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, disability and prescription coverage.
- Appealing an adverse determination or denial of claim from an insurer.
- Managing the cost of assisted living or long term care.
- Ensuring that your rights as a nursing home patient, or those of a loved one, are being honored.
- Granting legal power to make your medical and financial decisions to the right people in the event you become incapacitated and can no longer make your own decisions.
- Setting up durable powers of attorney (POA), living wills, and health care directives.
- Coordinating income sources to make sure you’re getting the most benefit from your investments, pensions, retirement plans, and Social Security, and efficiently passing benefits on to survivors.
Getting a guardian or conservator appointed to handle the affairs of an incapacitated senior.
You, or a loved one for whom you are caring, may not need legal help with all of these issues. There is, however, a learning curve involved in coordinating a senior’s needs. Seniors and their caregivers often deal with private, state, and federal government agencies, and the many complex laws and regulations that apply to them. An elder law attorney can make this process much easier.
Advantages of Using an Elder Law Attorney
In addition to their experience with the legal, financial, and health care needs of seniors, elder care attorneys often take a more holistic, or “big picture” approach. Instead of focusing on a single problem or issue, an elder care attorney is likely to be attuned to how one issue, such as how a piece of property is titled, may affect another, such as a senior’s ability to qualify for Medicaid. An elder law attorney is dedicated to helping you manage a number of issues so that you, or your loved one, can have the best possible quality of life.
If you have concerns about the legal, health, and financial issues you may encounter as you age, or about issues an older loved one is experiencing, contact the experienced elder law, estate planning and probate attorneys at Davis Schilken. Call us at 303-670-9855 to arrange a consultation at one of our two locations in The Denver Tech Center and Golden, Colorado. We look forward to working with you.