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What Questions to Ask an Elder Care Attorney

Senior woman walking with granddaughter in park during autumn

Elder care is an important but little-understood area of law. It’s just as important as estate planning, but many people give it little thought until it’s too late. If you are thinking about your plans for long-term care and have a meeting with an elder care attorney, there are a number of important topics you’ll want to cover. Continue reading for tips on what to ask your elder care attorney, and reach out to a seasoned West Palm Beach asset protection and elder law attorney for advice and assistance.

What are the Core Elder Law and Estate Planning Documents I Need?

Planning effectively for your future and the future of your family requires putting together a comprehensive plan addressing long-term care, asset protection, special needs family members, and several other issues. There are a few key documents you and your elder law attorney can put together first, however, to ensure you are covered as soon as possible. Some of these key legal tools include trusts for your benefit and the benefit of specific loved ones, advance health care directives (living will, health care surrogate designation, anatomical donation directive), durable power of attorney, and perhaps a last will and testament.

What Are the Primary Risks to My Financial Security?

Your elder law attorney can help you craft a plan that is specifically tailored to the risks you and your family face. That said, the greatest risk to the finances of most people over the age of 50 is the prohibitive cost of long-term care. If you wind up in nursing care or a long-term care facility, you could have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. If you do not properly plan for those costs, including mitigating the costs, obtaining assistance, and protecting certain assets, your estate could easily dry up.

Can Someone With Dementia Sign Their Own Documents?

If you are concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s, either on behalf of yourself or a loved one, it’s important to get your elder care plans set as soon as possible. At a certain point, if dementia has progressed too far, the individual no longer carries the legal capacity to sign documents on their own. That’s part of why it’s important to set up a durable power of attorney; to dictate who will make those decisions in the event that you do lose capacity (or to ensure you can make decisions for your loved one should they lose the capacity to do so).

How Do I Plan for a Disabled or Dependent Child?

Your elder law attorney can help you plan for more than just your own long-term care. With the right trusts, you can set your children up for success, even at the point that you are no longer generating income. There are special trusts for children and adults with disabilities, such as special needs trusts, that can provide income and assistance without ruining eligibility for needs-based government assistance programs such as Medicare.

Are You a Certified Elder Law Specialist?

Part of your initial consultation with your elder care attorney should involve you vetting their qualifications. Make sure that you can trust your elder care lawyer with the future of your finances and your health. The Florida Bar certifies exceptional practitioners in particular areas of law, including elder law, and there is a National Elder Law Foundation that certifies elder law specialists. If you are putting your future in someone else’s hands, make sure those are the right hands.

Talented Assistance Preparing For Your Long-Term Care

A savvy West Palm Beach elder law attorney can help you and your family plan appropriately to maximize your chances to qualify for Medicaid and other needs-based governmental programs, and to explore all of your options for long-term care. If you are in need of an established and thorough Florida asset protection and elder law attorney, contact the seasoned West Palm Beach elder law attorneys Shalloway & Shalloway at 561-686-6200.

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