Many people are uncertain of the “right” time to seek the help of an elder law attorney. While every situation is different, it is always best to plan sooner rather than later. The earlier you begin planning for yourself or a loved one, the more options you will have. That said, there are a few key situations that send elder law clients to our door.
How to Tell if You Need an Elder Law Attorney
Elder law is a very specific legal focus, although it requires knowledge of several practice areas. Part benefit application, part estate planning, and part litigation, elder law attorneys concentrate on the needs of seniors and their families to help them plan and prepare for later life.
You might need advice from an elder law attorney if someone close to you:
- Has been diagnosed with a degenerative illness. A person who is suffering from cancer or organ failure may be physically incapable of performing self-care, while dementia may prevent a person from making decisions on her own behalf. These common life situations make it imperative for patients and families to create a healthcare plan, designate healthcare and financial powers of attorney, and create advance directives so the patient’s wishes are known and followed.
- Needs nursing home care. Admittance to a nursing home often brings elder law issues to the forefront. We can determine the best way to pay for long-term care (including Medicaid, VA benefits, or other public assistance), help you choose the right nursing home facility, and finding ways to cover costs without the need to sell your home or other assets.
- Has recently been divorced or remarried. Someone who has had multiple marriages or has recently divorced should consult with an elder law attorney to ensure their beneficiary and estate plan designations have been updated. Otherwise, their money and property—or even guardianship of their children—may go to the wrong individuals.
- Has substantial assets and does not have an estate plan in place. People with significant holdings—such as businesses, real estate, 401(k)s, IRAs, stocks, or bank accounts—should have an estate plan in place. Without it, there is a good chance that their family will be tied up in probate and estate litigation after their passing.
At Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C., we have helped hundreds of families throughout New York City plan for futures that included ill-health, disability, and other sensitive issues. If you have questions about your future, fill out our quick contact form or call us to learn how we can help you with a custom-made estate plan.