Elder Law v. Estate Planning

Although there is often overlap between elder law and estate planning, the two are not the same.  Elder law attorneys help individuals and their families navigate the important, and sometimes challenging, questions they must answer in order to have a plan for their later years of life.  Elder law can encompass many practice areas, such as:

  • Estate planning, including planning for the management of one’s estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents;
  • Long-term care and Medicaid planning, including avoiding spousal impoverishment with a marital division of assets;
  • Asset preservation and asset transfers;
  • Access to Social Security, Medicare, and health benefits or insurance;
  • Access to veterans’ benefits, including pensions and aid and attendance;
  • Guardianships and conservatorships;
  • Probate and estate administration;
  • Caring (and providing) for children—or clients—with disabilities, including drafting special needs trusts;
  • Long-term care placements in nursing home and care communities along with nursing home rights; and
  • Elder abuse and fraud cases.

When you consider longer lifespans and the baby boomer generation becoming senior citizens, the U.S. will become much “older” over the next few decades.  In fact, by year 2030 seniors are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.  An elder law attorney can provide their clients with assurance that, if long term care is needed, the care will be provided without totally derailing the clients’ other objectives, such as providing for a spouse or disabled child or leaving a legacy for the next generation.

By:  Jessica L. Stoppel