Older people have a distinct area of worries and concerns where they can use the help of an attorney. Elder law covers these unique needs. Elder law doesn’t just protect the aging person, however. Going to a lawyer early in the process also helps adult children who want to protect their aging parents’ assets and ensure they can afford care for them as their health and medical needs change.
Both older people and their adult children need to take care of a wide variety of legal issues that arise as one ages.
Why do I need an elder law lawyer?
An elder law attorney will give you the peace of mind that you’re legally protected under a variety of circumstances that may arise as you age. Some of these issues need to be addressed for everyone and some are specific to aging adults.
Specifically, an elder law attorney helps you and your family with all the following legal needs:
- Last Will and Testament: This document allocates assets to heirs after a person dies. While there is a big advantage to being able to give your possessions and money to the people you love best, it can involve a costly and public process in probate court.
- Trusts: A trust allows gives money and assets to one person (a trustee) to control and perhaps allocate to heirs (beneficiaries). There are many, many types of trusts that serve many purposes such as preventing probate, helping disabled or troubled heirs, and helping give money to heirs while preserving their public benefits.
- General Estate Planning: in many cases, simple beneficiary designations can help transfer money after an owner’s death in an inexpensive simple manner.
- Financial (Durable) Power of Attorney: This document allows adult children to manage their parents’ money when they can no longer do so, often due to illness. Estate planning is still necessary as this document ceases to be effective upon the death of an elderly person who grants it.
- Healthcare Directives: Powers of attorney and living wills allow adult children or other trusted persons to care for sick and dying people while honoring their wishes
- Medicaid: often, an elderly person needs public assistance to take care of themselves, either in a nursing home or at home; proper Medicaid planning can best utilize that person’s money and maximize Medicaid benefits for the elderly person and may help save money for the heirs;
- Guardianship and Conservatorship: if an elderly person can no longer care for himself or herself, occasionally it’s necessary to involve a court to protect that person and money – this sometimes arises when an elderly person is being abused, usually for his or her money.
How do I find a trustworthy elder law attorney in Ohio?
First, look for an Ohio elder law attorney who has experience. They will know all the possibilities to explore, making sure you get the most comprehensive help possible and answer questions you never knew to ask.
Second, take the time to meet with an experienced attorney for a free consultation. This way, you can ask them for references and see if they will give you the personal approach that every elder law case requires. Most reputable attorneys offer at least an initial free phone conversation to make sure the fit is the right one for both parties.
What questions should I ask my Ohio elder law attorney?
Paying attention to these important topics and documents can help make a person’s golden years more peaceful and can help worried adult children ensure that their parents are safe and well protected. The exact nature of what any person needs is specific to his or her individual situation and a lawyer should be consulted to properly make those decisions.
In addition to asking them about their experience and references, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of your most pressing questions. Some of the most commonly asked questions we get are the following:
- How can I protect my property for my spouse or children if I go in a nursing home?
- How do protect a parent or spouse with dementia from being abused financially otherwise?
- How can I avoid probate?
- Can I give special gifts to family members?