Often, when people consider the legal assistance they need in their retirement, they think exclusively of estate planning, or ensuring that their assets are appropriately distributed upon death. But the elderly and the disabled often encounter other legal issues as well. Elder law is an area of law dedicated to caring for people before death. Often, the elderly incur increased medical costs or need long-term care, but hospitals and nursing homes can be extremely expensive. Further, the elderly sometimes become more vulnerable to the undue influence of others, and may need protection.
A dedicated elder law attorney can help you preserve your assets from long-term care expenses, probate, and taxes, and can protect your best interests in your old age.
Those with failing health will generally require considerably more medical care than in their youths. But often, medical problems lead to a degree of mental incapacity, and the elderly and ill are no longer capable of making their own medical decisions. An elder law attorney can draw up documents, including powers of attorney, advance health directives, living trusts, or living wills, to delegate decision-making authority in case of disability or incapacity.
It is also necessary to plan for the finances of health care. For the elderly, medical care can be extremely expensive. This is especially true for those who must enter nursing homes. In Michigan, a third of all people over 65 will need long-term health care, and the average monthly cost for a nursing home in the state is $6800. Nursing homes can exhaust a person’s funds quickly. An elder care lawyer can review the nursing home’s contracts and other documents to avoid future problems, and can make sure you understand the details of your care plan.
Medicaid and Veterans’ Benefits
Because nursing homes are so expensive, most families cannot afford the cost without some help. Fortunately, Medicaid can help to cover the costs of long-term nursing home or home care. However, there are complex rules for qualifying, so an attorney’s assistance is invaluable to ensure that you get the full amount to which you are entitled.
Military veterans and their spouses may also be qualified to receive veterans’ benefits. Veterans’ benefits include a monthly pension to help to pay for nursing home, in-home, and assisted living care.
The elderly also often need assistance with their finances. All too often, the elderly lose their abilities to manage their finances. Old age can lead to increased vulnerability to outside influences, and sadly, not everyone has their best interests at heart. An experienced elder care lawyer can help you protect against financial exploitation.
Another area that many may not consider is planning for a spouse’s financial stability. If one spouse must enter a nursing home, it is essential to ensure that the other spouse has access to assets sufficient to avoid impoverishment.
If you want to plan to ensure your financial and medical stability, or if you have been granted decision-making authority for an elderly relative, it is essential to have experienced legal counsel to aid you. Please contact Royal Oak elder care attorney John Little today, at 248-865-3455, for a free phone consultation.