Defining terms

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What is an elder law and what do elder law attorneys do?

The answer to the first part of the question is simple enough: It’s a law that impacts the lives of seniors.

First, what is elder law? Simply put, it’s a law that impacts the lives of seniors.

The answer to the second part of the question is a little more complicated. Elder law attorneys use a wide array of tools and strategies that are designed to meet the goals and objectives of our clients at every step of the older years.

We handle issues from traditional estate planning to senior estate planning. We also counsel about planning for the day when clients suffer from diminished mental capacity, focusing on documents that will allow us to create alternative decision-making such as powers of attorney when our client can a longer make prompt and intelligent financial and health decisions for themselves.

Quite often, the most important aspect of our practice consists of helping clients in planning for the needs of long-term care including and most specifically nursing home care. The cost of care in a nursing home is the most devastating expense that the middle class client now suffers (i.e. $7,000 to $11,000 a month).

Among the many disciplines our practice embraces, we:

* A in selecting the correct kind of care

* Coordinate the interplay between private finances and public benefits programs

* Track the aging process to ensure that clients has quality care and enjoys the preservation of their federal and state rights to the greatest extent possible.

We also encompass many aspects of law, including:

* Asset protection planning in order to avoid the impoverishment of a healthy spouse when an ill spouse enters a home

* Medicaid eligibility and qualification for long-term care needs in a nursing home

* Medicare claims and appeals

* Social Security and disability claims of appeals

* Planning for disability through the use of powers of attorney, trusts, living wills, and health-related decision-making documents

* Guardianships for disabled adults

* Estate planning, but more specifically “senior” estate planning for the handling of health issues during the various stages of long-term care followed by planning for death

* Probate, estate and trust administration

* Assisting with placements in long-term care communities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and supportive living facilities

* Dealing with the issues of nursing home applications and nursing home resident’s rights.

* Assisting in matters related to elder abuse and fraud/scam allegations

* Assisting with the issues of injury in long-term care facilities sometimes resulting in arbitration or litigation

* Dealing with housing issues and discrimination issues

* Seeking Veterans Administration benefits

* Age discrimination allegations

* Retirement planning

* Health law related issues

In a later article, we can focus on how a client can go about the process of selecting an elder law attorney. Like any other professional you must know the right questions to ask in order to make sure you have the correct type of attorney helping you.

About Anthony B. Ferraro

Anthony B. Ferraro is the founder and managing member at the Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from DePaul University and his Master of Science in taxation. After receiving his CPA designation in 1978, he enrolled in law school, earning his Juris Doctor in 1983 from De Paul University. An elder law practitioner, his practice areas include Medicaid planning and applications, guardianship, probate & trust administration, long-term care planning, nursing home contracts and admission, senior estate planning, special needs planning, estate planning, and estate taxation.

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