Most attorneys who are involved in estate planning are well versed in the entire spectrum of elder law, and this is a legal specialty that is growing rapidly and becoming increasingly important. As people live longer and the baby boomers enter the latter portions of their lives there are more and more elders among us, and the senior population is continuing to get larger with no end in sight.
You can divide up the responsibilities of elder law attorneys along a number of different boundaries, but here we will use two different hemispheres: matters financial and those of health and well being.
To begin with the financial side, everyone is aware of the estate planner’s role as a tax law expert who knows how to position the assets that comprise your estate in a manner that will provide optimal tax efficiency. Another objective of the estate planning attorney would be to implement strategies that get your assets get into the hands of your heirs in accordance with your wishes, making challenges to the terms that you elucidate all but impossible. In addition, some elder law specialists will help their clients create a long term financial plan that includes retirement planning leading into the ultimate distribution of your remaining assets after your death.
When it comes to health and well being issues, elder law attorneys engage in planning for possible incapacity. To this end they will draw up advance health care directives like living wills and durable medical powers of attorney. With these vehicles their clients can make their preferences known should they be unable to make health care decisions for themselves at some point. They may also lend their expertise to clients who are preparing for the possibility of spending some time in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
The full spectrum of elder law involves all of the eventualities of aging from a legal perspective, and it would be wise for everyone to spend some time with an elder law attorney at some point to address these possibilities and develop a solid plan for the future.