Over the last several decades, the population of older Americans has increased at a historical rate. In fact, by the year 2050, experts estimate that the number of older Americans (age 65 and older) will outnumber their younger (age 21 and younger) counterparts for the first time in recorded history. As the number of older Americans grows, legal issues related to them have gained a considerable amount of attention. In response to that, a new area of the law evolved – elder law. Because most people are unfamiliar with what an elder law attorney does, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia explain Garden City elder law top concerns.
The Evolution of Elder Law
While older individuals face many of the same legal issues that younger people do, they also have some unique legal needs and concerns. With this in mind, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA, was formed in the late 1980s as a way to better serve this growing segment of the population.
Top Elder Law Concerns
Unlike other attorneys who choose to focus on certain areas of the law, elder law attorneys do not limit their focus to one specific area of the law. Instead, an elder law attorney must be well versed in a wide range of areas of the law and how those laws affect the elderly and those who care for them. An elder law attorney must understand any areas of the law and then considers how those areas of the law will impact an elderly client and/or the caregiver of an elderly client. Some of the most common legal concerns of the elderly include:
- Denial of disability – although a tragic accident or debilitating disease can cause disability at any age, the odds of becoming disabled increase with age. Trying to navigate the Social Security disability application process can be nerve-wracking – and results in an initial denial about 70 percent of the time. An elder law attorney can help guide you through the application and/or appeal process, resulting in a significant increase in your odds of being approved.
- Estate planning – every adult should have a basic estate plan in place; however, the complexity of your plan will likely increase with age in order to protect your retirement nest egg and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. Your estate plan may also help with things such as incapacity planning, Medicaid planning, and probate avoidance, just to name a few.
- Retirement planning – you may consult a financial advisor for help with your retirement plan; however, your elder law attorney should be included in your planning process to ensure that your retirement plans operate in harmony with your estate plans and Medicaid planning strategies.
- Nursing home abuse – sadly, nursing home abuse occurs at an alarming rate across the nation. If you are the caregiver of a nursing home patient you need to know how to recognize the signs of abuse and what to do if you suspect your loved one is being abused.
- Medicaid planning – long-term care costs could deplete your retirement nest egg in short order if you are forced to pay out of pocket for that care. Medicaid can help; however, you must first qualify for benefits. Medicaid planning helps ensure that you will qualify for benefits if you need them without putting your hard-earned assets at risk.
- Veteran’s benefits – if you are a veteran, you probably know about some of the benefits to which you may be entitled; however, you may not know about all of them. For example, do you know about the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance (VA&A) program? If provides additional financial support for veterans, or survivors, who need assistance with daily tasks of living.
Contact Garden City Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about Garden City elder law concerns, contact an experienced New York elder law attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.