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Elder Law

Elder Law is an all-encompassing term for the growing body of law attempting to address the particular needs of the elderly.  For instance, an elder law matter could involve the creation, use or abuse of a power of attorney.  Other elder law matters could include advising on Medicaid or other cost of care planning, or managing guardianship issues.  A need for advice on a situation of fraud or abuse of an elderly individual would also be described as an Elder Law issue.
Services We Provide
Powers of Attorney:
Generally, a power of attorney is prepared for a client as part of their Estate Planning. This power of attorney cannot be utilized until the individual becomes unable or less able to manage their affairs because mental or physical illness interferes with their capacity.  We advise clients who would like to give to another their power of attorney.  We also advise individuals who are serving as power of attorney for another.
Medicaid Planning:
Medicaid planning issues can vary from very simple to quite complex.  We will advise you about general Medicaid planning and the specifics related to your situation.  When appropriate, we will refer you to other professionals for related services we do not provide, for example, purchasing an annuity.  After you make the decision about the timing of application for Medicaid, we help with completion of the Medicaid application and appropriate documentation.
A decision to move out of one's home to a retirement home, assisted living or nursing home is often fraught with emotion and the options can be confusing. We can help a family evaluate their options and provide referrals to specialists who can help a family navigate these difficult waters. Although sometimes appropriate care can be obtained in the home, where placement outside the home is the better choice, we can provide referrals to appropriate placement specialists. We also work with families and professionals to help with the downsizing process and sale of the family home.
A guardianship is sometimes used to gain control over an individual's assets and/or personal care when they can no longer manage these matters for themselves and where a valid power of attorney does not exist or is not sufficient.  Guardianships are an invasive and expensive process, but are sometimes the only means available to protect elderly or disabled individuals from being taken advantage of or from mismanaging their assets or personal affairs to their detriment.  The courts view this as a last resort; consequently, our laws have created extensive procedural protections.  When it appears that a guardianship is the only or best option, we can help a family member or close friend establish a guardianship for a vulnerable individual.
We also provide ongoing advice to clients who are already appointed by the court and acting as guardians for another.  This can include specific advice regarding issues that might arise, as well as assistance with the ongoing required accountings and reports to the court.