Attorneys practicing elder law provide estate planning services, handle conservatorship or power of attorney documents, represent seniors in Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits disputes, and represent seniors and their families who file claims of abuse. Some elder law issues lead to litigation such as disability and age discrimination, health care access, trust and probate litigation, conservatorship, and alleged abuses in nursing homes.
The practice of elder law is both legal and personal in nature. Elder law attorneys often must learn about their client's overall needs to successfully address a specific legal need. For instance, attorneys typically help elderly clients plan for future needs that include housing, long-term healthcare, and estate planning. To accomplish these goals, attorneys draft wills, trusts, and advanced directives. Additionally, elder law attorneys often act as an informal mediator when disagreements arise between their clients and their clients' families.
Elder law attorneys enjoy the variety of subjects covered by the law and their work with clients. Some attorneys say the need to help clients plan for incapacity, while protecting and personal rights, creates a stimulating mix of practice areas. Elder law attorneys also report that they feel fulfilled at the end of each day because they help clients in need.
Areas of elder law specialization include: Elder Abuse; Power of Attorney; Estate Planning; Conservatorships; Social Security; Evictions; and, Medi-Cal/Medicaid.
It is important to understand the current issues facing seniors. Further, representing a senior usually requires knowledge in more than just one area of elder law. The following resources are helpful to consult:
- National Elder Law Foundation
- The American Bar Association on Law and Aging
- The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys