Handling The Issues That Impact Older Adults
An attorney who specializes in Elder law advocates for older adults and their loved ones in all areas that are important to people of advanced years. The common thread in Elder law is not so much one particular area of the law, but rather the age of the client. Indeed, older adults have specific needs in a variety of legal matters such as health care, retirement, long-term planning, and guardianship to name a few. Therefore, good Elder law attorneys must have a facility for shifting between different legal disciplines. For example, an Elder law attorney may focus on health care matters on one case, and living will questions in another.
When looking for a high-quality Elder attorney, you ideally want to find a person who not only is technically proficient on Elder law issues, but also has the capacity to assist clients with consideration and compassion.
What is Elder Law?
As introduced above, the area of Elder law is really an umbrella term that encompasses a number of different legal areas. The legal areas, however, are only related in that they are generally focused on end-of-life issues. Elder law issues can be broken down into four major areas (1) financial administration; (2) health and benefits; (3) estate planning; and (4) decision making at the end-of-life.
1. Financial Administration: Guardianships and Conservatorships
Incapacitation due to illness more often strikes the elderly. Accordingly, Elder law attorneys need to have an understanding of what legal options and procedures are available when someone is incapable of caring for himself.
Courts typically will hold hearings to appoint a guardian, who is given the responsibility of making decisions for, and managing the affairs of, a person who is incapacitated. Those decisions include paying for necessities, deciding on courses of medical care, and making choices regarding a person’s financial affairs. A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship, except conservators are only authorized to make decisions on financial matters.
2. Health Care and Benefits
Elder lawyers are often concerned about health care issues. Disputes that arise due to poor medical care, malpractice incidents, and nursing home problems must all be within an Elder law attorney’s area of expertise. In addition, Elder law attorneys must also be well versed in applying for, and sometimes disputing the omission, of federal or state benefits. Elder law attorneys have to navigate the common Medicare and Social Security problems and pitfalls.
3. Estate Planning
One of the most important aspects of long-term life planning is how a person’s property is transferred to beneficiaries after death. Therefore, Elder law attorneys deal with wills, trusts, and the choice of executor. While estate planning is a specialized area of law in its own right, it is an important component under the Elder law umbrella.
4. End-of-Life Decision Making
Estate planning emphasizes a long-term plan with regard to end-of-life decisions. However, end-of-life decisions that are immediate based on a person’s health condition include advanced directives, living wills, and powers of attorney. People appropriately want to have decisions made when the end is imminent. Therefore, an Elder law attorney will need to have expertise in memorializing a person’s wishes pertaining to medical treatment wishes, and identifying a power of attorney when certain decisions need to be made but not thought of ahead of time.
Why Should Phil Bryce Be Your First Choice As Your Elder Law Attorney?
Over the 30 years of his distinguished practice, Phil Bryce has demonstrated his ability to provide the highest quality service to his Elder law clients. Phil understands, better than his Elder law colleagues in the Knoxville area, how to fashion durable documents to memorialize the precise wishes of his clients. Using all of his experience in the Elder law field, there is not a situation that Phil has not encountered before. Thus, Phil’s wealth of Elder law experience sets him apart from the rest.
More importantly, Phil has a quality you don’t learn at school – compassion. When it comes to making important end-of-life choices, those conversations can be delicate and fraught with emotion. Phil has the empathy to work with his clients with understanding and sensitivity.
If you, or a loved one, need legal assistance with an Elder law issue, consult with Phil Bryce. You will not be disappointed. Call (865) 690-5566 to schedule a free consultation.