What is Elder Law?

What is Elder Law?

As one ages, they may find themselves facing new issues. Estate planning, disability, health care, retirement, taxes, financial planning, abuse and discrimination issues may arise in the elder years. It is important to know your rights and seek counseling and advice when needed. When dealing with legal issues that pertain to the elderly, it is wise to seek counseling from a lawyer who is certified in Elder Law.

Elder law is a field of law in the United States that covers all aspects of issues facing the elderly. It is a moderately new form of law practice that focuses solely on the needs and laws governing the elderly.

Many laws and community-based programs exist for the elderly. Unless you are educated in this area, you may need help deciphering what is available to you and what rights you may have inherited as you have aged. Today, lawyers can specialize in this field of law by getting certified by the Board of Certification of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and proficiency of lawyers practicing this form of law. The certification was created to educate lawyers on all aspects of law pertaining to the elderly, while helping the general public identify a lawyer that is knowledgeable and proficient at helping with their specific needs. When dealing with elder law it is advisable to choose a lawyer that is familiar not only with elder law, but one that can also recognize ethical issues that may arise and can suggest public and private non-legal resources in the community to help meet your needs.

Nearly all aspects of life management for the elderly are covered under some form of elder law that protects your rights. There are elder laws pertaining to estate planning, wills, trusts, guardianships and end of life planning. Elder laws exist for protection against abuse, neglect and fraud. It is important to consult elder laws when dealing with disability, medical care, nursing home and housing issues, as well as retirement, insurance and employment issues.

Due to elder laws, many state and local agencies receive grants to offer services such as support groups, reprieve and counseling. While it may not be necessary or affordable to hire a lawyer, these organizations can usually advise on elder law topics and suggest services that may be helpful. If you are facing an issue pertaining to elder law, check your phone book or the Internet for local and state agencies that may be able to help you.

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