What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?  

Elder law attorneys do a number of different things. They typically advocate for seniors born between 1946 and 1964 and beyond. This could include helping them apply for long-term care in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home or preparing estate planning documents. 

An elder law attorney should be versed in the following areas:  

  • Medicaid and how to apply for Medicaid long-term benefits. 
  • Medicare and the different parts of Medicare and Medigap. 
  • Social Security law and SSI and how that also applies to people that are disabled.
  • Supplemental Needs Trust or Special Needs Trust and how they are used. Two significant kinds of special needs trust are first-party and third-party special needs trust. The first-party special needs trust is also referred to as a 1396p(d)(4)(a) Trust and is usually funded by assets received by the person with special needs for things such as lawsuit settlement or inheritance. A third-party special needs trust is funded by another person to benefit the person with special needs. It is more of a discretionary trust with no payback provision to the government. 
  • Housing, HUD, or Section 8 benefits and how they can be used.
  • Veterans’ benefits including compensation pensions or aid in attendance benefits.  

These are just a few, as there are many topics to cover with an elder law attorney. I have identified twelve specific categories of elder law in videos I have created. When speaking with an elder law attorney, it is also essential to determine whether you feel that the elder law attorney you have chosen knows these areas and the areas to avoid.  

I refer to these areas to avoid as the Four-headed Monster. The first is probate court, including death probate and disability probate. The second is the estate death tax, if your state has one, and the federal estate tax. The third area to avoid is financial creditors and predators so that you can leave a protected gift rather than just a gift to your loved ones that could be taken. One way is through a family bloodline protection sub-trust within your trust.  

Lastly, it is wise to try to avoid long-term care costs as much as possible. Many people 65 and over are gravely concerned about the rising cost of long-term care. Long-term care and skilled nursing facilities can cost as much as about $500 per day or about $15,000 per month. 

When you sit down with the elder law attorney you chose, please keep these concepts in mind and check out my videos online to find out more. It is always wise to have a list of questions ready to ask your elder law attorney, especially if any of the areas above apply to you.

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