Current’s recent article, “What is elder law and how can it help you?” provides some interesting statistics and points highlighting the importance of elder law.
The population of older adults is proliferating. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans 65 and older is anticipated to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. This demographic shift reinforces the increasing need for legal services tailored to the elderly.
Estate planning. This is a vital component of elder law, but many of us, including older adults, don’t have essential estate planning documents. Elder law attorneys can guide seniors through the estate planning process to ensure their wishes are documented, and their assets are protected.
Long-term care planning. This is another big concern for older adults and their families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70% of individuals aged 65 and older will need long-term care services at some point. Elder law attorneys help plan long-term care needs, including Medicaid eligibility, establishing trusts and developing asset protection strategies.
Elder financial abuse. Older adults are vulnerable to financial exploitation and abuse, which costs older Americans $2.9 billion annually. Elder law attorneys play a critical role in preventing and addressing financial exploitation by establishing safeguards, advocating for client rights and pursuing legal remedies when abuse occurs.
Guardianship and conservatorship. These proceedings are tools for protecting the rights and well-being of incapacitated older adults. Elder law attorneys help families initiate guardianship or conservatorship proceedings when necessary, ensuring that vulnerable individuals have responsible and trustworthy individuals appointed to make decisions.
Health care decision-making. Advanced medical directives, including living wills and healthcare proxies, allow the elderly to express their healthcare wishes and designate someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they cannot do so. Elder law attorneys assist older adults in creating these important documents, ensuring that their healthcare preferences are respected and that they receive appropriate medical care.
Elder law encompasses various legal areas, and its importance lies in addressing the unique legal challenges faced by older adults, protecting their rights, and ensuring their well-being and dignity in the later stages of life. Robyn is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law and the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She has been practicing law since 1999. She would be happy to meet with you to discuss your particular needs. Please call our office to schedule an appointment.
Reference: Current (July 28, 2023) “What is elder law and how can it help you?”