People are living longer and should know about Elder Law
People are living longer. 10,000 people turn 65 every day in this country. That means that 3.65 MILLION Americans turn 65 each year. This number is forecast to continue on an annual basis through 2029. The fastest growing segment of the population today consists of people who are 85 years of age and older. AARP has completed several studies on the aging population. One study found that approximately one in every eight, or 12.4 percent of the population is an older American, and that people reaching the age of 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.5 years.
Growing old has its share of challenges and opportunities. Older adults often face a unique set of legal concerns ranging from health and long-term care needs, to issues of abuse and neglect. Your elder law attorney should be a valued partner in addressing your needs and wants as your family representative in advocating for your welfare.
I handle surrogate decision-making, including powers of attorney; guardianship and conservatorship (disposition of older persons’ legal capacity), and administration of estates, including wills, trusts and probate. I pay attention to applicable tax consequences or the need for more sophisticated tax expertise. On the other end of the spectrum, I assist families with finding long-term care options for an agent parent, spouse or family member and whether or not government assistance is possible.
Elder law is different from traditional estate planning in that more emphasis is placed on preparing for the contingencies of an extended lifetime. This includes planning for the time when finances, health, mental capacity and support structures may change. The elder law attorney works in a cooperative environment calling upon family and professional caregivers, medical professionals, social workers, and financial and tax consultants. It is imperative that your attorney be caring and empathetic as well as a knowledgeable professional.