Elder Law is a particular specialty focused on planning for the care and protection of the elderly. It is a term used to cover several subsets of legal practice: the creation of a will, estate planning, the legal management of benefits & annuities (as well as their appropriate protections), and more.
While many traditionally view these matters as simple planning for their future for the benefit of their loved ones, Elder Law is a rapidly growing field of practice because it can provide necessary protections for one’s own care as one advances in age. It is more than a matter of simply preparing for the end, but also preparing for the care that may be required in advance of that.
While the terminology of ‘Elder Law’ may sounding daunting, it amounts to attorney Frank Bruno acting to advise, assist, and counsel our clients. The focus of Elder Law is on the client’s needs as they change and evolve with age. The legal services involved can come in a variety of forms: predicting and planning for long-term care, assisting in the creation and appointment of a fiduciary or Power of Attorney, advising of potential public or private resources to assist in covering projected costs, and protecting & preserving the interests and care of our clients.
The immediate question that springs to mind for many, though, would be what planning they would require apart from a standard will. Well – increasing numbers of Americans are requiring additional care to perform the activities of daily living. In fact, from a recent document released from the AARP in March of 2017, an estimated “60% (7 million) of adults needing help with everyday activities were 65 or older.”
There are now 40 million American 65 or older and it is projected that number will grow to 80 million by 2040. The reality is that estate planning and preparation for long-term care are growing necessities for Americans, and the Law Offices of Frank Bruno, Jr. stands ready to serve our clients by planning for their golden years. If you are in need of assistance or help, we are ready to guide you through the process. With experienced and caring attorneys and staff, we have put together a recognized system and one that makes a tremendous difference in people’s lives. To learn more and to see if our Elder Law services are right for you, set an initial consultation. When you call the office, you will be told what to expect and you will then shortly receive more information in the mail in advance of your meeting.
Contact us today by calling our office at (718) 418-5000 or click the “book a consultation” box below to schedule a time.
Most Elder Law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas.
So when an attorney says he/she practices Elder Law, find out which of these matters he/she handles. You will want to hire the attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern for your specific facts and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law on the list.
For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the estate planner needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse’s inheritance.
An elder law attorney brings a level of empathy and concern to the case that is more than just the law and the Courts. We deal with people and their problems.
Before Your First Elder Law Appointment
Who are the Important People in your life? Beginning with yourself, they also likely include your loved ones: your spouse if you are married, children and grandchildren if you have any, perhaps your parents, siblings or other relatives. Beyond these, however, “Important People” also could include charities, special causes, colleges or universities, or churches to which you are committed. For some, “Important People” could even include pets. Spend some time thinking about the impact others have had on your life.
Make a list and jot notes if you like. This is where the planning process truly begins.
By Property we mean your assets in general. Make a list of the assets you own or control. At this point, you do not need to identify insurance policy numbers and exact dollar values. Rather think through your assets in terms of their nature (cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.); their value in thousands of dollars; and your ownership interest: Do you own assets in your name only, in joint tenancy with someone else, or through a trust agreement or some other arrangement?
Be sure to include often-overlooked assets like life insurance (the death benefit, not the cash value), business interests, and any inheritance you may expect to receive.
After identifying the Important People in your life and your Property, the next step is to consider the plans you would make for those people (including yourself) and that Property in the event of your own incapacity or death.
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do so yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal and health care decisions? Who would care for your minor children? How would you distribute your assets to your heirs? Would you prefer to spare your heirs the potential cost and hassles of the probate process? Would you like to minimize the impact of estate taxes … or maximize the impact of a charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special needs for whom you would like to provide? Is there someone who perhaps should not receive a great deal of (or any) money without some outside oversight?
These are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning process. They are much more important than the “treasure hunt” for legal documents at this stage.