What is Elder Law?
Many have probably heard the term “elder law” but what does elder law actually mean? Elder law is a specialized area of law focusing on the needs of senior citizens and the issues affecting the aging population. Elder law covers a wide range of legal matters, including the following:
Abuse and neglect
Durable powers of attorney
Guardianship and conservatorship
Health care planning and declarations
Health Care issues
Long-term care planning
Medicare, Medical Assistance, Social Security, and other public benefits
Tax and pension planning
Wills and estate planning.
Why might you need an elder law attorney?
If you or a loved one has questions or is experiencing any issues or difficulties with any of the above-mentioned legal matters you should consult with an elder law attorney. An elder law attorney will be able to walk you through these issues and explain your options.
If you are concerned about the cost of long-term care and how you will for it, speaking with an elder law attorney can be very beneficial. An elder law attorney will be able to explain the various methods of paying for long-term care and determine what is cost effective for your situation, as well as assist you with protecting assets.
If you have concerns about incapacity and being unable to make decisions, you should speak with an elder law attorney. The elder law attorney can help make sure your wishes are carried out even when you are incapacitated.
How much does long-term care cost?
Long-term care is expensive. In Minnesota the average cost of care for a year is:
$60,000.00 for an average of 44 hours per week of in-home care;
$48,000.00 for assisted living (not including services and additional fees); and
Over $90,000,00 for nursing home care.
How do you pay for long-term care?
Long-term care can be paid for in one of four ways:
Medicare (covers short-term rehabilitation for skilled nursing care, not long-term care);
Long-term care insurance; and
Medical Assistance for long-term care.
When should you engage in elder law planning?
It is never too early to start planning. You never know when illness or an unforeseen diagnosis will occur. Long-term care is not just for the elderly, as many middle-aged adults find themselves as nursing home residents. Further, the government has imposed a five-year lookback period on all transfers prior to applying for medical assistance, making it extremely difficult to protect assets last minute.