Elder law is a relatively new and specialized field of law that deals with the issues faced by the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population—the elderly. This area of law combines elements of nursing home negligence, nursing home issues, adult guardianship, trusts, probate, and estate planning.
Often two or more of these areas overlap for a single client. Consider the following example: An aging mother with two sons is in a nursing home and one of the sons is eager to protect her assets. The mother appointed both of her sons as her power of attorney. It is alleged that the other son is stealing from his mother. The issues here range from power of attorney contests (i.e. an estate planning document), possible guardianship, to nursing home issues (who can sign the nursing home contract, who has the say at the nursing home, etc.), and Medicaid.
An elder law attorney will be comfortable with managing the dynamics of all of these interrelated aspects to achieve the best possible outcome. An attorney who does not focus on elder law will have difficulty understanding the unique facets of the case. The consequences for using an inexperienced lawyer who does not understand elder law could be catastrophic.
The rules regarding Medicaid, Medicare, probate, estate planning, trusts, and guardianship change on a regular basis. Because our firm only handles elder law matters, we see how rapidly and profound the changes can be and can rapidly adjust. Make sure you get an attorney that only focuses on elder law so that you can rest assured they are well-versed in this ever-changing environment.