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ELDER LAW

Underwood, Perkins and Ralston’s Elder Law section provides a multi-faceted practice, representing elder persons and counseling their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision-making, legal capacity, the conservation, disposition and administration of elders’ estates and the implementation of their decisions concerning such matters. Elder Law incorporates wills and trusts, medical and financial powers of attorney, special needs trusts, guardianship, and counseling concerning long term care planning and financing.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Elder Law:

Q: What is elder law?

A:Elder law is a specialized area of practice which focuses on the legal issues of the elderly segment of our population. Elder law encompasses many different fields of law.


Q: What areas are considered part of elder law?

A: Elder law can include the following:

  • Disability and incapacity planning;
  • Estate planning;
  • Long term care planning;
  • Administration and management of trusts and estates;
  • Guardianship;
  • Nursing home rights;
  • Public benefits; and
  • Elder abuse.


Q: Do most elder law attorneys specialize in all these areas?

A:Most attorneys do not specialize in every area. However, Underwood Perkins has the experience and expertise to address most of these areas of law.


Q: What are warning signs that an elderly person may have been a target of a fraud or scam?

A:Signs that an elderly person is the target of a fraud or scam include:

  • The person receives lots of junk mail for contests, “free trips,” prizes and sweepstakes,
  • The person has lots of “cheap” items such as costume jewelry, watches, beauty products that were purchased in order to “win” something or received as a “valuable” prize,
  • The person has made numerous checks or withdrawals for escalating amounts of money to unfamiliar out-of-state companies or unfamiliar individuals,
  • The person acts secretively about phone calls, or
  • There is a sudden onset of problems paying bills, or buying food or other necessities.


Q: What are the basic legal documents caregivers should have?

A:Caregivers should have the following:

  • Power of attorney,
  • Medical power of attorney,
  • Directive to physicians,
  • HIPAA release, and
  • Declaration of a guardian.


Q: What are four important things to consider when caring for an elderly person?

A:Four important considerations are:

  • Although a person stops dealing with his/her affairs due to illness, the affairs do not stop; they continue.
  • In a care giving situation, the caregiver experiences more stress than the one receiving care because the caregiver has his/her stress plus the stress of the person receiving care.
  • It is more costly to address a loved one’s affairs in a crisis than in a non-emergency / pre-planned setting.
  • Planning not only benefits the planner, but also the loved ones who care for him/her.

 

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