The following are some top questions asked about elder law and the answers to them.
Q: What is an elder law attorney?
A: Elder law attorneys are lawyers whose specialty is helping seniors with a variety of legal issues. The specialty of elder law came about in the 1980’s when it became clear that the difficult issues confronting seniors, such as nursing home care, were way beyond the expertise of general practice attorneys.
Elder law attorneys can help families with:
- Long-term care insurance
- Veteran’s benefits
- Social Security
Elder law is unlike other areas of law. If is defined by the needs of the client rather than by a particular field of law. Therefore, elder attorneys are so aware that the needs of their clients usually extend beyond basic legal services. Elder attorneys are linked to a network of professionals who serve the senior population in their community.
Q: Should I buy long-term care insurance for my elder?
A: With nursing home care now costing as much as $10,000 per month across the country, a long-term care need can deplete the best planned estate. The purchase of long-term care insurance can be vital for an elder needing care, as well as for their family and main caregiver. One great plus of this insurance is that most plans now cover care at home or at an assisted living community.
The downside to this is the premiums, which most seniors can’t afford. There is also the refusal of the insurance companies to guarantee the rates. Another downturn is that the people who want to purchase these policies are often turned down for health reasons. To avoid this, purchase this kind of policy while you are young and healthy. You can also shop around as every company has their own underwriting criteria.
Q: When do I need a guardianship?
A: The standard that determines when a person will require a guardian differs from state to state. There are even differences within the states, depending on whether a complete guardianship is needed or a conservatorship is needed over finances. Normally, a person is judged to need a guardian when they show a lack of capacity to make responsible decisions on their own.
Q: What long-term services can an elder get as a veteran?
A: The Veterans Administration offers many long-term are options through its health plan. Some long-term care services are limited to certain veterans: nursing home and domiciliary care are not automatically available to all veterans that are enrolled in the VA health plan. Veterans with service-connected disabilities receive priority or nursing home care. A domiciliary is a VA facility that provides care in a home-like setting for veterans disabled by age or disease who are not in need of acute hospital stays and do not need skilled nursing services provided by a nursing home.
Q: When should you start taking social security?
A: As you near retirement, you need to decide when you will start taking your social security benefits. You have 3 choices:
- Begin taking benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age
- Wait until your full retirement age
- Delay benefits and take them any time up until the age of 70
More than 2/3 of people take theirs early. Some of them don’t have a choice. They need the money. But it might make more sense for others to delay benefits. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that depends on whether you keep working, your health, your life expectancy, your spouse’s needs, and retirement plan availability.
At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.
CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.