Elder law is a growing area of practice as issues involving aging and the elderly are becoming more prominent. The elder care attorneys at Stellpflug Law, S.C. are frequently consulted to assist in estate planning, financial planning, health care
, and housing issues
. Making smart decisions ahead of time about the future allows seniors to live out their golden years free from stress and uncertainty. Knowing their affairs have been settled and the surviving family members will be taken care of will bring peace of mind.Seniors and their families can count on Stellpflug Law, S.C. attorneys to offer sound legal advice and guide them through the complex legal processes they may have to deal with.If you wish to begin making important decisions regarding your future contact Stellpflug Law, S.C.
Other areas where you may need to consult an elder law attorney would be when you are considering a will and/or trust, advanced health care directives, powers of attorney, guardianship and medical assistance planning.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is Elder Law?
Elder Law is a term that has been coined to encompass the body of law regarding the aging population. It is an area of law that has seen significant growth as the baby boomer generation ages.
Some areas elder law covers include:
What is a will?
- Social Security retirement and disability, Medicare and Medicaid
- Long term care, nursing home abuse, elder abuse, insurance
- Guardianship, powers of attorney, estate planning, wills and trusts
- Reverse mortgages, life estates, gift taxes, probate, age discrimination and forced retirement.
A will is a legally-binding statement directing who will receive your property at your death. It also appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. However, the will covers only probate property. Many types of property or forms of ownership pass outside of probate. Jointly-owned property, property in trust, life insurance proceeds and property with a named beneficiary, such as IRAs or 401(k) plans, all pass outside of probate.Why would I need a guardian or conservator?
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a "guardian," or sometimes called a "conservator". Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult (the "guardian") and a person who, because of incapacity, is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the "ward").
A guardian is authorized to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for the ward. Depending on the terms of the guardianship, the guardian may or may not have to seek court approval for various decisions.
Some incapacitated individuals can make responsible decisions in some areas of their lives but not others. In such cases, the court may give the guardian decision making power over only those areas in which the incapacitated person is unable to make responsible decisions (a so-called "limited guardianship"). In other words, the guardian may exercise only those rights that have been removed from the ward and delegated to the guardian. What is an advance directive?
The term "Advance Directive" refers to treatment preferences and the designation of a surrogate decision-maker in the event that a person should become unable to make medical decisions on her or his own behalf.
Advance directives generally fall into three categories: living will, power of attorney, and health care proxy. What is a health care power of attorney?
A health care power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you. A health care power of attorney is different from a living will, which only allows you to express your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures.
Having a health care power of attorney does not cancel your right to give medical direction to physicians and other health care providers when you're able to do so. A health care power of attorney only becomes effective when you do not have the capacity to give, withdraw, or withhold informed consent regarding your health care.
A power of attorney must be signed by the person granting the authority and that person must be mentally competent at the time of the signing in order to make the document legally binding.
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