How Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help Protect Seniors And Their Families

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It's difficult for parents to become dependent on their adult children as they age. The role reversal from caregiver to patient isn't an easy one. Instead of leaving everything to chance, take advantage of estate planning attorneys who specialize in elder law. These firms are well versed in protecting seniors and their families, and can help ensure a smooth transition for adult children and aging parents.

First, Find A Will Attorney Who Specializes In Elder Law

Not all firms are the same. While it's possible for a lawyer to help with elder law issues, it's best to find one that specializes in creating a will and other legal documents such as a medical directive. An attorney with this experience will know what documents are needed and will be able to help preserve a client's assets and manage estates and trusts.

It's a wise idea to interview a few firms before choosing one to work with. Ask if they're a member of professional organizations such as The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc, or the Special Needs Alliance. Lawyers in these organizations have proven their commitment to seniors and their families. 

Second, Plan For Long-Term Illness

No one wants to think about a long-term illness, but the reality is that by 2020, 12 million older Americans will need some type of care for a long-term illness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a study that found that people over age 65 have a 40% chance of entering a nursing home. It's expected that 10% of these people may stay more than five years.

Long-term care is expensive and no one wants to be a burden on their family. There's a gap between Medicaid eligibility thresholds and being able to pay for long-term care completely out of pocket - even wealthy families can have problems paying up to $130,000 a year for a long-term care facility. Estate planning attorneys can help you distribute your assets appropriately and legally in case you need professional care.

Third, Spell Things Out With The Help Of Estate Planning Attorneys

No parent wants to think of their children fighting over medical directives or assets. To ensure this doesn't happen, parents should sit down with their children before meeting with a lawyer to draw up a will. An attorney may suggest other legal documents, including a durable power of attorney, a medical directive, trusts, and more. The important thing is to keep children and their spouses informed about your choices so there's no surprise when these documents become necessary.

Getting older is a fact of life and isn't easy. However, a little advanced planning of your medical directives and how your assets should be distributed before it's needed can help your family know all about your wishes if you're unable to tell them. Estate planning is one of the greatest gifts you can leave for your family. Contact a will attorney today.
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