ELDER LAW focuses on legal issues for persons over the age of 55 and their families. Elder Law is more than just estate planning. An Elder Law attorney educates older adults about their legal rights, advocates on their behalf, and finds ways to meet the diverse needs of the older adult population. Specifically, Elder Law includes the following areas of concern:
- Medi-Cal Long Term Care Planning
- Estate Planning
- Trust Administration
- Elder abuse, neglect and exploitation
- Medicare and Social Security issues
- Age discrimination
I. Preparing For Incapacity.
Durable General Power of Attorney. A written instrument in which you (the principal) appoint another person or persons (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf to transact any and all of your business, and to become responsible for the management of your assets.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. A written instrument in which you appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. This document is also known as a "medical directive" because it sets forth your wishes regarding the type of health care you want to receive (or do not want to receive).
If no durable powers are in place at the time you become incapacitated, it may be necessary to petition the court for a:
Conservatorship. A conservatorship is "a court proceeding to appoint a manager for the financial affairs and/or the personal care of one who is either physically or mentally unable to handle either one or both." A conservatorship usually arises when no one has been given the authority to handle the incapacitated person's financial and medical affairs.
II. Admittance To A Skilled Nursing Facility
Medi-Cal Long Term Care Planning
III. Estate Planning
Will. A will is a written legal document, which names the people, or organizations that you choose to receive your property after your death.
Trust. A trust is established during your lifetime and specifies how your assets will be managed while you are alive, and who will receive your assets and how such assets will be managed after your death.
IV. Management of the Estate When Death Occurs
Probate. A court procedure that is used to clear title to real property and other assets which pass to the beneficiaries named in your Will, or under state law, if you die without a Will.
Trust Administration. Management of trust assets after the Settlor's (owner) death and ultimate distribution of trust assets to named beneficiaries. The following are a few aspects of trust administration carried out by the Trustee, fulfilling his/her duties as specified in the Declaration of Trust: managing trust assets; communicating with trust beneficiaries, paying obligations of the Trust; preparing trust accountings; transferring trust property to the beneficiaries.