Elder Care Lawyers: Do You or Your Parents Need One?
Being prepared for what happens as we age can be a daunting task – whether that is saving enough money for retirement, understanding who will make decisions regarding your health when you are not able or having your affairs in order for when you pass. Who do you turn to for guidance and assistance?
Some decisions can be handled by the family. There are also some great free resources on the internet where you can do your own research, such as planyourlifespan.org, a site which offers seniors a full look at what they need to consider as they age.
However, some situations may need the services of a trained professional, such as an elder care lawyer. Elder care lawyers advocate for the elderly and those with special needs, and have developed a network of psychologists, social workers and long term care planners. They can assist with:
- Wills and estate planning.
- Health care planning, including long term care options, and nursing home patient rights.
- Power of attorney and legal guardianship.
- Financial planning, including retirement accounts and tax guidance.
- Government benefits, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
There are just over 500 lawyers across the country who have met the standards of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) to earn recognition as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). The rigorous certification process includes a six-hour exam that has an average pass rate of 33 percent.
Among the eight CELAs based in northern New England, three are located in New Hampshire. Additionally, more New Hampshire-based attorneys are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
If you determine an elder care lawyer may be needed for you or a loved one, find the one that is right for your circumstance. Like any other attorney, an elder care lawyer has a particular area of focus. Here are some factors when considering the right elder care lawyer for you or a loved one:
- Experience with similar cases
- Specialty Rates, including initial fee
- Willingness to make house calls and any fees associated with that service
- Certification (NELF, NAELA) and training, including familiarity with any laws or regulations specific to New Hampshire
If retaining an elder care lawyer is not an affordable option, New Hampshire Legal Assistance offers support through the Senior Law Project. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services also support adults 60 and older through its Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services.
More than anything, planning for the future requires having the faith and trust in someone to be there when you need them.