Cary, NC Elder Care Lawyer

The goal of elder care is to ensure that you address as many issues as you can during the aging process. It’s never too early to plan for elder care.

A complete plan can put legal measures in place for the “what ifs” in life, such as what if:

  • You’re incapacitated?
  • You’re disabled?
  • You need long-term care?
  • You need medical care?
  • Much more

An experienced elder care lawyer can help you create a legal plan that meets your goals in good and bad times.

Contact Cary Estate Planning in Cary, NC, to schedule your consultation.

What Is Elder Care Law? 

Elder care is often broken down into three main categories that include:

  1. Guardianship/conservatorship
  2. Long-term health care
  3. Abuse and neglect

Lawyers specializing in elder care advocate for the elderly and work within the confines of state and federal law to protect their clients. We assist in various legal topics and concerns, such as healthcare planning, retirement, Medicaid planning, and long-term care.

Many people consider elder law an extension to estate planning because it covers many collateral concerns, such as a senior’s incapacitation and care.

When Should I Start Planning for Future Care? 

Planning ahead sooner than later is always a smart move. Some individuals begin worrying about elder care when they become adults, while others wait until they are 55, 60, or even 70 before planning for future care.

No one wants to talk about their future care. It’s a difficult topic, but it’s a necessity.

Generally, you’ll want to consider your future care when you’re:

  • 55 or older
  • Sick or have a serious medical condition
  • Caring for someone with a disability or debilitating illness

Benefits of Future Care Planning

  • Reduces the burden on your family by removing the responsibility of having to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Reduces the risk of your family quarreling on how to handle your care, end-of-life decisions, or estate.
  • Allows your family to spend time with you without the stress or guilt of having to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
  • Gives you time to understand the financial aspects of long-term care and healthcare and find funding options.
  • Puts you in control of your future care so that your wishes are legally enforceable and must be followed.

There’s a lot that elder law attorneys can do to help make your future care as easy as possible for your family members while also adhering to your wishes.

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do? 

Elder law attorneys focus on the unique issues and legal aspects related to aging individuals who will need increased care. 

An elder care lawyer can assist you or your family member in many ways, including:

  • Explain the importance of estate planning and wills
  • Help plan for the care of an adult or child with special needs through tools like a special needs trust
  • Draft a durable power of attorney
  • Draft durable financial power of attorney
  • Assist with financial planning, including housing, estate taxes, gift tax, income, etc.
  • Assist in various areas of healthcare planning, including Medicaid eligibility, long-term care, and patient rights
  • Draft healthcare power of attorney
  • Provide financial representation
  • Address elder abuse and neglect

Your lawyer can help in many other ways, too. A lawyer can help you select a legal guardianship or conservatorship, file nursing home insurance claims, assist in locating a long-term care facility, and draft all of your advance directives.

As a person ages, these are the key areas they need to focus on to ensure they’re taken care of if they end up in a nursing home or hospital. In many cases, the elder law specialist will also help make the transition after a person dies easier for their family.

Do I Need to Call an Elder Care Lawyer? 

If you think you need an elder care attorney, chances are, you do. In fact, it’s better to be over-prepared than to not have your legal affairs in order.

A general rule of thumb is to go to a lawyer specializing in elder care if:

  • You’re aged 55 or older
  • You’re aged 18 or older and want to make sure that if you’re incapacitated, the person making decisions on your behalf is chosen
  • You’re disabled or might become so in the future

Anyone who is diagnosed with a medical condition that may lead to incapacitation or death may want to consider a lawyer, too.

Children of older parents or parents who may be incapacitated might want to discuss working with a lawyer with their parents in the near future. The right advance directives can ensure that you or your loved one receives the care they need and that their wishes are upheld if they can no longer decide independently.

If the person dies, a will and proper financial planning can ensure that the process after their death is as easy on their heirs as possible.

Contact us today to speak to a certified elder law attorney in North Carolina.

FAQ: Elder Care

What questions should I ask my elder care lawyer?

When meeting with an elder care lawyer, you will want to ensure they have the experience necessary to help. You also want to find an elder care lawyer you connect with who you can trust will always have your best interests in mind.

You can ask a few questions to get to know them better:

  • How long have you been practicing elder care law?
  • Do you have experience with Medicaid planning?
  • Based on our conversation, which legal documents do you think best fit my situation?
  • Will you be able to assist me down the line if I need to change any planning documents?

How can I protect my elderly parents’ money?

As people age, the risk of financial abuse grows rapidly. If you want to help protect your parents and their financial assets, there are several things you can do.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sign them up for a credit reporting service to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity
  • Help them set up automatic payments where possible
  • Work with an elder care lawyer to make sure they have the correct asset protection and estate planning documents in place
  • Make sure you know which financial institutions their accounts are with and who all has access to those accounts

What is the difference between elder care law and estate planning?

There is a lot of overlap between elder care law and estate planning. The primary difference is that elder care law is more focused on planning for events that will happen while a person is alive (using tools such as Medicaid planning, advance directives, etc.), while estate planning also focuses on what happens when someone dies.