As we get older, not only do our needs and desires change, but so do the laws that affect us. The term “elder law” refers to the legal issues that elderly people most commonly have to deal with. While not all elderly people will have to deal with all elder law issues, here are three essential elder law topics that you should be aware of.
Our bodies break down over time, and even the healthiest of us can fall victim to a sudden injury or illness that leaves us unable to speak or otherwise communicate. In such a situation an elderly person should be ready by having prepared advance medical directives, such as a living will or health care proxy. If the elderly person takes no such preparatory steps, this can leave family members scrambling to make medical choices without guidance.
Once you die your property will be divided amongst your family. Estate planning is the term that applies to the preparations you take in advance of your death so you can choose who inherits what. Estate planning also tries to ensure that your property will pass as efficiently as possible, and that you leave behind as much of it as you can.
Elder law also includes planning for when you might need to transition to a nursing home or elder care facility. Planning on how to pay for such care, as well as preserving as much of your assets as possible while still being able to pay for it, are common elder care issues.