Elder law is an area of law that focuses on the legal needs of the elderly. These needs generally include retirement planning, life insurance, medical costs, and estate planning. Elder planning often goes hand in hand with estate planning. Attorneys who specialize in elder law help protect assets while preventing the risk of penalties. Elder law attorneys usually advise and assist in matters of medicare, social security, veteran’s benefits, and other government benefit programs; powers of attorney, which provide a person with the ability to make medical or financial decisions on another person's behalf; health and personal care planning, including medical care directives, long-term care plans, and end of life decisions; insurance; quality of life and independence; retirement planning; and estate planning which includes financial planning, wills, and trusts.
Elder law attorneys also handle issues concerning elder abuse. This includes physical abuse and financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when someone takes advantage of an elderly person’s physical or mental incapacitation to steal money from him or her. It is best to seek an elder law attorney’s services before illness or incapacity becomes an issue, so they can help you draft legal documents detailing exactly how certain situations should be handled, if you are not able to make decisions for yourself.