What is an Elder Law Attorney?


An elder law attorney is a legal professional who focuses on issues affecting people as they age, such as planning for the distribution of their assets upon death, potential future incapacity, or family members with special needs.

As we get older, people and their families often find themselves facing new legal challenges related to aging, death, disability, healthcare, and financial planning. Most of us don’t know what legal help we need as we age or the consequences of putting planning off. 

Working with an elder law attorney is a great step forward in planning for the future. 

Older man signs legal documents

What is an Elder Law Attorney?

An elder law attorney is a legal professional who focuses on issues affecting people as they age, such as planning for the distribution of their assets upon death, potential future incapacity, or family members with special needs. These attorneys are well-versed in estate planning, probate, healthcare, long-term care, guardianship, and more. 

Related Post: Why Are Estate Services Necessary?

The role of an elder law attorney extends beyond traditional legal services. They act as resources for families to make well-planned decisions in each stage of their lives. 

When Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

Everyone needs to begin planning for their potential disability or eventual death from the age they become legally capable of owning assets and making decisions for themselves, which is age 18. The earlier you can set up protection for yourself and your assets, the better. 

Here are some life events that indicate you’ll need some legal help:  

  1. You Need Assistance Estate Planning

One primary area where an elder law attorney is invaluable is estate planning. As we age, it’s inevitable that we’ll need a plan for asset distribution and the creation of an effective estate plan which may include multiple documents, including a trust and/or will.

Related Page: Wills and Trusts

An elder law attorney guides clients through the process, creating a comprehensive estate plan that reflects their wishes and ensures a smooth transition of assets to heirs.

Many people think that without a large estate or inheritance to pass on, they won’t need estate planning services. This is not the case. Elder law attorneys can help you and your family avoid time-consuming and costly probate

  1. Guidance for Long-Term Care Planning

Planning for long-term care is another critical aspect of elder law. With the rising costs of healthcare, including nursing home care and assisted living, individuals need to prepare for potential long-term care needs. 

An elder law attorney can develop strategies to protect assets while ensuring eligibility for government assistance programs, such as Medicaid. 

Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts can protect your assets from being calculated toward your Medicaid eligibility. MO HealthNet has a five-year lookback period, so planning in advance is key. 

  1. Navigating Healthcare Decisions

As we age, people face unique healthcare challenges, and they need the proper documents to help protect them. 

These attorneys have experience preparing legal documents ensuring that clients receive appropriate care and that their wishes regarding medical treatment are clearly communicated through documents like a Health Care Power of Attorney containing advance directive language.

Elder law attorneys help their clients understand their rights and empower them to make informed decisions about their future. 

What to Know When Hiring an Elder Law Attorney

It’s difficult to know where to start when hiring an elder law attorney. Here’s what we recommend looking for: 

  1. Experience

When hiring an elder law attorney, consider their experience and focus on the field. 

Look for an attorney who understands the intricacies of elder law and has a track record of successfully handling cases or issues similar to yours.

  1. Compassion and Empathy

Dealing with legal matters related to aging can be emotionally charged. It is vital to choose an elder law attorney who approaches these issues with compassion and empathy. 

  1. Comprehensive Services

Elder law encompasses a wide range of legal issues, including Medicaid Asset Protection and Irrevocable Trusts. 

Your attorney should have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of elder law to meet the diverse needs of each client.

  1. Clear Communication

Effective communication is paramount in any legal relationship. A reputable elder law attorney should be able to explain complex legal concepts in a clear and understandable manner. 

  1. Budget Consideration

When hiring an attorney, consider your budget and the cost of legal services, as well as how much money you or your family will save when proper planning is in place. Inquire about the attorney’s fee structure, including hourly rates or flat fees. 

Transparent communication is crucial for a positive attorney-client relationship.

Contact 417 Business & Elder Law 

As you plan for the future, Sativa Boatman and the team at 417 Business & Elder Law, LLC are dedicated to providing informed legal support. If you have questions about our services, please give us a call today at (417) 887-4170. We would be honored to assist you!

If you have questions about these services or would like to schedule a consultation with our attorneys, please give us a call today. We would be honored to assist you.