What is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?

Often, when we first meet with clients, we are asked about the difference between an Estate Planning attorney and an Elder Law attorney. Many people have heard both terms before, but are not clear about the differences between the two practice areas.

We know that planning for the future can be overwhelming to think about, but having an understanding of your unique planning goals and needs is important for you and your loved ones. This is why we want to share with you the key differences between Estate Planning and Elder Law, so you can make an informed decision about the type of legal planning that you may need for your specific circumstances.

An Estate Planning attorney focuses on creating documents that deal with how your assets will be transferred after your death, and who will make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently. Important planning documents, such as Last Will and Testaments, Trusts, Living Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Powers of Attorney hold too much significance to prepare by yourself, and without the review of an experienced Estate Planning attorney. Additionally, those in the Estate Planning field work with clients of all ages to prepare for the future. Whether this is a young couple who want to create legal protections for their children or an older couple planning for retirement.

An Elder Law attorney, on the other hand, deals with handling your assets and long-term care needs as you age. While there is some overlap between Estate Planning and Elder Law, when it comes to the types of planning documents that each attorney prepares, an Elder Law attorney will focus on preparing for how to find good care, pay for it, and also can plan for the protection of the assets of a senior client who may have to go into a nursing home. Elder Law attorneys are also more familiar with the needs and challenges of seniors as they age, such as planning for long-term care, dealing with Medicare issues, exploitation situations, as well as, filing for Medicaid or VA benefits.

We know it can be daunting to plan for a time when you are no longer here or are preparing for potential long-term care needs. It is crucial, however, that you plan ahead while you still have the opportunity to do so and leave your loved ones protected. When you are ready to start your planning, do not wait to ask us your questions. We are here to support you and inform you about the best ways to leave behind a legacy you are proud of.

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