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Why Would You Need An Elder Law Attorney?

By: Debra K. Schuster

“I’m not old – I won’t need an elder law attorney for a long time.” That’s the comment most people make about elder law.

In Missouri, an “elder” is someone 60 years or older. That means that most baby boomers have already reached this milestone. Even though you may not be facing issues commonly addressed by elder law attorneys, your parents, grandparents, or others you know may.

Elder law encompasses a broad range of issues. One of the first things people think of is how to pay for nursing home care. Medicaid pays nursing home costs, and Medicaid planning – the options people have that do not require spending down to the last cent, is a frequent area of consultation. An elder lawyer can assist someone on Medicare who has had care terminated prematurely or who has been denied services, such as being discharged from the hospital before they feel they are stable enough to return home; someone denied coverage for rehabilitation after a hospital stay; someone not admitted as a hospital in-patient, but rather, placed on “observation status.” Elder lawyers advise clients about veterans’ benefits as a source to supplement payment for health care costs in a variety of settings – in home, in assisted living, or in adult day care settings.

Elder law attorneys help clients with estate planning, including the creation of durable powers of attorney for financial matters and health care directives. Both of these documents enable anyone over the age of 18 to appoint someone to make financial and health care decisions if they become either temporarily or permanently unable to make these decisions for themselves. Elder law attorneys also prepare wills and trusts with a unique perspective that often becomes the entrée into a discussion of broader issues that face people age 60 and older.

For someone with a child or grandchild with mental illness or disability, guardianship, the creation of Special Needs Trusts, and discussion of the various public benefit programs available are issues that elder law attorneys deal with on a daily basis.

Most people want to see an elder law attorney about as much as people look forward to going to the dentist, but, if you have the need and you fail to take advantage of these services, you may risk a significant negative impact on your quality of life.

Knowledge is power. If you, a family member, or a friend is facing issues of declining health, is trying to figure out how to pay for long-term care, has put off creating estate planning documents, or has concerns about how to plan for the care and needs of a child or grandchild with disabilities, seeing an elder law attorney can provide options and enable you to create a plan that can dramatically improve your quality of life and peace of mind.

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal can assist you with the unique perspective of an experienced elder law attorney.


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Debra Schuster

Debra Schuster

St. Louis elder law attorney Debra K. Schuster focuses on helping social workers, geriatric and care managers, financial planners, and others who help with elder care issues. In addition, Ms. Schuster facilitates conversations about elder law issues for families faced with making difficult decisions for their loved ones.