07 Feb Law Careers in Focus – Elder Law Attorney
When considering a career in the law, there are many options available. Attorneys practice is a wide array of sectors along the spectrum. Focusing on a specific practice area is one way to begin building a successful law career.
One area of the law where attorneys can focus in the United States is elder law. Elder law is the area of law—including statutes, regulations and decisions—with impact upon the lives of older Americans and their families.
Within the broader scope of elder law, there are a number of aspects elder law attorneys might focus their attention. In the area of criminal law, elder law covers elder abuse, the financial abuse of elders, nursing home abuse and neglect, and certain types of fraud and consumer protection issues that affect seniors. The majority of elder law is focused in the civil arena, however:
- Medical and personal care access
- Private and public resources for elder care
- Income assistance benefits
- Estate planning and trust administration
- Medical directives
The best elder law attorneys help older Americans and their families by saving them money, grief, and legal hassles. Common tasks for elder law attorneys include:
- Disability planning: this includes durable powers of attorney, living wills and living trusts
- Conservatorship and guardianship
- Estate planning (wills and trusts)
- Preservation and transfer of assets when entering a nursing home
- Medicaid and Medicare planning, claims and appeals
- Social Security claims and appeals
- Health insurance issues
- Retirement benefits issues
Elder law attorneys should be well-versed in probate law, as well as housing law. Elder law attorneys may also deal with cases of age discrimination in terms of employment.
Elder law attorneys with backgrounds in medical fields are often sought-after, as health law matters and mental health law matters are germane to older Americans.
A truly effective elder law attorney acts as an advocate for clients who need his or her help when dealing with legal issues beyond their control. Being an elder law attorney is not for everyone, but it can be one of the most rewarding paths when considering a law career.