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An Ohio Elder Law Attorney Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions

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If you’ve ever gone on Google and searched for “elder law attorney near me,” then you know how difficult it is to weed through the dozens of results and find a lawyer with the specific experience and skill you need.

We know it can be confusing to navigate through health care systems. Even more so, we know how vital it is to have an elder law attorney to help with things like living wills and advance directives, powers of attorney, Medicaid eligibility, and more. To provide a basic overview on these, our Ohio legal team at Jarvis Law Office, P.C., has created a short guide to some of the most frequently asked questions, which we hope will help you make a more informed decision.

What Is Elder Law? How Is It Different from Estate Planning?

Elder law, also called elder care law, focuses on the legal, financial, and medical issues that older adults currently face or may face in the future. Elder law helps senior citizens protect their home, life savings, and other assets at retirement, so that they can support themselves. Elder law planning outlines the financial tools that will be used if long-term care is necessary.

Elder law involves setting a legal plan into place that directs how family members or other named representatives will manage the senior’s assets and make medical choices should the senior become incapacitated. For married clients, elder care planning ensures that the spouse has enough income and savings to last the remainder of their life, too.

Estate planning addresses financial planning for people of any age. An estate plan protects assets when a person dies, so that all or the majority of their estate goes to their beneficiaries, not to the government. For parents of minor children, an estate plan names a guardian in the event of the parents’ deaths. The most common tools of estate planning are wills, trusts, and health directives.

Your elder care attorney will advise you on any of these tools that are relevant to you.

What Are Some Options for Long-Term Care in Ohio?

An elder law attorney can help you with handling your current and future needs. No one-size-fits-all approach works in every situation, so your elder law attorney should take into account your assets, your family configuration, and your wants and needs when it comes to care.

While some older adults might be perfectly fine with their family assisting with minor tasks, others might need the help of a long-term care facility in order to carry out activities of daily living.

One option, then, is for the older adult to stay in their own home and get in-home care if needed. Another possibility would be to relocate to an assisted living facility. With both of these choices, you would adjust the caretaking to suit the needs of the older individual.

Another alternative lies in moving to a long-term skilled nursing facility. The benefits here include 24/7 access to support and specialization. Of course, you would need to qualify for nursing care and other programs like veterans benefits that might require the advice of legal counsel.

How Will I Pay for Care?

It’s important to know that you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to pay for elder care. The right elder care lawyer can help put care plans in place, apply for benefits, and assist with financial planning.

As you might expect, it’s best to start early. By drafting a plan now about how you will pay for long-term care (LTC), you’ll avoid much of the stress once you or your family member needs the care. If you are young enough now to be eligible for LTC insurance, it would be a wise move to get it early while it’s affordable. Also, since life insurance premiums get more expensive the older you get, it’s best to think about financial planning well before you need it.

To plan ahead, assess your income, expenses, assets and properties, retirement plans, insurance policies, Medicaid eligibility, and other supports that you might have. Other governmental programs can help as well, but they’re often confusing and difficult to apply for. An elder law attorney can help you check eligibility and apply for these programs.

How Does Conservatorship or Power of Attorney Work?

A critical part of elder care is knowing and respecting the individual family dynamics at play. The right elder care attorney will talk with you or your loved one about appointing someone to make financial or medical decisions when needed, whether as a financial power of attorney, a conservator or guardian, a successor trustee, or a medical power of attorney.

While it’s uncomfortable to broach the subject of incapacitation, it’s better to have a plan in place than none at all. Your attorney can help you choose an agent based on how close they are to you, their proximity to you, how much they have going on in their lives, and several other factors. The goal is to make sure that they can manage your affairs if you’re not able to.

How Do I Find an Elder Law Attorney for Me in Ohio?

As you can see, many factors go into finding the right elder care lawyer. While it’s easy to Google “elder law attorney near me,” it’s a lot more challenging to find the perfect lawyer for your specific requirements and the needs of your beneficiaries.

To speak with a knowledgeable elder law attorney about your future or a loved one’s situation, contact us today to see if you qualify for a free or no-cost consultation. We can video-chat with you or meet at one of our office locations: Lancaster (740) 653-3450, Dublin (614) 495-4185, or St. Clairsville (740) 699-2193.

We also provide in-person workshops and live webinars each month for free as a service to the great people of Ohio. Join us as we discuss topics of interest to you.

Copyright © 2022. Jarvis Law Office, P.C. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Jarvis Law Office, P.C.
904 N. Columbus Street
Lancaster, OH 43130
(740) 653-3450