By: Stephen R. Elville — President and Principal Attorney of Elville and Associates, P.C.
For most aging singles and couples, it is important to become educated about elder law-related matters as a practical necessity. But how does one become educated regarding this all too often mysterious, ambiguous, and esoteric subject matter? The following fictitious but all too real short story may provide insight.
Gigi is married with three adult children. Her husband, Jerry, was a successful teacher. During the first few years of their retirement, Gigi and Jerry enjoyed travel and spending time with their grandchildren. Then, over a period of several months, Jerry developed memory issues and was eventually diagnosed as having a form of dementia, Alzheimer’s-type. After caring for Jerry for many months, Gigi began to search for answers to many questions – how will I pay for or manage the cost of care?; is it too late to buy long-term care insurance?; how can I get help in my home and who will manage that caregiving? how can I get respite?; how can I preserve my assets and what will happen to my financial future?; how do I still leave assets for my children now that I am facing this crisis?; how do I get a level of care assessment?; how does the world of Medicaid work and what will happen if Jerry needs a nursing home?
After months of enormous worry and stress, and after an exhaustive search for information (much of what was provided being misinformation and myth rather than facts), Gigi sought the advice of a knowledgeable elder law attorney. She obtained answers to her pressing questions, was relieved of her sense of despair and hopelessness, became empowered through the knowledge that she would not lose all of her financial assets or her home, learned about asset protection and estate planning strategies for elder law, was directed to resources and programs that provide level of care, assessment, care management, financial and tax advice, and more. The main lessons here are that Gigi sought help and became empowered. Because she sought competent professional advice about elder law matters, Gigi went from a position of weakness to a position of power and direction. And just as important, Jerry’s care needs for the long-term future were assessed and addressed.
An elder law consultation is a powerful tool
The elder law consultation is a powerful tool for families facing the care and financial issues involved in today’s aging process. Gigi’s example is illustrative of a crisis or near-crisis situation; whereas it is always advisable to become educated about elder law-related matters well in advance of a crisis. Elder law essentials workshops are available for this purpose with what is known as a pre-crisis elder law consultation as follow-up.
So how do you go about becoming educated through an elder law consultation?
The process is straightforward – there are 3 steps: (1) call or send an email to your elder law attorney to set an appointment; (2) attend the elder law consultation meeting and be prepared to take notes and absorb information – it is advisable to bring a family member or professional advisor along with you for support and collaboration; and (3) be ready to act upon the information provided so that the process of accomplishing your goals can begin. A comprehensive elder law consultation is one of the most powerful tools available to legal consumers today. Take the time to think about this elder law issue.