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Elder Attorneys

The attorney who practices Elder Law or Special Needs Law works primarily with people as they age and people with disabilities. Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys typically work with other professionals in various fields to provide their clients quality service and ensure their needs are met. Using this holistic approach, for example, an Elder Law attorney will address general estate planning issues and will counsel clients about planning for incapacity with alternative decision making documents. This attorney will also assist clients in planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the client's right to quality care are all part of the Elder and Special Needs Law practice

Financial / Estate Planner Attorneys

Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die. When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs. That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die.

Guardian Programs

An elderly guardianship is created when a court appoints someone as the legal guardian for an elderly person who is incapacitated in some way. In most guardianship cases, the elderly person is no longer able to make decisions about his or her medical treatment, living conditions, dependents, and financial issues. A court may choose to limit this guardianship to certain areas, however. For example, if an elderly man is able to make decisions about finances but can no longer physically care for himself, the court may limit the guardianship to overseeing the man’s physical needs. Usually, a guardian is a family member or friend of the elderly person. In the event that a friend or relative does not wish to become the person's legal guardian, a public or private agency, attorney, or other court-appointed individual can also serve. Typically, it must be a competent person over the age of 18, without a criminal record.

Ombudsman Services

An ombudsman or public advocate is usually appointed by the government, but with a significant degree of independence, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights.The typical duties of an ombudsman are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations (binding or not) or mediation. Ombudsmen sometimes also aim to identify systematic issues leading to poor service or breaches of people's rights.

Probate Attorneys

When a person passes away, he or she usually leaves property behind. This property must be disposed of and distributed in one of two ways: either according to the decedent's last will and testament, or pursuant to the state laws where the person died in the event that the decedent did not have a last will and testament. A probate lawyer handles the disposition of the property of the decedent (also known as the decedent's estate) in the manner specified in the last will and testament. A probate lawyer may also handle those instances where there is no last will and testament; in such an instance, the probate lawyer makes sure that the decedent's property is distributed according to the laws of the applicable jurisdiction.

Trust Attorneys

Now most people think, at least a little, about who should inherit their property upon death. Typically it is your surviving spouse and/or children that you desire to have your property after your death. This of course is not always the case, some people are not married, and have no children, but have other relatives or charities that would be the beneficiaries of an estate. However, a question that is not commonly thought about, let alone answered, is: Who should manage my estate when I’m still living but unable to carry on my own financial affairs? This is an important issue to consider. If you become incapacitated, mentally or physically, or are just plain unable to manage your own financial decisions, and manage your assets, then it would be a great relief to have someone that you choose to take over and manage these matters for you. This should of course be someone you know and trust, and this person should manage your assets for your benefit.This is where a trust attorney comes into the picture. An attorney who is experienced in trusts will help you make the right decisions about who, what, when, where and how in terms of your estate.

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