Heading into retirement is one of the most exciting times of your life—when you can finally escape the daily grind and enjoy the freedom to travel, relax, and spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, it can also be nerve-wracking once you start crunching the numbers to determine if you can actually afford your dream version of the golden years.
To plan for any financial scenario in your future, the best thing you can do is partner with an elder law attorney today. With experience in estate planning, knowledge of retirement benefits, and connections in the senior living industry, an elder law attorney can help you determine the best route to take no matter where your retirement journey leads you.
Why choose an elder law attorney?
Many seniors turn to lawyers for one thing—to craft or update their wills (will link to estate planning blog). However, a will is just one step in a comprehensive financial plan. Because they specialize in working with older adults, elder law attorneys understand the laws that specifically affect a senior’s financial security, including those related to healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, and long-term care.
Just a few of the services an elder law attorney offers include:
- Estate planning – An elder lawyer performs many of the same actions as an estate attorney, including drafting a will, setting up a trust and establishing a power of attorney.
- Financial and retirement planning – Your lawyer may assist with different money matters, such as helping you minimize estate and gift taxes, providing financial counseling and guiding you through retirement plans.
- Benefits guidance – If you have questions regarding Social Security and Medicare, your attorney can help ensure your eligibility, communicate with government caseworkers, and maximize your benefits.
- Guardianship coordination – In the event you become incapacitated due to a health condition, a legal guardian or durable power of attorney you select with your lawyer can manage your financial affairs.
- Long term care preparation – Your attorney will not only connect you to nursing home directors and elder care coordinators, they can help you figure out how to cover the costs of quality long-term care.
- Advance directives – A living will drafted by your lawyer will ensure you have control over your end-of-life medical treatments, even if you’re not able to make decisions in the moment.
- Legal representation – Elder law attorneys represent seniors in disputes regarding retirement plan or pension distributions and, in more serious cases, when they’re the victims of fraud, financial abuse, negligence, or nursing home malpractice.
Finding the right lawyer for you
Make sure you have the right plan in place to meet your financial goals over the next few decades! To find an elder law attorney who has your best interests in mind, ask your healthcare provider, tax accountant, or financial planner for a recommendation. You can also check out professional organizations like the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or the National Elder Law Foundation online to search for a lawyer in St. Louis who specializes in the needs of seniors and their families.