Experienced Elder Law Attorneys in Jonesboro Prepared to Protect Your Family Members
It’s a simple fact that seniors are highly susceptible to things like abuse, neglect, and other legal issues. Unfortunately, it is all too common. Other aspects that affect our elderly generation can be things like long-term care planning or special-needs planning, as well as estate planning and settlement.
Elder law refers to the rules and regulations in place that impact our senior generation and the complex legal needs that they have. Attorneys who have experience in these matters have a unique perspective on what is necessary to protect them, as legislation is ever-evolving and not always similar to the topics that apply to those who aren’t advanced in age.
Contact our Jonesboro, AR offices today at 870-568-3870 to speak with our team of experienced estate planning attorneys and get your questions answered. Let us help you to protect the elderly in your life and put your mind at ease that you have done everything you can as their advocate.
What Are Examples of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse, as hard as it is to imagine, can be common. It can include things like physical, sexual, or psychological abuse (inflicting anguish or distress using verbal or non-verbal acts), as well as things like abandonment, neglect (refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a caregiver’s obligations to an elderly person), and financial exploitation. This can happen in any setting and can occur where there is a trusted relationship, such as with a family member, or when an elderly person is targeted outside the home, whether in medical, long-term care, or another setting.
Abusers can be someone the victim knows and trusts, which makes it even harder for the victim involved not only to discuss the abuse but to put an end to it. Abuse can also occur at the hands of a caregiver or an institution such as a nursing home. Warning signs to consider are things like cuts or bruises, as well as fear of being alone with their caregiver, a desire to run away, large purchases or withdrawals from banking accounts, and more.
If a person is convicted of elder abuse, this can result in a misdemeanor or even a felony, depending on the circumstances of the abuse.
How Do I Plan For Physical or Mental Disabilities at My Loved One’s Age?
There are a couple of important documents that you can put in place before your loved ones reach old age. Things like physical or mental impairments can arise, such as Alzheimer’s, that don’t allow your loved ones to make decisions for themselves that are in their best interest.
A durable power of attorney allows your loved one to legally appoint another party to make certain financial decisions for them when they aren’t able to.
A living will, or healthcare directive, can stipulate which treatments your loved one does or doesn’t want if they are no longer able to speak for themselves. This also applies to you and planning for your own old age.
Things like guardianship or conservatorship can also be addressed. This process can legally appoint a person (in the absence of a power of attorney or healthcare directive) to make daily care decisions as well as medical decisions for your loved one should they become incapacitated. If there isn’t one appointed by your loved one, one of the family members or another trusted adult would need to petition the court for guardianship/conservatorship in order to make decisions on behalf of your loved one.
What Can Estate Planning Help With?
Estate planning allows for you to have a plan in place for your assets upon your death. It allows for you to appoint a person, or an executor, who carries out your wishes as you have decided, rather than leaving that decision up to other family members or the state to decide.
This can save time and money for your family, as without a plan, assets can be ‘frozen” until probate courts determine what is best. Things like taxes, debts being paid off, disbursing assets, and other items, most of which require costly court appearances that also come out of your estate, can leave little behind for those you care about the most. If there isn’t a trust set up for your properties or other assets, these will likely have to go through the probate process. If you don’t have beneficiaries set up for insurance policies or investment and retirement accounts, these can also become part of probate.
Why is Long Term Care Planning Important?
Having a plan in place in advance for the facilities that your loved ones choose to use when the time comes, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, can be incredibly beneficial and remove this responsibility from your shoulders at a later date. You can also make decisions based on how these services are to be paid for, such as transferring or repositioning assets to qualify for benefits such as Medicaid or Veteran’s Affairs benefits that can help to cover the costs.
Having a team of attorneys who have experience and knowledge specifically in cases involving elder law can be very beneficial, as the laws surrounding the elderly are complex and intricate. At OMG Law Firm, we have worked with many families to plan ahead as well as protect their elderly loved ones should the need arise. Contact our Jonesboro, AR offices today at 870-568-3870 to discuss your specific questions, and let us help you plan for the next steps and let you put your focus back on your loved ones.