Estate and Elder Law

Protect your rights and ensure the quality of life you deserve

What is Elder Law?

Elder law addresses the unique needs and challenges that come with aging and seeks to ensure the quality of life, medical care, and financial security for the elderly.

Elder law attorneys specialize in navigating aging issues, and can help protect an individual’s rights and their estate, plan for long-term care and how to pay for it, and connect seniors to the resources they need as they age.

This specialized field encompasses a wide range of legal issues including estate planning, asset protection planning, Medicaid and VA benefits, guardianship and probate and trust administration. Elder law attorneys possess the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex legal landscape, and provide guidance to older adults and their families.

Planning for aging and its complexities is overwhelming. With the help of elder law attorneys, families can ensure their assets are safeguarded, maintain control over medical and financial decisions, and prevent abuse and exploitation.

Our estate and elder law attorney partners can guide you through this important phase of your life. With proper planning and informed decision-making, you can enjoy a fulfilling retirement while protecting your rights and your assets.

Elder couple sitting on bench by bridge with lamp

Legal Resources

Areas of Focus in Elder Law

Elder law encompasses several practice areas, including estate planning, Medicaid and VA benefits, guardianship, probate and trust administration and more.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is a crucial process that involves creating a comprehensive strategy to protect an individual from guardianship and probate court to ensure a smooth transition of their assets and adherence to final wishes after their death. In an estate plan, you may prepare powers of attorney, healthcare directives, wills, trusts and more. Estate planning is a proactive approach to organizing one's affairs, minimizing potential conflicts and making it easier for loved ones.

Asset Protection

Asset protection is a critical component of elder law that aims to help seniors preserve and safeguard their assets. As individuals age, they may face various risks, such as expensive nursing home care and estate taxes. Through strategic planning and the assistance of an elder law attorney, older individuals can mitigate these risks and ensure the longevity of their assets.


Long-term care is a top concern among seniors and their families, and the high cost of nursing home care can deplete one's assets quickly. Working with an elder law attorney to become Medicaid eligible is an option to cover long-term care costs.

Wills and Trusts

Wills and trusts are essential components of estate planning. These legal documents ensure that an individual's assets are distributed according to their wishes, providing control over one's money and property both during their lifetime and after their passing.

Probate and Trust Administration

Probate laws govern the process of settling an estate after an individual's death if the estate is not set up to avoid probate court through proper estate planning. When a person passes away, their assets, and personal belongings must be distributed according to their wishes and the applicable laws. In many cases, this involves going through the probate process, which can be complex and time-consuming.


Guardianship is a crucial aspect of elder law that aims to protect the rights and interests of incapacitated individuals. When someone becomes unable to make decisions about their finances, medical care, or daily living, a guardian is appointed to act in their best interests. Seeking guardianship can be an emotionally draining and expensive process for families. If possible, it is best to avoid guardianship by working with an estate and elder law attorney on an estate plan well in advance of needing guardianship.

Brunette lady reviewing documents with older couple

Your Estate Planning Checklist

Make sure that you have your legal documents in place for your retirement years.

Here are some key considerations when creating an estate plan.

Click on each one to read more.

When it comes to estate planning, there are several important legal documents that individuals should consider having in place.

These documents play a crucial role in ensuring that their financial and medical wishes are honored during their lifetime. One essential document in estate planning is a power of attorney. This document allows an individual to appoint someone they trust to make financial and legal decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated. A power of attorney ensures that someone can manage their assets, pay bills, and make financial decisions, reducing stress and ensuring proper management of their affairs.

Another essential document is a health care representative, also known as healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy. This document designates someone to make medical decisions on an individual's behalf if they are unable to do so.

It is important to choose a trusted person who understands their values and healthcare preferences. We recommend working with an estate and elder law attorney to help guide you through the process of choosing a power of attorney and health care representative.

One commonly used document in estate planning is a living will. Not to be confused with a last will and testament, a living will outlines an individual's preferences for medical treatment in the event they become unable to make their own healthcare decisions. It can include instructions for end-of-life care, such as nutrition and hydration, and organ donation wishes. By having an advance directive, individuals can have peace of mind knowing that their medical wishes will be respected.

When a person passes away, their assets, debts, and personal belongings must be distributed according to their wishes and the applicable laws.

In many cases, this involves going through the probate process, which can be complex and time-consuming. In order to avoid probate, consider setting up a proper estate plan. Many people think having a well-crafted and executed will is the key to avoid probate court. However, a will is just a set of instructions that allows an individual to state how they want their wealth distributed after death. It does not keep an estate out of probate court.

In order to avoid probate, here are some options:

Beneficiary Designations: Some assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death bank accounts, allow you to designate beneficiaries. These assets transfer directly to the designated individuals upon death without going through probate.

Establish a Revocable Living Trust: A living trust is a legal document that holds and manages your assets during your lifetime and ensures the smooth transfer of those assets to your beneficiaries and heirs upon your death. In most cases, assets held in a living trust often bypass probate.

Joint Property Ownership: Having joint property ownership with rights of survivorship can help avoid probate. If one joint owner passes away, the ownership automatically transfers to the surviving joint owner.

Estate planning can be complicated, and the laws involved are complex. It is advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can guide and support you through the process to ensure your estate aligns with your goals.

There are several types of long-term care services available for older adults, depending on their needs and preferences. These services include assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health care.

Assisted living facilities are residential communities that provide personal care services, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management, while promoting independence. Residents typically have their own apartments and can access communal dining, social activities, and transportation services.

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, offer more intensive care for individuals with complex medical needs. These facilities provide round-the-clock nursing care, assistance with activities of daily living, and specialized services such as physical therapy and dementia care.

Home health care allows older adults to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. This type of service can include assistance with personal care, medication management, and medical monitoring. Home health care services may be provided by licensed nurses, therapists, or aides.

The level of care provided in each of these long-term care settings varies based on the individual's needs and the facility's capabilities. Assisted living facilities offer a moderate level of care, while nursing homes provide more comprehensive medical care. Home health care can range from basic assistance to complex medical treatments.

Understanding the purpose and scope of each type of long-term care service is essential for individuals and their families to make informed decisions about their care needs. By considering the level of care provided, specialized services offered, and personal preferences, older adults can choose the most appropriate long-term care option for their needs.

When it comes to paying for long-term care, there are various options available to individuals and families. Planning ahead is crucial to ensure both quality of care and asset protection. Here are some ways to access funding for long-term care:

1. Government Benefits: Government programs like Medicaid and Social Security can help cover the costs of long-term care. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides assistance to individuals with limited income and assets. Social Security benefits can also be used to help pay for long-term care expenses.

2. Long-Term Care Insurance: This type of insurance is specifically designed to cover long-term care costs. It can provide financial assistance for a range of services, including nursing home care, assisted living facilities, and home health care. Long-term care insurance policies vary, so it is important to carefully review the terms and benefits before purchasing a policy.

3. Personal Savings and Assets: Many individuals use their personal savings and assets, such as retirement accounts or property, to pay for long-term care. Planning ahead can help protect these assets and ensure they are used wisely to cover the cost of care while still preserving an individual's financial security.

4. Medicaid Planning: Medicaid planning involves structuring an individual's assets and income to meet the eligibility criteria for Medicaid while also ensuring proper asset protection. This can be a complex process and may require the assistance of an elder law attorney or financial planner experienced in Medicaid planning.

It is not enough to simply have everything written down in legal documents. You should have conversations with your family or whoever is going to be in charge of your care if you cannot take care of yourself.

While end of life planning is not an easy topic to talk about, it is still very important to make a priority. Make sure that your loved ones understand the intent of your long-term care plan. They should know where and how you want to live out your life while you still have the ability to share it with them. 

Are you ready to speak with an Aging Advisor? 
Click the button below to schedule a call.

Ask a Question

Have a question for our Aging Advisors? 
Simply fill out this form below and we will follow up with you.


Ready to Create Your Plan?

Our Aging Advisors are looking forward to speaking with you. 
Schedule a call today and download our Pre-Retirement Checklist.