Elder law is a broad topic that deals with issues faced as we age. It focuses on the legal challenges that elderly individuals and their families may experience. Keep reading to explore what Elder Law entails, and how it helps ensure the well-being and protection of Maryland’s aging population.
Key Aspects of Elder Law in Maryland
Long-Term Care Planning
Long term care planning is a type of estate planning. It focuses on the potential for developing a condition that would require nursing home care. It includes personal care as well as financial care, including Medicaid eligibility. Planning in advance of the onset of a catastrophic illness provides greater latitude and control of what is otherwise an uncontrollable situation.
Medicaid Long Term Care
Medicaid is a government initiative that offers financial aid for long-term care services. It is subject to eligibility criteria. Our firm’s ProActive Elder Law program affords clients and their families the opportunity to plan in advance and have the plan adapt to any changes that may occur in the Medicaid qualifications. Since Medicaid is a payor of last resort, it is important to have help when making decisions that could have negative implications for years to come.
Guided by our Maryland Elder Law attorneys, individuals can navigate the Medicaid planning process seamlessly. An experienced lawyer will help ensure that adequate care remains accessible to elderly individuals while their assets and financial well-being are safeguarded. By undertaking advanced planning, you and your loved ones can attain peace of mind, knowing you are well-prepared for future potential care needs.
Medicaid Crisis Planning
Medicaid Crisis Planning occurs when someone is in the nursing home and then wants to limit their financial exposure. It is not the ideal situation, but using proper strategies, families can qualify for Medicaid long term care benefits to pay the nursing home cost while preserving assets that would otherwise have to be spent. Crisis planning tends to be more expensive than the Proactive planning, but significant assets can be preserved to pay for things such as a private care manager to oversee the nursing home care if family members can’t be there every day. In such urgent situations, an attorney can help you take immediate measures to help your loved one qualify for Medicaid.
Estate Planning and Asset Protection
Elder Law estate planning is focused on asset protection, but once the protection is in place, the usual concepts of estate planning such as providing potential protection for beneficiaries should they have a catastrophic illness, have a lawsuit judgment entered against them, go through a divorce, etc. A properly structured estate plan will account for a client’s goals both for the client and the client’s beneficiaries, enabling the protections to be extended through each generation.
Getting your wishes clear and in writing before there is ever a concern about your ability to make decisions is important if you want to be in control. When you do not take the time to set your wishes clearly you run the risk of your family having to go to court to have a judge appoint a guardian who can make those health care decisions for you. This type of extremely personal decision making is best done by you, not for you.
Unfortunately, elder abuse is a growing concern. Elder Law attorneys in Maryland can play a critical role in protecting older individuals.
What Constitutes Elder Abuse?
It can take different forms:
- Physical Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Warning signs of elder abuse may include sudden changes in mental, physical, or financial well-being. Emotional and behavioral shifts such as increased fear, isolation, or withdrawal, physical signs like unexplained injuries or poor hygiene, and financial indicators such as fraudulent signatures or abrupt changes in spending patterns are red flags.