Elder Law is the field of law that addresses the diverse legal needs of people over age 65. This includes the following legal areas:
- Disability planning
- Long term care planning, including Medicaid planning and veterans benefits
- Estate planning (see Estate Planning discussed in the Estate Planning Prompt)
- Guardianship and conservatorship
- Estate settlement, including probate and trust administration
- Elder abuse, both personal and financial
For example, with respect to disability planning there are several legal documents that you need to have in place to protect you and your property from guardianship or conservatorship, including a Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Director, which includes a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. In addition, a Revocable Living Trust is usually part of a comprehensive disability plan.
At the law firm of McSwiney, Hankin-Birke, Wood & Christie, P.C. in New London, NH, we can assist you with Long Term Care Planning, including review of long term care plans and Medicaid Planning. Unfortunately many people do not think about planning for their long term health care needs until a crisis hits. Long term care planning is the only way to insure that your health care needs will be met without having to spend all of your assets on you. Medicaid Planning is one of options available with long term care planning and involves re-positioning and/or transferring assets in order to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits sooner.
When a person becomes mentally incapacitated, who will be able to make the incapacitated person’s personal and financial decisions? If the person took the time to make a disability plan, then he or she will have the right legal documents in place and will be able to dictate who will make these decisions.
But if the person does not have a disability plan, then a family member, friend, or, in some cases, a complete stranger, will have to go to court and request that a guardian or conservator be appointed on behalf of the incapacitated person. A Guardianship is a court-supervised process of administering an incapacitated person’s estate, which tends to have high administrative costs.
As people age, unfortunately they become prone to personal and/or financial abuse. This can range from “granny kidnapping” to outright theft of personal belongings and financial assets. Financial elder abuse can occur through the use of a Durable Power of Attorney or by undue influence, such as wrongfully coercing an elderly person to give away their assets or change their Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust. This has led to a specialized area of litigation aimed at recovering the elderly person’s assets.
At McSwiney, Hankin-Birke, Wood & Christie, PC, we can assist you with all facets of New Hampshire Elder Law.
PHONE: 603-526-6955 • FAX: 603-526-6485
TOLL FREE NUMBER: 877-896-6794
LOCATION: 280 Main Street New London, NH 03257