Elder Law Lawyer Minneapolis, MN
Preparing for future life events can be a daunting task, as an elder law lawyer that Minneapolis, MN residents rely on understands very well. It’s important to make the required arrangements so that your values and wishes will be respected, and that your loved ones will be taken care of after your death. Elderly loved ones and their families who are beginning to think about the process may need the guidance from a lawyer who is familiar with elder law and related practice areas such as estate planning. If you or a loved one need helpful direction for how to get started with financial planning, speak to an experienced attorney such as one from Johnston Martineau, PLLP now.
Elder Law Lawyer in Minneapolis, MN
An elder law lawyer advocates for senior citizens and their families, and has a deep understanding of laws that affect the aging population. The trusted attorneys at Johnston Martineau, PLLP have helped many clients for years across a wide variety of practices, and take the time to listen to each client. Good communication and accessibility is essential to quality legal assistance, so they will accommodate your schedule and, if necessary, will go to you if you are unable to attend an appointment. Reach out to a lawyer to find out how you can receive help.
What a Lawyer Can Do For You
Attorneys that have a strong knowledge of elder law know that many older individuals and their families choose to create an estate plan. Estate planning can be a lengthy process which may be difficult to do without professional assistance, as there are many legal terms, concepts, and procedures involved. Since there is a lot of overlap in these topics, elder law attorneys often specialize in both topics. Here are some of the legal services a Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law lawyer can offer:
- Draft legal documents such as wills, living wills, and durable power of attorney
- Review your financial information and check your documents to make sure they are free of errors
- Explain the definition and significance of legal terms and concepts you may not be familiar with
- Assist you with decisions related to healthcare planning
- Help in choosing individuals to include in your estate plan
- File a claim for cases involving personal injury or nursing home abuse
Questions for an Elder Law Attorney
It is understandable if you are not sure what the best approach is to specify your estate planning goals. Common questions a client may have for an elder law attorney include the following:
- How do I know if I need an estate plan?
- What documents are included in an estate plan?
- Who should I include in my estate plan?
- How do I determine the value of my estate?
- Can my estate plan be updated?
Can My Loved One Sign Legal Documents, Even With Dementia?
Understanding dementia is hard, but the answer to this question depends on your loved one’s dementia. How advanced is it at the time of the signing? Do they have the capacity to understand what they are signing, even if they may not remember their loved ones? Courts have actually found that many people in advanced stages of dementia understand and are deemed competent enough to sign important legal documentation. The medical deifinition of incapacitated is different than the legal definition, Someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can still be legally competent to sign paperwork. The physician treating them can write up a statement that declares them incapacitated or not, but this does not determine the legal incapacity of your loved one. Legal documents have different capacity requirements, and your elder law lawyer can walk you through that.
What Core Documents Do I Need?
Most people should have these documents, regardless of age.
- Durable power of attorney, that also contains long-term care planning statements within (typically generic forms do not suffice here).
- Health care directions (such as living wills, and health care surrogate designation).
- Last Will & Testament
- Trust agreement
What Is The Greatest Threat To My Financial Security?
Did you know that for people who are over the age of fifty, the greatest threat to their financial security and sometimes their financial independence is long term care? People with dementia or other ailments may need more care than their families can provide at home, and for people who do not have ailments that are considered terminal will require care for longer periods of time, typically the rest of their lives.
The issue is, though, long term care is expensive and most people cannot afford long term care. Either they cannot afford it or everything they have will be wiped out trying to pay for it. There are legal and ethical ways of protecting your life saving’s from the cost of care, without having to give away your assets or waiting out penalty periods. Ask your lawyer about this.
Are There Dementia Specific Provisions for Power of Attorney?
Great question! Elder law lawyers may have provisions in place for dementia-specific and long term care issues that are not found in typical powers of attorney. An example is the issue of hospital and nursing homes chasing after adult children with their parents’ unpaid bills, these facilities seek the patient’s signature of the admissions agreements but also want the children’s signatures. The power of attorney would contain a specific provision that either authorizes the children of the patient to sign these agreements on the patient’s behalf. This means your children are signing as a representative capacity, and are not liable for any costs incurred.
Another example of provisions that most elder law lawyers are going to have in place involve Medicaid and V.A. benefit planning. There were changes to the law that make it more important than ever for your children to have the authority to protect your assets even if you (the patient) cannot sign.
Legal Assistance is Available
You do not have to create an estate plan alone. Though there is no right time to create one, is it best to prepare early while you are well enough to express how you want your estate to be handled and how you want your family to be provided for. If you are interested in learning more about how an estate plan can benefit you, contact an experienced Minneapolis, MN elder law lawyer now to schedule a free consultation.