People over 60 years old are one of the fastest growing parts of our population. All of us are constantly in a state of transition, but as people age, they face new physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Elder law practice incorporates not only the traditional aspects of estate planning such as wills, living wills, and general powers of attorney, but also involves helping elder law clients navigate other aspects of the aging process. These aspects can include retirement and life insurance benefits, health insurance, Social Security benefits, health care, assisted living, nursing home care, private home care, tax aspects of selling a personal residence, tax and Medicaid eligibility aspects of gifting real or personal property to children, providing funds for an education for grandchildren, what to do with a business, and planning for possible physical or mental incapacity.
The elder law attorney not only needs to understand wills and trusts law, but also business law, real estate law, and benefits law. The elder law attorney must be able to work with other professionals such as accountants, insurance agents, and financial planners in order to accomplish the client’s goals. Perhaps just as important, the elder law attorney must have insight, patience, empathy, and a caring approach to working with elder clients.
We strive to incorporate these attributes in our elder law practice. Leslie Ruth learned valuable lessons in watching her parents take care of their elderly parents, and in taking care of her father, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who lived with her to the age of 100.