As our loved ones age, we face new and complex issues, such as estate planning, retirement planning, possible disabilities, nursing home care, and financial planning. Without the right advice and proper planning, an illness can quickly turn into complicated and expensive challenges. The Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. understands how personal elder law planning matters are and wants our clients to feel comfortable when discussing these important issues.

What is an elder law attorney?

Elder law attorneys specialize in helping families as their loved ones age, navigating a wide range of legal matters. These may include health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, public benefits, etc. They assist with trusts, wills, probate and probate avoidance, and drafting important legal documents like durable powers of attorney, advanced directives, and living wills.

When should I hire an elder law attorney?


There is not a specific age for hiring an elder law attorney.  In fact, it is recommended to have basic estate planning documents, such as a power of attorney and healthcare surrogate, as early as the age of 18 in order to plan for emergent situations.  Additionally, an elder law attorney is helpful at any time when an individual is getting older and needs an advocate for legal issues. Older individuals who hire an elder law attorney will benefit by protecting their finances, having someone to help navigate elder law issues regarding their estate, and an advocate who will assist in family decisions or disputes.

Why do I specifically need an elder law attorney?


An elder law lawyer focuses on serving the needs of a particular client, unlike other lawyers who focus on a specific area of the law. They serve as advocates for their clients, helping them navigate laws, and are well-versed in options for assistance, government benefits, and the well-being of seniors and disabled persons. 

What types of questions should I ask an elder law attorney?


There is a lot of specialization among attorneys. Even if the lawyer is an elder law attorney, they may have a specific specialty within the elder law field, such as Medicaid and VA planning. You want to ensure that the attorney you choose to hire for your loved one specializes in the areas of elder law that are relevant to your situation. Some questions to ask may include:

  • How long have you practiced law?
  • How much time do you devote to elder law?
  • Do you have a specific emphasis on elder law?
  • What information should I bring with me to our initial meeting?
  • How do you bill your clients?


What is the difference between estate planning and elder law?


Estate planning and elder law often get confused with one another because of the overlap that exists between establishing what happens to your money when you die (estate planning) and managing your money while you are alive but older and in poor health (elder law).

Elder law is an important and specialized subject that is tied to the protection and care of your aging loved one. If you would like to discuss any of these subjects further or inquire about representation, please contact us at The Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. Law Office.