Elder law (United States)
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes on issues that affect the aging population. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the elderly person for financial freedom and autonomy through proper financial planning and long-term care options.
The three major categories that make up elder law are:
- Estate planning and administration, including tax questions;
- Medicaid, disability and other long-term care issues; and
- Guardianship, conservatorship and commitment matters, including fiduciary administration.
Other issues found under the umbrella of elder law include such areas as estate planning; wills; trusts; guardianships; protection against elder abuse, neglect, and fraud; end-of-life planning; all levels of disability and medical care; retirement planning; Social Security benefits; Medicare and Medicaid coverage; Medicaid planning (United States); consumer protection; nursing homes and in-home care; powers of attorney; physicians' or medical care directives, declarations and powers of attorney; landlord/tenant needs; real estate and mortgage assistance; various levels of advice, counseling and advocacy of rights; tax issues; and discrimination.
The history of the Older Americans Act (OAA), originally signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 14, 1965 (the same year Medicare was created), claims credit for creating the Administration on Aging (AOA), a division within the Department of Health and Human Services. The OAA also authorized grants to States for community planning and services programs, funding for research, and demonstration and training projects in the field of aging.
In 1972 Amendments to the OAA added the national nutrition program for the elderly. The OAA of 2000 was amended on November 13, 2000, to include the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which was intended to help hundreds of thousands of family members who are struggling to care for their older loved ones who are ill or who have disabilities. This program provides grant funding for combined services between state and local agencies for such things as counseling, support groups, respite and other community-based services. These services are focused on the care of the frail and aging members of society. The program also provides services geared towards the family units of grandparents and other older relatives now in the stages of care-taking for related children eighteen years of age and under.
Elder law is an expansion of the traditional trust and estates practice.
Careers in or associated with elder law
Careers that are developing around the area of Elder Law include social workers, lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, guardians ad litem (GAL), various types of psychologists, care givers, financial planners, policy makers and legal advocates, benefit specialists, Better Business Bureau, Attorney General's Office, Consumer Protection Agency, political watch-dog groups, health care providers, researchers, funeral planners, grief counselors, case workers, abuse & fraud investigators, educators, product developers, transportation providers, entertainment and tour guides, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, insurance providers, or simply elder companions.
Essentially any career field can create a benefit to the aging of modern society.
- Krooks, Bernard; Kirkevold, Kameron (June 2014). "Why Elder Law". 28 (3). American Bar Association. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Frolick, Lawrence; Kaplan, Richard (April 29, 2014). Elder Law in a Nutshell (6th ed.). West Academic. p. 2–3.
- "Careers deal with how to properly and legally manage elderly care". patellawokc. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- Kenney F. Hegland & Robert B. Fleming, Alive and Kicking: Legal Advice . . . for Boomers (Carolina Academic Press 2007) ISBN 978-1-59460-322-8