Elder Law covers a broad area of topics. To ensure that an elder is cared for and that they are treated fairly, laws have been created to address and protect their rights. Here are three common topics in Elder Law.
It surprises many people to learn that they have what is considered an “estate”. Most people confuse the term to mean a house or property of some sort, but an estate includes so much more. For example, personal possessions, life insurance investments, vehicles and checking accounts are considered part of a person’s estate. Estate planning is a topic that elders should think about.
In truth, everyone should think about estate planning because it’s something that everyone will need to eventually face. Estate planning ensures that loved ones and organizations receive what the elder leaves for them after he or she has passed. However, estate planning also includes passing on personal valuables, instructions on what should happen in the event the elder becomes disabled before he or she dies, provisions for family members with special needs, provisions to transfer disability or retirement payments, and more.
People who don’t put aside time for estate planning may have their belongings and other portions of their estate decided upon by the state or probate laws. This is why it’s better to handle these affairs earlier rather than later.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect happens more than people expect. Because the elderly in nursing facilities are often at a disadvantage physically or mentally, laws exist to provide the utmost protection for them. When a nursing home harms an elder in any way and it can be shown that harm caused an injury, the nursing home has committed neglect. Neglect can come in the form of untreated bedsores, falls, or infections, amongst other types of neglect. Federal law states that if a nursing home has committed neglect, they are understaffed because they should have been able to meet the needs of their elders.
There are times when a senior doesn’t need to be at a nursing home, hospital or other facility; however, their quality of life has diminished in some aspect. With assisted living, elders can be cared for in their home so that they still have a large amount of their independence, can stay in their home, and carry out most day-to-day tasks. However, there are times when an elder would benefit from living in a community or some other place based upon their individual needs. Housing transitions takes into consideration what would be the best for the elder.
Attorneys who handle elder law issues work closely with their clients to find the best solution possible, and carefully listen to what they want. There is much involved in taking care of them, their health, their belongings, their wishes, and helping them to live a life with dignity and respect. Elders deserve all of this, which is why elder law exists. If you need assistance with estate planning, nursing home neglect, or helping a loved on transition to new housing, contact a DC personal injury lawyer today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into elder care law.