for Attorneys and the general public, located in Washington DC and Maryland
|What is Elder Law ?|
The Webster's Dictionary describes Aging as "the mental and physical changes that occur as we grow older." Attorneys who practice in the field of Elder Law frequently work with professionals in the fields of medicine, social work, long term care, and finance to maximize the client's options. The attorney works closely with these other professionals to meet the changing needs of the client.
|Elder Law focuses on the following:|
|Common Misconceptions Regarding Elder Law|
|Common Perception:||Guardianship is a simple process especially if requested by the family. Just ask the family doctor to appoint you as guardian.|
|Reality:||Actually, Guardianship is a court procedure which is subject to the regular court related costs and time delays. Approximately 8 to 10 weeks are necessary. The Court will generally appoint additional attorneys to represent the subject, often costing the subject many thousands of dollars. Family doctors do not appoint guardians. Guardianships may usually be avoided with a properly executed Health Care Power of Attorney|
|Common Perception:||Family members are allowed to write checks and use other financial resources which belong to relatives who become mentally or physically disabled through illness.|
|Reality:||In fact, family members are never automatically given permission to use financial resources unless held in joint name. If the financial resource is not held jointly then written authorization is required, which is called a durable power of attorney. If no Power of Attorney was prepared while the person was competent, it may be necessary for the Court to appoint a Guardian and/or Conservator, which can cost the family thousands of Dollars|
|Common Perception:||Planning for an age-related mental disability can be done at any time, even if the person is in a hospital.|
|Reality:||Actually, Planning for an age-related mental disability can be accomplished only if the person in question is mentally competent to prepare, sign, and understand the necessary documents. If he is no longer competent, it may be necesary to start court guardianship proceeding.|
|Common Perception:||Adult children do not need special permission to help their parents, and the oldest child always makes the final decision if the parents are unable.|
|Reality:||As mentioned above, adult children , including the oldest child, are not automatically authorized to make financial or health care decisions for unable parents. Written authorization in the form of a power of attorney is required in order to act for the parent .|
|Common Perception:||My children will know what is best for me if I get sick. Why should I worry about something that may never happen? If I ever need help, my children will know who to call.|
|Reality:||On the contrary, if a crises occurs , children are often unaware of their parents' wishes. The children may live out of state and not even know who their parents' doctors, attorney, or accountant are.|
NOTE: Proper planning in advance, can relieve most of these and other problems, with the advance preparation of Durable Powers of Attorney for both heath and finances.
|Elder Law, Aging, and Internet Resources for Seniors|
|Administration on Aging|
|Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA)|
|Health Policy Page|
|Kansas Elder Law Network|
|National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)|
The educational information provided here is only general in nature and is not intended as a legal opinion. For specific advice or assistance, please contact a legal professional.
For those that need further legal
assistance, The Probate and Estate Administration, Will, Trust and Eloder Law Resource Center provides Guidance for Lawyers and the Public, and an introduction into the District of Columbia and Maryland law practice
of Attorney George Teitelbaum, licensed
both in DC and MD. Check out George Teitelbaum's Legal Experience and Background, as well as office locations and other contact information. .
We offer a wide variety of estate and elder law services for clients throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland. Attorney George Teitelbaum also assists clients located out of state that may have legal issues in the District of Columbia. To go to my main web site Click here.