Guide to Elder Law for the Probate, Estates, Wills, and Trusts Lawyer Resource Center
for Attorneys and the general public, located in Washington DC and Maryland

Guide to Elder Law

What is Elder Law ?
Elder Law focuses on legal issues relating to people over the age of 55 and their families. Elder Law seeks to provide each client with the education and information necessary to understand the ever-growing complex issues and process of "growing older" in America. Through the preparation of appropriate legal documents, options and choices become available to the individual or family to manage future age-related mental or physical disabilities. The Law Offices of George Teitelbaum, licensed both in DC and MD, can assist with the preparation or review of these documents. To go to his main web site, which has lots of additional information on elder law and related issues, CLICK HERE.

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:
  • Probate and Estate Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Wills and Testamentary TRusts
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Living Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney or Health Proxies
  • Guardianships for Minors or for Incapacitated Adults
  • Conservatorships
  • Living Wills or Health Directives
  • Asset Management
  • Contract Review
  • Medicaid Assistance <
  • Taxes
  • Real Estate Issues
  • Retirement Planning

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

ElderCare Web

Senior Corner
    A web site for senior citizens and their families, friends, neighbors, and caregivers. A resource for the elderly, including statistics, demographics, and state specific information.

    A huge site with resources, references, and links to other sites. In addition to ads and bulletin boards, SeniorSite includes sections on computers, education, health, legal issues, travel, and more, as they relate to senior citizens.

Administration on Aging
    Their official web page includes the ElderCare Locator, the National Aging Information Center, and other federal programs for the aging.

Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA)
    The Health Care Financing Administration main office in Baltimore provides information on Medicaid and Medicare, as well as its other programs. Features include press releases, speeches, statistics, and the full text of regulations.

Health Policy Page
    A virtual magazine of the Electronic Policy Network, with monthly articles, reports, and other information about health care policy in America. Usually a source for Medicaid and Medicare reform facts and opinions.

Kansas Elder Law Network
    A site maintained by the Kansas University Library that provides links to many points of legal interest to seniors on the web.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
    A non-profit organization established in 1987 to provide information, education, networking and assistance for those who deal with the many specialized issues involved with legal services to the elderly.

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.

Law Offices of George A. Teitelbaum
2416 Blueridge Avenue, Suite 200
Wheaton,  MD 20902
(4 blocks North of Wheaton Plaza and the Wheaton Metro Station on the Red Line, off Georgia Avenue, with easy and convenient parking only steps away)
1025 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1012
Washington,  DC 20036
(right next to the Farragut North Metro Station on the Red Line)

Probate and estate administration, estate planning, and elder law attorney George Teitelbaum provides representation to clients throughout Washington, D.C., in all areas such as Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, George Washington University, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, Sheridan, Logan Circle, Mount Vernon Square, Shaw, West End, Barney Circle, Capitol Hill, Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Kingman Park, Navy Yard, Near Northeast, Penn Quarter, NoMa, Southwest Federal Center, Southwest Waterfront, Union Station, and the National Mall. Also, Suburban Maryland, including: Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Wheaton, Silver Spring, Rockville, Bethesda, Aspen Hill, Kensington, Gaithersburg, Olney, Leisure World, and Potomac. Attorney George Teitelbaum also assists clients located out of state that may have legal issues in the District of Columbia or in Maryland.