At some point in your life there is a good chance that you will need the assistance of an elder law attorney. It might be for your own legal needs, or because you are the loved one or caretaker of an older individual. Regardless, it will be important, when the time comes, to consult with an experienced Texas elder law attorney.
In order to recognize the need for an elder law attorney you must first know what elder law is. What type of issues and concerns fall under the purview of elder law? Legal needs of the elderly are certainly nothing new in the United States. What is relatively new though is that there is now a specialty area within the law devoted solely to handling those needs. As a result, elder law lawyers have made the choice to focus their practice on elder law issues.
The Aging of America
In recent years, the elderly (age 65 and older) population in the U.S. has increased at an unprecedented rate. In less than 40 years, the population of older Americans is expected to jump from about 43 million to over 83 million. That’s an increase of almost 100 percent! As a result, the older Americans will outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and under) for the first time in history. The Baby Boomer generation has been deemed largely responsible for this “Greying of America.”
For starters, there are simply more people in the Baby Boomer generation than in any previous generation. Add on to this the increased life expectancy of the average American. It’s almost doubled in the last 100 years! The explosion of the elderly population has had an impact on almost every segment of American society, including the legal field. We now have a significant group of Americans who face unique legal needs, giving rise to a new area of the law known as “elder law.”
What Kind of Legal Matters Do Elder Law Lawyers Handle?
Of course, the elderly face many of the same legal issues that their younger counterparts do; however, they also have unique legal needs and concerns. With this in mind, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA, was formed in the late 1980s as a way to better serve this growing segment of the population. Since then, a national certification program has been developed. It is known as, Certified Elder Law Attorney, or CELA. This program allows attorneys to gain recognition for their knowledge in the area of elder law.
Attorneys who have chosen to focus their practice on elder law issues are a unique breed amongst lawyers. Many attorneys, such as criminal defense lawyers, specialize in a specific area. Elder law attorneys choose not to limit their focus to one specific area of the law. Instead, an elder law attorney must be well versed in a wide range of areas of the law as they affect the elderly. For instance, and elder law attorney might handle:
- Denial of disability
- Estate planning
- Health insurance issues
- Retirement planning
- Nursing home abuse
- Medicaid planning
- Veteran’s benefits
Each of these issues relates to a different area of the law; however, they may all impact the elderly and those who care for them. Think of elder law in broad terms instead of narrow terms. Essentially, any legal issues that impact the elderly, or those who care for the elderly, would fall within the purview of an elder law attorney. An elder law attorney has a better understanding of how issues that impact/affect the elderly and their loved ones. They use this understanding to determine how deal to with those issues from a legal perspective.
If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, or you believe you are in need of an elder law attorney, contact the experienced Texas elder law lawyers at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.