May is National Elder Law Month, a time lawyers endeavor to spread the word that their specialty provides legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of seniors and people with disabilities. Columbia elder law attorney Lauren Wasson says there are three basic financial documents that should be in place for every senior citizen: a will, a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, which assigns a trusted person to speak for the elderly client if he/she is unable to speak for him/herself. Not having these documents in place can delay assistance for the person they’re designed to help, says Wasson.
Elder care attorneys can help clients work out a plan to pay for nursing care that they may need down the road, sometimes including outside agencies such as the VA or Medicaid, according to fellow lawyer Andy Atkins. He adds that regardless of the name, elder care is not just for the elderly, as the same types of planning and advice can benefit younger people who may have special needs and can use the same types of care and financial advocacy as can seniors.