Elder Law is unique in that unlike other practice areas that focus on a particular type of law (like matrimonial, patent or persona injury), Elder Law focuses on a certain group of people – the elderly. After all, the elderly have different and more specialized needs than younger adults.
Elder Law encompasses more than estate planning
Elder Law certainly encompasses basic estate and financial planning, but it also involves a full range of issues including advocacy for an elderly person, assisting the family and the elderly person to plan for future care, transitioning into a care facility, reviewing care facility admission agreements, guardianship, addressing disability issues and maximizing government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veteran's benefits.
An Elder Law attorney should be skilled in mediation and resolving familial conflict
Another area in which an Elder Law attorney needs to be skilled is helping families resolve and mediate conflicts over how best to accommodate aging parents. In many cases, little is discussed while parents and grandparents are healthy and self-sufficient, but when that changes and parents become more dependent on their children, this new dynamic catches many families off guard and this can lead to familial conflict which, if not addressed early on, can lead to unnecessary alienation of vital family members and even protracted (and expensive) litigation. This can be avoided in many cases by bringing in an experienced Elder Law attorney who has the knowledge base to offer options for the family and help introduce other professionals with whom the family can work in developing an acceptable care plan such as a Geriatric Care Manager.