Elder law covers a variety of issues, the most common of which are:
Guardianships allow one person to make personal decisions for someone who cannot make such decisions for him- or herself. For example, an adult child may need to make personal decisions for his or her aging parent. Guardianships can also be ordered for a minor child who is not being raised by his or her parent.
Conservatorships allow one person to handle the assets of someone who cannot handle his or her own assets. For example, an adult child may need to pay his or her parent’s bills for his or her aging parent. Conservatorships can also be ordered for a minor child who is not being raised by his or her parent.
The person for whom a guardianship and/or a conservatorship is appointed is referred to as a “ward.”
Guardians and conservators can only be appointed by a state district court. The person seeking appointment as either a guardian and/or conservator has to show the court that the proposed ward is an incompetent person, a mentally incompetent or a minor who is not being raised by his or her parent.
Guardian ad Litem Services are sometimes needed to represent the best interests of a proposed ward in a guardianship and/or conservatorship matter or of a minor whose custody is in dispute. The guardian ad litem investigates the situation and reports back to the court, with recommendations as to how the issue(s) should be resolved. The court considers, but is not required, to accept the recommendations of the guardian ad litem.
Long Term Care covers a variety of issues for persons who need physical or mental care over an extended period of time.
Medicare is a government funded health insurance program for persons who are at least 65 years old or younger persons who have been disabled for at least two years. There is only one Medicare program and it covers both older adults and adults with disabilities. Medicare Part A covers hospitalizations and certain other medical costs. Medicare Part B covers physicians’ visits and certain other medical costs. Medicare Part D provides prescription medication coverage. Medicare also offers other, less well known benefits, such as a home health care benefit.
Medicaid Planning and Recovery. Medicaid is government funded program for persons in need of medical care, provided those persons qualify for such benefits. The goal of Medicaid planning is to protect some of an applicant’s assets, while qualifying the applicant for Medicaid sooner rather than later. Medicaid recovery involves making sure that Medicaid receives only what it is entitled to in reimbursement from the estate of a now deceased Medicaid recipient.