Many people believe elder law and estate planning serve the same purpose and, as a result, do not need to worry about both things. However, while estate planning and elder law do have some similarities, consulting with an experienced Northern Virginia estate planning attorney is the best way to know what type of legal help you need to ensure your future wishes, desires, and plans are carried out.
The Differences Between Estate and Elder Law
Estate planning and elder law are two distinct but equally important areas of law. However, the main difference between them is that elder law focuses on protecting your assets during your lifetime, whereas estate planning focuses on what happens to your assets after your death.
What is Elder Law?
Elder law is usually defined as a specific field of law that focuses on addressing legal issues that are related to senior citizens. The objective of elder law planning is to assist elderly individuals in achieving financial independence and self-sufficiency by providing them with suitable long-term care options and financial planning guidance.
In addition, elder law often involves:
- Anticipating a person’s future medical needs, including long-term care.
- Preparing plans that help preserve a person’s assets.
- Determining whether an individual qualifies for Medicaid or other government programs to help with long-term care.
- Assistance with guardianship and conservatorship issues.
Estate Planning: A Basic Overview
Estate planning refers to the process of making a plan in advance. This includes naming entities or individuals you want to receive the things you own after you pass away and taking steps to fulfill your wishes as easily as possible.
While elder law usually focuses on older individuals, estate planning is for all ages. This is because estate planning is a proactive task that helps prepare everyone for the inevitable – their passing and offers families a roadmap to follow when they can no longer go to their loved one for guidance.
However, it is important to note that estate plans often change, especially as life circumstances change. As a result, it is important to revisit these plans every few years or when there are significant changes in the family, such as divorce, marriage, or births.
Can One Attorney Do Both Estate Planning and Elder Law?
Although the practice areas of elder law and estate planning overlap, not all attorneys practice in both areas. For these reasons, before you start Googling and trying to hire just an attorney to help with your future plans, it is important to consult with an experienced Northern Virginia estate planning attorney. These legal professionals can review your questions and concerns, determine if they are able to provide you with the legal assistance you need, and, if possible, create a comprehensive plan that works for your future.
Contact Ardent Guardian Today For More Information About Estate Plans
If you have questions about estate planning in Northern Virginia or are thinking about creating an estate plan, do not wait any longer to get the information you need. Contact Ardent Guardian online or call us at 703.592.6774 and find out how our legal team can help you.