The fact of the matter is that many aspects of long-term care planning are so complex that it’s best to leave them to a professional. What many people fail to realize is that attorneys who assist clients in elder law issues often have a greater understanding of how to get your medical and financial wishes fulfilled in the event that you should become incapacitated for a long period of time.
For example, your attorney can help you prepare Advance Medical Directives, or so-called “living wills”. These are legal documents which serve to advise health care professionals of what medical treatments you want performed on you when you are unable to communicate those wishes on your own.
Another benefit of retaining an estate planning attorney is that you can specify your attorney as the individual whom you have appointed to handle your affairs and make decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated. Additionally, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies to achieve a favorable outcome with regard to health insurance, long-term care insurance, etc.
It perhaps goes without saying, but your elder law attorney has probably dealt with previous family members who needed to apply for Medicaid assistance as well as other New York State programs designed to assist individuals with limited funds. Your attorney can help walk you through the application process in both of those matters.
Conservatorships, and guardianships are still some other, sometimes overlooked, services that an elder law attorney can provide. If you become incapacitated, these legal agreements can help family members assume certain duties and responsibilities to provide for your long-term care. Of course, the decision to retain an attorney ultimately rests with you. However, these examples might help you to understand some of the benefits that your New York elder law attorney can provide.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “How to Decide,” accessed May. 14, 2015