Legal issues can arise at any time, for anyone, at any age. And while a good lawyer is important throughout all stages of your life, seniors can be especially vulnerable. There are a number of common situations a senior could be faced with in which they could benefit from the help of an experienced, trusted attorney.
Many seniors get to a certain point in life where making sound decisions regarding money or healthcare can become difficult due to their declining health or mental capacity. This can be confusing and scary, and can sometimes end badly. In order to avoid this, seniors should take certain steps early on to set some legal parameters to carry out their wishes.
For example, a power of attorney for both healthcare and finances appoints a trusted person to make decisions for you in case you cannot make them for yourself. Additionally, a living will clearly states your wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. Another smart precaution seniors can take is to prepare a guardianship agreement in advance, which gives a trusted person legal responsibility for your personal care, that would go into effect in the event if certain health conditions are met.
Real Estate Issues
Growing older can lead to the inevitable “empty nest”, where the kids have moved on and the house suddenly seems too large. Aging and medical issues can also make walking up and down stairs more difficult. Whatever the reason, it is common for seniors to sell their house and downsize to something smaller, move to a warmer climate, or even into an assisted living facility. When selling or purchasing real estate, a senior should have a qualified attorney to review contracts, assist with offers and ensure all closing documents and title policies are in order.
As people get older, they often think of passing on their wealth to their heirs. Many seniors want to start gifting while they are still living, but this can cause some legal issues. For example, giving away too many of your assets can cause you to be penalized by Medicaid if you try to apply for long-term benefits. It is always a good idea to speak with your attorney and develop a well-thought-out plan for gifting during your retirement years.
Legal Issues Following the Death of a Spouse
Losing a spouse is extremely difficult and can come with an overwhelming list of legal responsibilities. After initial tasks like notifying loved ones and planning the service, estate issues involving the will, trusts, assets, debts, taxes and more must all be settled. An experienced estate attorney like Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is essential during these times to ensure everything is completed properly.
Nursing Home Abuse
One of the hardest legal issues facing seniors can be improper care at a nursing home. Abuse in a healthcare facility can include physical abuse, overmedicating, verbal abuse, lack of proper nutrition, poor hygiene and much more. Unfortunately, it can be a common occurrence and legal assistance should be sought out at the first sign that you or a loved one may be a victim.
Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd has been an active member of the Grayslake community for over 100 years and we proudly support the senior members of our area with compassion and dedication. Contact our office at 847-223-1500 for more information or to schedule a consultation.