Elder Law Attorney in Pennsylvania

Elder Law is a term that refers to legal services provided to the elderly. Two of the primary issues involved in elder law involve (a) planning for disability and guardianships, and (b) estate planning, including long term care planning. All of these issues are discussed on this site, and are of particular importance to the senior community.

A person can plan for the possibility that he or she will become disabled by using a power of attorney and living will to provide for future decision making. If there is concern for protecting and managing assets, trusts can be established for that purpose. In the event of a failure to plan or an unexpected contingency, a guardianship may be appropriate to ensure that an elderly person is properly cared for.

With regard to long term care planning, it is important to consider how nursing care will be paid for in the event it is needed. This may involve privately paying, long term care insurance or Medicaid planning, or some combination of the three.

Attorney Ken Russell

Ken Russell – Elder Law Attorney

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Elder Law FAQs

Elder law attorneys are legal advocates for the elderly and their families.  “Elder Law ” encompasses a number of different areas which have a significant impact on an elderly individual (or couple). As people age, individuals who were once caregivers to others may need assistance with their own medical and financial matters as well as day-to-day issues such as assisted living, nursing homes or life planning. An elder law attorney is a specialist and can help with the following areas:

  1. Wills and Estate Planning:
  2. Selecting and paying for nursing homes and Medicaid Planning.
  3. Estate Administration or Probate Matters.
  4. A Durable Power of Attorney where someone can assist with financial matters
  5. An advance directive which allows someone to assist with medical matters as well as providing an individual to explain their own thoughts on the medical care they want in the future
  6. Guardianships – when someone who has failed to outline who can assist them with medical or financial matters or is having significant medical issues is in need of a court-appointed person to oversee their medical or financial needs.

The answer is – it depends.  After reading our answer on what an elder law care attorney does, there are a number of different areas of the law which encompass an elder law attorney. For our firm, these general guidelines apply:

  1. Wills and Estate Planning – we work on a Flat Fee basis and our schedule is available. Those fees range anywhere from $1,250-$4,500 depending on the Estate plan.
  2. Medicaid Planning or Nursing Home planning – We typically provide services for either pre-planning for a nursing home or “crisis planning” (where someone is already in a nursing home). The cost of crisis planning is typically one month’s of the average cost of a nursing home in Pennsylvania.
  3. Guardianships – typically cost $3,800 since it involves a Court hearing and medical testimony.

Estate planning is only one part of the legal planning provided by an Elder Law Attorney.  Estate planning typically describes the construction of an estate plan and documents including the basic plan of: (1) an Advance Health Care directive; (2) a Durable Power of Attorney; and, (3) a Will or Revocable Trust (Will substitute).  It may encompass other documents depending upon an individual’s needs.

“Elder Law” encompasses other legal areas where an attorney can be of assistance including nursing homes or Medicaid planning.  This also includes guardianships, long-term care planning, Veteran’s Benefits, Medicare, etc.   Elder Law is a more holistic approach to care for elder individuals to use legal, financial, and family resources to design a life-care-plan package that encompasses everything needed for that individual to maximize their life and lifestyle now and in the future.

When an elderly individual:

  1. Seems confused, depressed or withdrawn
  2. A stranger suddenly is involved in their lives and/or is controlling their living situation or financial matters.
  3. Becomes isolated from their friends or family.
  4. Has sudden or inexplicable changes to their finances, estate plan or living arrangements.
  5. Signs of physical neglect like bed sores or sickness or bruises
  6. Isolation from their professional advisors such as doctors, accountants, or lawyers.
  7. Significant deviations from their routines.

The 7 types of elder abuse are:

  1. Neglect
  2. Physical abuse
  3. Sexual abuse
  4. Abandonment
  5. Emotional or psychological abuse
  6. Financial abuse
  7. Self-neglect

Involuntary seclusion usually takes place in a nursing home, but it can also take place in a private residence.  This is when elderly individuals are restricted in their ability to travel, see loved ones, or it can be as simple as involuntary confinement to a room or bed.  There are very few situations where an individual can be restrained or secluded. This typically involves situations where those individuals are a danger to themselves or others.

Passive Neglect is when a caregiver, because of a lack of knowledge or skill, denies an elder individual food, health care services or other necessary services or treatments.  This is distinguished from “active neglect” where a caregiver intentionally deprives an elderly individual of those items.

Emotional neglect is when an elderly individual is yelled at, threatened or belittled.  It is the type of neglect that happens when no one else is present, available or paying attention. Elderly individuals are extremely vulnerable, and many times do not have the ability to protect themselves physically or verbally.  Certain times when an individual does raise concerns, it is critical that those concerns are not ignored.

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Areas We Serve: Huntingdon Valley, Media, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Wayne, Malvern, Bala Cynwyd, Radnor, Lower Merion, Devon, Berwyn, Overbrook, Ardmore, Haverford, Wynnewood, Narberth, Havertown, Springfield, Drexel Hill, Abington, Willow Grove, Horsham, Southampton, Feasterville-Trevose, Warminster, Hatboro, Fort Washington

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