We’re often asked about the difference between estate planning and elder law. The two go hand in hand. One notable similarity is that that they are both more universal than most people think. Estate planning is not only for those with large estates, and elder law is not only for the elderly, but there are also important distinctions between the two.
Let’s talk about estate planning. Estate planning focuses on an individual’s assets, how they should be held while the individual is still living, and how they should be distributed after that person dies. An estate planning attorney can use tax planning strategies to minimize estate taxes. Proper estate planning will also use substitutes for a will to minimize the cost of probate. Of primary importance to many people is the ability to make specific choices regarding who the beneficiaries of the assets are. With the help of an estate planning attorney, an individual can create a plan that reflects the wishes of the person about how his or his property should be distributed upon their death.
Without a proper estate plan in place, assets will be distributed according to the strict requirements in the Probate Code, which may be well different from what the person wants. Additionally, an estate plan and attorney can create a plan that includes protecting the needs of minor children and family members with disabilities so that each family is best provided for according to their unique and individual needs.
Now, let’s talk about Elder Law. Elder Law is a broad field that encompasses many different areas of the law. It’s not just for the elderly, and it can be most effective when it is started before someone reaches an advanced age. Elder law focuses on providing a plan to continue living according to one’s wishes as that person get solder while remaining in good financial standing.
Depending on the individual circumstances, this plan can include trusts, gifts to family members, buying long term care insurance, and qualifying for medical or VA benefits. Elder Law planning also may include many of the estate planning tools, such as trusts and powers of attorney to avoid the needs for conservatorship. The plan could also include medical planning so that the individual can name someone to make health care decisions if that individual can’t anymore. A proper Elder law plan should be a comprehensive holistic plan, taking into account the specific needs of the individual and his or her needs as they age.
Now, attorneys practicing in the fields of estate planning and elder law share a common goal to help their clients achieve their wishes while protecting their property and assets for themselves and their loved ones. It is important to reach out to a qualified elder care and a state planning attorney for ensuring that you have plans for your future. My name is Matthew Kreider, and thank you for watching.