Lawyer Helping Protect Our Parents And Their Legacies Through Elder Law
Elder Law Attorney Caring For The Gainesville Community
Our mission at Johnson Law Firm is to ensure that older people are allowed to live with dignity, maintain their rights, and not be treated as children. It takes a team that is compassionate, dedicated, and caring to provide exemplary service to this community. We are proud to serve the people of Gainesville, Virginia, in this area.
Society is undergoing a massive shift in demographics. People are living longer lives. With an aging population comes a new landscape of legal issues. Not all firms are equipped to deal with these rapid changes and never before seen situations.
Because we have dedicated a portion of our practice to Elder Law, we are highly experienced and ready to help with estate planning, Medicaid planning, medical directives, assigning powers of attorney, and more.
Johnson Law Firm, Elder Law Attorney – Practice Specialization
Our firm has been working in the community and handling elder law cases for more than a decade. No matter what you need to discuss, we are confident that we can help.
Here are some of the cases and documents we handle most often:
Wills are a vital part of estate planning. This legal document outlines how your estate is distributed after your death. Wills determine who gets what. There could also be directives about the manner and timeline for distribution.
Many, especially in Virginia, are tempted to draft their wills with a simple software program. While this is technically legal, you leave yourself vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances and other pitfalls that could throw a wrench into your planning.
We also encourage our elderly patients to have a living will. Living wills provide financial and medical directives to be carried out while you are still alive. The intent is to ensure that your wishes are carried out even if you are not mentally able to communicate them.
Many of our clients ask us to create trusts for them instead of a will. The reason is that a trust doesn’t have to go through probate court when you pass away, but a will does.
The probate process can take months or longer. It can also be incredibly expensive.
Trusts also help your beneficiaries avoid taxes, and they can also protect your heirs from losing out on aid from government entitlement programs.
However, trusts aren’t always superior. Whether you should have a will or trust depends on a variety of factors, which we can discuss in our office during your complimentary consultation.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is someone who acts on your behalf for legal, financial, and health issues. Choose this proxy wisely, as they are given a blank check to your life and finances.
It is illegal to discriminate against people based on age, whether it’s for employment, housing, or another reason.
Often, we hear of baby boomers being excluded from jobs or missing out on promotions because of their age.
Though the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees age 40 and above, the clients who most typically need our help with these cases are those approaching retirement. They still need to work to provide for their families and retirement funds. But they find themselves being pushed out of the workforce or remaining stagnant, despite their advanced skills and experience.
Proving age discrimination is difficult, but it’s not impossible. An experienced attorney can help. Keeping an incident log of the following will help strengthen your case:
– Any comments made by an employer about your age;
– A decline in performance review ratings that coincide with your age progression;
– Being disciplined for an act that a younger employee got away with;
– A noticeable pattern of upward mobility among younger employees; and
– Dreary assignments that are assigned to you but not to younger employees.
Keep in mind that a lawsuit can be both timely and expensive. We recommend discussing your case with us to see if we can gather enough evidence for a potentially better deal with your employer.
The elderly are more vulnerable than the general population, especially if they are faced with a mental decline or physical disabilities. The abuse can take many forms, including:
– Physical abuse
– Intentional isolation
– Financial exploitation
Fraud has become rampant in recent years as technological advances outpace the speed of understanding and learning for many individuals. Further, scammers have gotten more creative over the years.
What is particularly heartbreaking is how often the elderly are taken advantage of by people they love and trust, including family members, friends, doctors, and caregivers. Plus, any interaction with a stranger is a potential opening for a scammer. Telemarketers, salespeople, door-to-door canvassers, websites, and virtual pen pals can all be operating with an ulterior motive.
Neglect is a form of elder abuse that is especially tragic. Whether it’s not providing proper nutrition or company, or simply not fulfilling essential duties, the elderly person suffers. While it’s true that we can’t anticipate all of these events or prevent them from happening, we can make sure you have a plan in place with trusted caregivers and a strong network of people who care.
In traditional law, guardianship usually refers to minors, but in the case of elder law, the guardianship pertains to the older adult.
Guardianship or Conservatorship is when someone legally cares for an elderly person when they are no longer able to care for themselves.
These agreements have to go through the courts, which can be expensive. There are more pocketbook-friendly alternatives to guardianship, including:
– Living trust – you designate someone who will handle your financial affairs
– Representative payeeship – you assign someone to manage your income if your income is derived from government benefits
– Power of attorney – you give someone the right to act on your behalf to make financial decisions, sign documents, and establish medical directives
Elder Law Attorney FAQs
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?
Elder law attorneys consult on any legal matter pertaining to an older person, including estate planning, health care issues, guardianship, Medicaid planning, Medicare, retirement, and Social Security.
Older people are in a position where they have to have a solid plan in place for their eventual death. They also may need protection and financial planning while they are still alive. An elder law attorney can help.
Who Needs to Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
Anyone approaching old age or who is already elderly should consider meeting with an elder law attorney. As you age, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of, and the mountain of forms and legal documents that have to be filled out are complicated. One mistake can cost thousands or more.
There’s a corny lawyer joke that goes something like this:
Person: Do I need an elder law attorney?
Lawyer: Only if you have children or you don’t have children.
Yes, the joke is terrible, but it points to the fact that no matter what your family or financial situation is, you need to have planned out eventualities upon your death. You need to make sure your affairs are in order if you are unable to take care of yourself while you are alive.
As we age, we might not be as close to family as we once were. We are likely to develop health challenges. We should also be concerned about our capacity, being exploited, and feeling vulnerable. There’s a lot to consider in our golden years, and having an attorney on your side can help you have peace of mind.
What Is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?
Estate planning is related to elder law in that it’s a part of elder law practice, but the two are not the same thing. Estate planning can be done for elderly clients and younger clients alike. Elder law typically includes estate planning, but it also encompasses a wide variety of other topics, as we outlined in the above sections.
Do I Need an Attorney That Specializes in Elder Law?
Until 1965, the rights of the aging population were an afterthought. That was the year that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act (OAA), and it was also the year that Medicare was created.
This field is still relatively new when it comes to the law and legal precedents. Working with an attorney that has a deep and intimate understanding of elder law is going to benefit you much more than working with a general practitioner. Plus, working with a specialist won’t cost extra.
Mr. Johnson is an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney serving the Manassas community for more than a decade.
At What Age Should I Consider Working With an Elder Law Attorney?
There’s not necessarily a right age or a wrong age, but we urge our clients in Manassas to start planning by the time they turn 60, while they are still generally vibrant and healthy. The longer you wait, the more you risk losing your ability to make decisions and the nest egg you’ve worked so hard to build.
If you need assistance with estate planning and elder law, get in touch with Johnson Law Firm for a free consultation.
Millions of cases of Elder abuse are reported every year. It can happen anywhere and can cost your loved ones everything they have spent their lives working for. There are steps you can take today to prevent this from becoming your loved ones worst nightmare. At Johnson Law Firm, PC, Attorney Johnson recommends taking a few steps today.
Call and set-up a free consultation to discuss creating, Medicaid Planning, Revocable Living Trust, Living Will, Power of Attorney, and Last Will and Testament. Attorney Johnson will walk you through the steps to create a Guardianship and Conservatorship to protect your loved ones, if necessary. They spent their lives working hard and saving to accumulate some wealth, you don’t want their hard earned money tied up in for years in probate, upon their passing.
You need to find the best estate law attorney who will help protect your assets and your loved ones assets so you can enjoy your life. Elder law is a very specific piece/part of estate planning. Search for the highest rated or top law firms in your area will not get you the expertise required to handle these cases. You need a lawyer who is focused on elder law and not just writing the occasional Will.