There is no shortage of need for the services of an elder law attorney in today’s world. America’s aging population grows every year and so do the legal needs of its members. An elder law attorney can help with a variety of different legal needs including:
- Estate Planning
- Health Care Directives
- Durable Power of Attorney
While no one wants to face the inevitable, responsible people plan ahead. Many don’t know where to begin, so consulting with an elder law attorney can help you get on the right track for your golden years. Your options are numerous, so it pays to understand the differences. Below is a rundown of the basic services we offer.
Due to minor age, physical or mental incapacity, or a special need, your loved one may need the assistance of a guardian to help protect themselves, make decisions, and manage their affairs. A guardianship action is the process by which the court can find a person legally incapacitated and appoint either a family member or a professional to serve as their guardian. It begins when someone, such as a relative or caregiver, petitions the court for appointment of a guardian. The petitioner does not necessarily have to be the proposed guardian; it can be someone familiar with the incapacitated individual who believes a guardian should be appointed to them. After the petition is filed, the court will appoint an investigator (called a Guardian ad Litem) to investigate whether the individual actually needs a guardian. The Guardian ad Litem writes a confidential report to the court, and after reviewing it, the court will hold a hearing. Typically, the court will follow the Guardian ad Litem’s recommendations, but if that suggestion is to appoint a guardian and the individual objects, he or she has the right to a full hearing and trial.
While guardianships are useful in many circumstances, we understand the process can be difficult on families and we strive to be sensitive to the complexities that often arise as a result of a guardianship. We will discuss available alternatives to a guardianship, and if none apply to your loved one’s situation, we will help determine what type of guardianship (limited or full) is most appropriate. If a guardianship is established, we assist the guardian in preparing for that role and understanding their responsibilities to the incapacitated person as well as to the court.
Because a guardianship will continue until terminated by court order, and in some instances, will last indefinitely, it is important to consult with an elder law attorney to thoroughly explain the implications for all involved.
Planning ahead for your uncertain future and the future of your heirs can be a heavy subject. Perhaps that is why so many Americans kick the can down the proverbial road. At Priest & Ellis we can help you plan today for your tomorrow. We can counsel you to make sure that your family and loved ones will be well cared for when you can no longer do so. There are many options available, so we look forward to meeting with you and helping you sort through what options make the most sense for your family. We can help you decide between the age old option of a will and a trust. We can help you set up health care directives for how you should receive care when you can no longer give orders. We can also help you appoint a trusted person to make decisions for you once you no longer can. Good planning now will help you enjoy a better quality of life, knowing that you are one step ahead of the game.
Elder Law Attorney Consultation
If you want to learn more about your options, call today to schedule a consultation with an elder law attorney. We can meet in our convenient downtown Vancouver WA office. One of our attorneys in Vancouver WA can discuss options for your future or for the future of an incapacitated loved one. We can help bring clarity to confusion and we can help you take action. With our guiding hand as professionals, you can rest assured that your future and the future of your family is one less concern on your plate. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you plan for the years ahead.