How Can a Lynchburg Elder Law Attorney Help Me?

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October 6, 2023 •  The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC
Elder law attorneys are specifically trained to work with seniors to help with estate planning, long-term care planning, preventing and addressing elder abuse, guardianship and conservatorship, healthcare and financial decision-making, and end of life decisions.
Robert W. Haley, managing lawyer
Robert W. Haley
Certified Elder Law Attorney® Robert W. Haley brings over 27 years of legal expertise and knowledge to his firm, which concentrates solely on the areas of elder law, estate planning (Last Will & Testaments, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Trusts, etc.,.) Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning and fiduciary services. For many years, Robert practiced in real estate law, and in general practice, but decided to narrow his focus to elder law and estate planning when he realized the tremendous need for proper planning to be filled in Southside Virginia.

The best time to engage an elder law attorney is before the need arises so they can help you plan for upcoming events, like moving into assisted living or losing the ability to make financial decisions.  An experienced Lynchburg elder law attorney, like Robert W. Haley can guide a senior and their loved ones with estate planning, long-term care planning, preventing and addressing elder abuse, guardianship and conservatorship, healthcare and financial decision-making, and end of life decisions.

When Will My Senior or I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

Seasons article entitled “Finding an elder care lawyer” provides some sample questions to ask yourself as you consider an elder care lawyer, including:

  • Is my senior capable of speaking out for themselves, or do they need an advocate to represent their voice?
  • Is my senior having trouble with decision-making or showing signs of dementia?
  • Is my senior the type of person to accept abuse without complaining?
  • Have there been any other instances of abuse at my senior’s nursing home?
  • Is my senior more vulnerable to scams and frauds?
  • Has my senior created any legal planning for their wishes regarding their property and wellbeing?

Due to the aging U.S. population, there is increasing need for legal services tailored to the elderly. Fortunately, Lynchburg residents have Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) Robert W. Haley available locally to guide and assist seniors and their families.

What Services Do Elder Law Attorneys Provide?

Public Benefits Applications

If your loved one is applying for Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security, tell them an elder care lawyer can improve their chances of success.  Legal representation can save the family considerable time, effort, and expense. Elder law attorneys also help plan long-term care needs, including Medicaid eligibility, establishing trusts and developing asset protection strategies.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

These proceedings are tools for protecting the rights and well-being of incapacitated older adults. Elder law attorneys help families initiate guardianship or conservatorship proceedings when necessary, ensuring that vulnerable individuals have responsible and trustworthy individuals appointed to make decisions.

Health Care and Financial Decision-Making

Advanced health care directives, including living wills and healthcare proxies, allow the elderly to express their healthcare wishes and designate someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they cannot do so.  Financial or durable power of attorneys allow a designated agent to manage and access a senior's financial accounts when they are unable to do so.  Elder law attorneys assist older adults in creating these important documents, ensuring that their healthcare preferences and financial wishes are respected and that they receive appropriate medical care.

Preventing and Addressing Elder Abuse

Getting assistance from an attorney for suspected abuse is a major decision. You should discuss it with your elder loved one and family. If you are concerned that your senior is being abused, the first step is to sit down with friends and family to discuss the next steps. Ensure your senior knows what they’ve experienced is wrong and that an elder care lawyer can advocate for their health and well-being.

However, it can become more complicated if one of your family members is suspected of abuse. You may decide to meet without the suspected abuser before bringing them into the discussion and allowing them to tell their side of the story.

Discuss Options for an Abuse Lawsuit with an Elder Law Attorney

If your senior has suffered legitimate abuse at the hands of their caregivers, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the guilty party. Your elder law lawyer can help to assess whether a lawsuit is possible during a consultation. That is an initial meeting with a lawyer. During this meeting, you can discuss your unique situation and your concerns. Based on this information, your lawyer can recommend various paths of action. If a lawsuit is possible, they will guide you forward and help you initiate this legal process.

A lawsuit may be filed against a nursing home, a long-term-care facility, or any other organization responsible for caring for your senior. Once you’ve initiated the action, you’ll have the chance to negotiate with the at-fault party for a settlement. However, if a settlement can’t be reached, your elder law attorney will likely represent your senior in court and fight for their rights in front of a judge and jury. The court will then decide on the penalties and financial awards.

Read more in our article: Understanding the Issues of Elder Law

Preparing for an Initial Consultation with an Elder Law Attorney

It’s a good idea to ask a few questions during your initial consultation or first meeting with an elder care lawyer. These questions can help you get a better idea of your lawyer’s personality, their overall philosophy toward elder law and whether they can develop a working relationship with you.

Here are some examples:

  • How much experience do you have with elder law?
  • How long has your practice been in operation?
  • Where did you attend law school?
  • Have you taken any additional courses from the bar association or NAELA specific to elder law?
  • What is your philosophy toward elder law?
  • Have you won any settlements for elder victims in the past?
  • How much do you charge?

In conclusion, the key to finding an elder care attorney is doing your homework by talking with the senior and family members to identify why a lawyer is needed and what you'd like to accomplish. Schedule a free call with our team today so that you can begin the process of advocating for yourself or an elderly loved one.

Reference: Seasons (Aug. 30, 2022) “Finding an elder care lawyer”

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