What We Can Do for You (Or Your Parents!)

Elder Law Group Addresses Needs of Aging Adults

As the baby boomers age, we are getting an increasing number of requests for assistance in handling the needs of aging adults. The current generation of older Americans is enjoying the longest and healthiest life span of any human population in history but, unfortunately, not everyone can live a healthy lifestyle until his or her 110th birthday and then die peacefully in his or her sleep. Rather, many older adults have a variety of needs and require assistance to enjoy the highest possible quality of their lives.

To respond to this increased number of requests, the firm has created an Elder Law group, with several of the firm’s attorneys bringing particular areas of expertise to address these issues.

Attorneys in the firm’s Estate Planning and Probate group help our clients create documents to address their future legal needs, such as wills and trusts, durable powers of attorney for finance, and advance medical directives. Through these documents, our clients can ensure that their wishes are carried out if they become unable to express those wishes themselves. Our attorneys help to minimize tax liability during the estate planning process. They also assist our clients with tax controversies and filing needs, as sometimes clients with memory problems forget to timely meet all their tax obligations.

A guardianship is an action filed in court to place a disabled person under the Court’s supervision for personal and/or financial needs. This can be necessary when disabled adults fail to take necessary steps in advance to care for themselves. When a guardianship is filed, the subject of the action is notified and counsel is appointed to represent him or her in the matter in order to protect the ward’s interests. 

Sigrid Haines, a principal in the firm’s Health Care group, has worked on many guardianship matters and has been appointed as guardian of property in a number of cases. Alternatively, for clients who are competent but recognize that they need assistance, she can serve as attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney to handle financial and/or health care needs, based on her clients’ instructions. In fulfilling her duties to the Court or the clients, Sigrid works with County and/or private social workers to provide the highest quality of life possible. The social workers are aware of a variety of community resources, such as meal delivery, home aides, lifeline support, transportation, pharmacy and nursing support, cleaning, physical therapy, and other services that can be provided to maintain an independent lifestyle.

For situations that do not allow continued life outside an institutional setting, Sigrid is able to retain professionals with experience in estate sales, clean-up services, and real estate to save expenses and help ensure a smooth transition to an institutional environment.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the firm ensures that bills get paid and money is efficiently managed to meet the needs of our clients and wards. In providing these services, we are supported by an excellent team of experienced paralegals and secretaries, as well as a number of our professional colleagues with useful expertise in estate administration, real estate, tax controversy, labor, criminal, banking, and domestic relations law. Each case is slightly different, and we enjoy the challenge that each represents. We are very excited about this growing field and about the opportunity to use the law to help aging individuals maintain the quality of life through their entire lives.

For more information about our Elder Law services, click here.