When is it time to consult with an elder law attorney?
What’s the right age to start looking into this? Elder law clients tend to come in one of three forms. The first type is the client that’s in their late forties or early fifties when it’s much too soon for them to have an immediate concern about their long-term care, but they know that it’s an eventuality and that long-term care is out there looming. The smart clients, the ones that plan ahead, are looking to position themselves in the best way so that they are ready. That is client type number one, and they are the ones in the best position to consult with an elder lawyer.
The second client type makes up other ways that elder law clients tend to originate, which is through the elder’s children. We very frequently receive calls from potential clients’ adult kids, kids in their forties, or even fifties whose parents are getting on in years and have to start thinking about a plan for long-term care relatively soon, within the next few years.
The third type of client that comes in for elder care, whether it’s the client themselves or their children. This is what we refer to as crisis planning. Crisis planning is when the client is either in the nursing home or will be immediately soon. These clients have not pre-planned for their long-term care and now are in a position where they’re either in immediate need of long-term care or even entering a long-term care facility and are trying to make last-minute moves in order to protect assets and qualify for benefits. Crisis planning is a sad situation because I’m often stuck telling clients that if they had just come to see me a few years earlier, there would’ve been a lot more options available. That doesn’t mean that we cannot help a client with crisis planning, but you’re generally able to protect much more in the number of assets and offer a lot more options when clients come in sooner.