What Is Estate Planning? What is Elder Law?

Recently I hosted an estate planning workshop for the community. In introducing myself I said that I focus my practice on estate planning and elder law. An attendee wanted to know what those terms meant: what does “estate planning” mean? What is “elder law”?

My simple definition for estate planning is this: planning so your property goes to who you want, when you want, and the way you want. The common denominator is doing what you want. Estate Planning is important because if you don’t plan, the state has a plan for you – and you may not like its plan. The common tools we use in estate planning are: wills, trusts (revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts), powers of attorney, and beneficiary deeds.

Elder law is concerned with helping you stay in control as you age – our focus is on intended consequences. That means we have a plan for how you handle everything from how you stay in control of your healthcare decisions to how you pay for a nursing home. Elder law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness, and incapacity.

A survey by Martindale-Hubbell reports that 55% of all American adults don’t have a will. In fact, most people spend more time shopping for a car, than planning their estate. The result is that as they age they face unintended consequences, or when they pass away, their spouse or children face unintended consequences.

Staying in control is better. Planning is better. Intended consequences are better. Estate Planning and Elder Law attorneys help make your life better.