Legal Guide

What Is an Elder Law Attorney? Signs You Need to Hire One Now

As a senior, you certainly have a different life and different needs than you did as a younger person. Your age has an impact on many aspects of your life.

You probably see a different doctor, exercise differently, even how you socialize is different. You don't have the same worries you had in your younger years of career building, marriage, and raising a family.

Your legal needs are probably different too. Might be time to consider an elder law attorney. Are you wondering what is an elder law attorney?

Read on to learn about elder law attorneys, what they do, and how they could help you or someone you love who's a senior.

What Is an Elder Law Attorney?

Elder law is a unique branch of the law that specifically deals with concerns related to seniors. While it means the elder attorney may practice many different types of cases, they are focused on those that are unique to seniors. 

Elder law attorneys might handle cases specific to healthcare, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Seniors have different and unique needs that vary from someone who is in the 20s, 30s, 40s, or even 50s. An elder law attorney can focus on how the above issues are specifically impactful for someone who is more senior in age. 

Role of an Elder Law Attorney

The range of issues that could be handled by an elder law attorney is pretty wide. You want to be sure that you are hiring an attorney whose focus is not only on seniors, but also on the issue you need help with.

One attorney might focus on retirements and estate planning for seniors. Another might focus on health care and issues related to Medicare and Medicaid.

Both attorneys specialize in working with seniors. Yet, there are some vast differences in those areas of focus. Let's take a closer look at some areas of law an elder law attorney might offer support for. 

Health Care

For seniors, health care is a huge issue in their lives. As they age, they may face more health-related issues and have more needs. They might also want to spell out their wishes related to their health care. 

The attorney can help with long term care options and patient rights specific to the senior.

Long Term Care

It's important for seniors to plan out their care before they need it or are unable to articulate their wishes. 

An elder care attorney can help plan for and outline the wishes for long-term placement care in either a nursing home or care facility.

If a senior is already in nursing, the attorney can help address questions about patient rights and nursing home quality of care. 

If someone you love is a senior and you suspect elder abuse or fraud from a care facility, you want an attorney who specializes in elder care. These issues along with senior discrimination are unique to the population of adults.  


As a person nears retirement age, there are often questions related to retirement. A senior might need help with public or private retirement benefits or pensions.

If a senior has recently lost a spouse, there might be questions related to survivor benefits.

Estate Planning

An important thing for any senior to take care of is estate planning. They need to do it while they can make their wishes known and to protect themselves and their assets. 

Estate planning allows them to set up conservatorships, guardianship, and even durable power of attorney for when it is needed. 

Another important part of estate planning is a will and/or trust and other planning documents for the future. It makes sense to this paperwork early to avoid loved ones having to go before probate. 

Included as part of this planning can be an end of life care plan too. 

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

These are three huge issues for all seniors. They rely on social security benefits and health care from Medicare or Medicaid. 

If a senior is struggling with a social security claim or disability claim through social security, they absolutely will need legal representation to make any progress. 

A senior will want an attorney who specializes in Social Security issues as they also consider supplemental and long-term health insurance needs. 

Elder care attorney for Medicaid if the senior is struggling with a disability issue. This is a unique type of elder law that requires someone who is very familiar with the laws related to disabilities and the rights that go with them.

Questions to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney As You Consider Hiring Them

Anytime you hire someone who will provide you a service, you want to interview and do your homework. Whether you are hiring a painter for your house, a doctor, or an attorney to look out for your needs. 

Not every elder law attorney will specialize in each of the areas discussed above. They are pretty wide-ranging. As you consider an attorney it's important to ask good questions to make sure they are the best fit for your needs. Some questions might include:

  • What type of law do you practice and for how long?
  • How much time do you spend focused on elder law?
  • Do you focus on any particular type of elder law?
  • Can you explain your fees?
  • How would you expect to handle my elder law issue?

Don't be afraid to interview several attorneys until you find one who makes you feel comfortable and that they are qualified to handle your case while communicating with you effectively too.

Understanding Elder Law

Now that you understand what is an elder law attorney, do you feel like you need to make some calls to meet with one?

Don't wait too long to get help if you need it. An elder law attorney can help you navigate the issues related to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other senior issues. 

For other articles like this one related to the law, be sure to visit our page often.

Related Resources:

Elder Care Guide and Elder Care Services

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