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5 Questions You Should Ask an Elder Law Attorney

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 13, 2017 2:00 PM

Caring for a loved one as they age can be emotionally, financially, and legally difficult. Estate planning, long-term care, and guardianship decisions are never easy, and you may also be facing issues with Social Security, health care benefits, or elder abuse.

A good elder law attorney can be a helpful guide to resolving some of these difficult issues and making sure your elder loved ones are properly cared for. So how do you find a good lawyer and what do you need to know regarding your elder law case? Here are five common questions to start with:

1. What Rights Do Elder Patients Have in a Hospital?

As our health begins to fade, we spend more time in the hospital, getting planned and emergency medical care. Elderly patients have a right to informed consent regarding medical treatment, a right to privacy regarding their medical history, and a right to quality medical care. Learn how to protect those rights.

2. Am I Responsible for My Elderly Parents' Medical Bills?

Those hospital stays for elderly patients can get expensive. And if Medicare doesn't cover the full costs of medical treatment, does that mean the patient's family is on the hook for the rest?

3. Do You Inherit Your Parents' Debts?

And what if your parents accrued some non-medical debt, like a mortgage, credit card debt, or unpaid education loans? Generally speaking, a deceased parent's debt is passed on to their estate, meaning you're not responsible for paying the debt, but it may be taken out of your inheritance. But it doesn't always work that way.

4. Are Elderly Poverty Rates Actually Higher?

Sadly, many elderly Americans live in poverty. And even more disturbing is that we may have been underestimating the poverty rate for people 65 and older.

5. How Can You Prove Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination doesn't just happen when employers refuse to hire someone they think is too old -- failure to promote or trust older employees with certain tasks, or prioritizing them for staff cuts can also be a form of discrimination. But how do you prove it in court?

If you have more questions about legal decisions or responsibilities for elder loved ones, contact an experienced elder law attorney today.

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