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5 Questions You Should Ask an Older Adult Law Attorney

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Caring for a loved one as they age can be emotionally, financially, and legally difficult. Estate planning, power of attorney, nursing home care, long-term care, and guardianship decisions are never easy.

You may also be facing issues with Social Security, Medicaid, health care benefits, health insurance, or older adult abuse.

How an Attorney Can Help Caregivers

A good older adult law attorney can be a helpful guide for family members or beneficiaries of a will. They will offer sound legal advice that you can’t find through your own research. They will work to resolve some of these difficult issues and ensure your older adult loved ones are properly cared for. From legal documents to asset protection to difficult care issues, these attorneys are equipped to walk you through the process.

So how do you find a good lawyer, and what do you need to know regarding your older adult law case? Here are five common questions to start with.

1. What Rights Do Older Adult Patients Have in a Hospital?

As our health begins to fade, we spend more time in the hospital, getting planned or emergency medical care.

Older adult patients have a right to:

  • Informed consent regarding medical treatment (unless there are incapacity concerns)
  • Privacy regarding their medical history
  • Strict following of their living will or health care power of attorney
  • Quality medical care

Learn how to protect those rights. Different insurance programs have different eligibility for medical care and procedures, but a patient’s rights still remain.

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

Hospital stays for older adult 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?

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 Older Adult Poverty Rates Actually Higher?

Sadly, many older adult 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 older adult loved ones, contact an experienced older adult law attorney today.

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