If you find yourself typing “elder law attorney near me” into the search bar, you’ve already taken your first step to planning a better future. As you search, you may find more questions than answers. Planning for old age is stressful and confusing, so you want to do everything you can to get it right.
At McCarthy & Akers, PLC, in Northern Virginia, we want to help you plan your future. Below, our dedicated elder law attorneys address the most frequently asked questions to help you turn these complicated legal matters into an easy and worry-free process.
What Is Elder Law?
As you age, you want to ensure that you will enjoy a healthy, stress-free, and happy retirement. This ease of mind includes feeling confident that your assets will stay protected and that your family will receive everything they need.
Elder law is part of the estate planning process that helps you craft a plan for:
- Your future retirement
- Real estate and asset protection
- Long-term care
- Medicare or Medicaid coverage
- Health care
Elder law is essentially a blanket for all of the legal plans you can put into place as you age.
At McCarthy & Akers, PLC, our elder care attorneys are professional and trusted community partners with a history of putting their experience at the service of Northern Virginia’s elders. We will help you arrange all your estate planning matters, making the process easy to understand so you can have peace of mind.
When Should I Start Looking for an Elder Law Attorney?
Estate planning is often a lifelong process. You can start generating your plan at any age and continue refreshing the details whenever you experience changes in your life.
Generally, it’s best to find an elder care lawyer and begin the process before you turn 60. You’ve already taken the first step by searching for an “elder law attorney near me”; now it’s time to start planning.
What Is the Planning Process With an Elder Care Attorney?
An elder care attorney focuses on you and your needs. During your consultation, tell the lawyer about your assets, benefits, insurance, health needs, income, and more, so they can generate a plan tailored for you. Your plan may involve the following services:
- Estate planning
- Wills and trusts
- Power of attorney
- Tax planning
- Managing government and retirement benefits
- Title insurance options
- Health care directives, life-support requests, organ donor preferences, medical power of attorney
- Long-term care
- Funeral arrangements
Every person requires different legal options, so don’t feel overwhelmed by this list. Elder law attorneys will help you through the entire process.
How Can I Keep My Assets Protected?
Virginia law offers various asset protection options depending on your needs. Many people gravitate toward wills that allow you to express who will take ownership of your belongings after your death. This only happens after the will and estate go through the probate process in a Virginia court.
Another popular option is setting up a trust. In this scenario, you set up a separate entity (the trust) with yourself as trustee and naming a successor trustee to take over if you become incapacitated or pass away. You place your assets in the trust so they are no longer in your name.
Much like with wills, you can designate who will receive your assets after your death, though with a trust, your chosen family members or friends can receive the items without going through the lengthy probate process.
You can also opt for long-term care insurance on your assets for monetary protection.
Each of these options offers pros and cons depending on your particular needs. An experienced elder law attorney can help you decide which choice is better for you.
Is It Possible to Avoid Probate?
The probate process occurs after a person dies, when the court settles the estate and determines who will receive the assets. Many people assume that a will can prevent probate from happening, though that is not the case. A court hearing is still necessary to verify that the will is valid.
Usually, people want to avoid probate because of the associated time, costs, and publicity. Probate can take months or even years, and all documentation becomes a public record. You can avoid probate by opting to use a trust so that after you pass away, your wealth will automatically transfer to your beneficiaries.
How Can I Find an Elder Care Attorney Near Me?
Few attorneys in Northern Virginia provide the superior service that you will receive from McCarthy & Akers, PLC. Unlike most law firms, our attorneys hold advanced certifications in elder law and elder care, and are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Additionally, we go one step farther by employing licensed social workers who are certified elder care coordinators to assist our clients. Our customers come first, and we want to help you enjoy your final decades without stress.
When you’re ready to begin planning for your future, our friendly team is ready to help. Contact us at McCarthy & Akers, PLC, at (540) 722-2181 for a free consultation today. We have offices in Strasburg, Front Royal, Winchester, Manasses, and Culpeper.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
McCarthy & Akers, PLC
302 W Boscawen St.
Winchester, VA 22601