RIA Estate Planning Journal article on The Elder Law Durable Power of Attorney
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Elder Law focuses on the fact that senior citizens are living longer, frequently while suffering from chronic illnesses that impair their ability to properly manage their affairs. These chronic illnesses include Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Elder Law attorneys specialize in the laws and rules concerning the health, finances, and care of the elderly.
The elderly and their families frequently seek the assistance of an Elder Law attorney in planning for the management of the elderly person’s assets, affairs and health care during the period of incapacity. It is common for the elderly person to be accompanied by his or her family to the meeting with the Elder Law attorney. The family is seeking an efficient and effective method of managing the elderly person’s affairs.
The traditional legal tools included living trusts and guardianship/conservatorship. The living trust has the benefit of settled law and probate avoidance, however, the trustee’s authority is limited to the management and disposition of the trust assets. The guardianship/conservatorship has the benefit of being available when the elderly person is incapacitated, but it is time-consuming, expensive, and a public proceeding. As a result of these limitations and drawbacks, Elder Law attorneys have turned to the durable power of attorney as the preferred tool for the management of an elderly person’s affairs.