What is the Difference Between an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney?

Each day we receive questions from our clients, friends, potential clients, and advisors who need advice on circumstances that impact their lives. While we do our absolute best to help them, what we find is that what they thought they wanted when they came into our office originally, is not actually what they needed. In truth, they do not know the difference between an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney.

The real reason why is the confusion over what an elder law attorney verses an estate planning attorney does.

We practice in both areas here at Wilson Law, PLC, and understand the difference between an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney .

It is important to understand the difference between an elder law attorney and an estate planning attorney’s area of practice.

While their specializations sometimes overlap, their primary emphasis is not focused on the same areas of service. Let us give you a bit more guidance right here.

An elder law attorney normally practices in the legal issues that will improve or maintain the client’s health and personal care.

There is a specific emphasis on the aging process and long-term care needs. This area of the law practice includes planning for future health care needs through advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and living wills. The elder law attorney is also involved in assuring the client’s eligibility for public benefits and insurance necessary for long-term custodial care. 

Further, a resident’s rights in long-term care facilities must be guarded by the attorney, as well as, protecting them to the best of their ability from elder abuse at the hands of a trusted individual. Elder law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness, and incapacity. Elder law clients are predominantly seniors and their loved ones, and the focus requires a practitioner to be particularly sensitive to the legal issues impacting these clients. 

By contrast, an estate planning attorney advises people of all ages.

They assist in creating the legacy the clients want for themselves and their loved ones. This practice of the law deals with all aspects of planning for the conservation and disposition of estate assets, while giving due consideration to the applicable tax consequences, both federal and state. The wills, trusts, and estates lawyer advises and then prepares legal instruments for clients to effectuate his or her estate plan, appropriately fund the estate plan, administer estates, and protect the estate in the event of probate litigation. 

It is up to the attorney to determine what he or she will practice in, but, as a client or potential client, we want you to have the most education you can on the type of law you need. You need to know the difference between an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney. We encourage you to ask us your questions at any time on these issues, whether it is now or in the future.