DC Elder Law Attorney

As a person gets older, they begin to face unique legal issues that many people are reluctant to think about. Do you have a plan in place for what will happen if you cannot make medical decisions on your behalf? Have you thought about what will happen to your assets if you need to go into a nursing home or if you pass away?

If you have not answered these questions, now is the time to talk with a DC elder law attorney about what you need to do to be prepared for the future. Call a DC trusts and estates lawyer to learn more. En Español.

Do You Need an Elder Law Attorney in DC?

Elder law attorneys do not just help the very old and estate planning attorneys do not just help the very wealthy. Everyone needs to plan ahead for the cost of long-term care, for how to take care of their loved ones after they pass away, and for what kinds of emergency life-saving medical treatment they may want to opt into or out of.

Your elder law attorney will explain all of the different legal steps you should take, like Medicaid and estate planning, and all of legal tools such as wills, trusts, and advanced directives, that you can use to protect yourself and your family from an uncertain future.  With the help of your lawyer, you can use the elder laws in DC to ensure your heirs can easily inherit when you pass away, to protect your assets from creditor claims, and to ensure you get only the medical care you want to receive.

Options for Creating an Estate Plan

A variety of estate planning documents can help senior citizens to prepare for the future. Creating a proper plan will play a major role in determining the property rights of heirs as well as providing for a more comfortable future.

The traditional estate planning option is a will. A will helps avoid the District’s intestacy laws and informs a probate court as to what a testator wants to happen after their death. To be valid, according to Title 18 Chapter 103 of the DC Code, a will must contain the signature of the testator or that of another person upon the testator’s direction. Additionally, the will must contain the signatures of at least two witnesses who observed the original signing.

Another common option is to transfer property through a trust. A trust can go into effect at any time in the future after its creation. With a will, heirs must wait until a testator’s death to receive property. Placing property into a trust can result in immediate tax benefits for the maker and help with eligibility for government programs like Medicaid. A DC elder law attorney could help individuals and couples to select the estate planning options that best fit their needs and goals.

Elder Law for Obtaining Proper Medical Care

Beyond dealing with proceedings after a person’s death, elder law also focuses on helping individuals plan for the future during their lifetime. For instance, a proper estate plan can allow people to dictate their future wishes for medical care.

A health care directive is a document that informs family members and medical providers about one’s wishes for medical care should they be unable to make an informed decision in the future. This can include a Do Not Resuscitate Order or a desire to receive experimental treatment. Once a person creates a living will, all medical providers must adhere to their wishes, regardless of what family members may want to occur.

In the event of incapacitation, some people may wish to grant authority to another person to make decisions about their medical care. An advanced directive can come into effect when a patient is not able to provide proper consent to medical care. The directive’s holder has sole authority to make reasonable medical choices concerning the subject’s treatment. A DC elder law attorney could provide more information about these healthcare directive options.

What are the Elder Laws That Apply in DC?

An elder law attorney in DC will explain what the laws in the District of Columbia are and how they apply to you. For example, there are intestacy laws in place in Title 19 Chapter 3 of the DC Code dictating who inherits after you pass away without a will; and there are incapacity and guardianship laws in place in DC Code Title 20 explaining when and how a loved one or caring friend can take over the management and control of your financial and health affairs if you become unable to make decisions or communicate your wishes.

For most people, opting out of the default laws and making their own plan for the future may be better choice.

Getting Help from a DC Elder Law Attorney

Having an effective estate plan can bring peace of mind for the present as well as secure the future of your heirs. Wills, trusts, healthcare directives, and other testamentary documents can help you to retain control after an illness, injury, or death.

Each of these documents have unique functions and carry their own legal requirements. A DC elder law attorney could work to understand your goals, suggest possible strategies for the future, and take the lead in drafting precise and legally binging documents.

Many of the steps you can use to protect yourself must be done well before you get sick and need Medicaid nursing home care or are in the hospital and require emergency treatment.  It is important when you are still of sound mind and sound body to speak with a DC elder law attorney to understand what your options are and to put a detailed estate plan into place. Call today to speak with an attorney and learn more.

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