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The Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning

July 16, 2021

When you’re considering plans for the next phase of life, you may hear terms like elder law and estate planning being used to describe the necessary steps one must take to ensure that both you and your loved ones are taken care of. But how do you decide which is right for you? Speaking with a knowledgeable Springfield elder lawyer is one way to ensure that you’re making the right decisions with respect to your particular situation.

What is Elder Law?

Elder law is the set of complex regulations and laws that affect senior citizens. It addresses the various life decisions and circumstances that can arise during this time in life, helping people find holistic solutions that match their budget and their desired lifestyle. Elder law attorneys specialize in helping senior citizens identify the appropriate solutions for their particular situation, whether that means finding long-term care insurance, selling off their assets in order to qualify for low-cost Medicare, or connecting them to the right nursing centers, mental and health professionals who can assure their needs are being totally met.

Many people have a misconception around elder law – namely, that it’s only necessary for people with disabilities, special needs, second marriages, or financially reckless or dependent family members. However, elder law should be an important tool for every senior citizen who wishes to spend the end of their life on their own terms.

Elder Law and Estate Planning: The Main Difference

Elder law planning seeks to preserve your income and assets for your use while you’re alive. It’s a comprehensive area of law that helps you plan for achieving certain comforts late in life, especially if you find yourself needing extra care in your golden years. Whether you prefer to stay out of a nursing home and receive around the clock care at home, or have chosen a higher-end nursing facility, a Springfield elder lawyer can help you structure your finances, insurance policies and other assets so that all of your wishes are paid for without having to burden your family.

An estate plan, on the other hand, makes preparations for after you’ve passed. Your estate plan ensures that all of your wealth is adequately distributed among your family, friends, or preferred charities and that your wishes are honored to the tee. A good estate planning lawyer will also help you structure your assets so that you minimize your tax obligations once those assets pass on to your heirs, meaning they will wind up receiving more money. 

It’s important to note that, without a sound elder law plan in place, your estate plans may go awry: The cost of long-term care is incredibly burdensome for most people, even high net worth individuals. Without an elder law strategy, you might wind up spending your money on receiving the care you need, leaving little for your heirs and rendering your estate plan essentially null.

Let Our Springfield Elder Lawyer Help You

If you have questions or concerns about estate planning, we are here to help. Speak with a Springfield elder lawyer today to get started on your elder law plan.