I have learned from the interested, but bewildered look in people’s
eyes that simply stating that I am an elder law attorney doesn’t
help them understand what I do. Granted, most people can figure out I
help people who are going through the aging process but the answers to
the questions of what I help them with and why they would need my help
remain an elusive mystery.
First of all, who wants to admit they are aging? Isn’t 50 the new
30? Even in retirement, isn’t the goal to stay as healthy and active
and engaged in life as possible? So, at what point is someone even old
enough to want to know what an elder law attorney does?
Fortunately, being “old” isn’t a prerequisite to being
curious as to why elder law attorneys exist. Simply wanting to understand
what challenges await you in the aging process and how being unprepared
for those challenges can play havoc with your financial security and your
family’s wellbeing is all it takes.
So, what do I now tell people an elder law attorney does when they get
that bewildered look in their eyes? I tell them an elder law attorney
helps you prepare for protecting your loved ones and assets if you pass
away as well as protecting your loved ones and assets if you live, become
ill with a chronic illness and need costly long-term care services. (Long-term
care services are what people who aren’t as independent as they
used to be need to help them live their daily lives, whether in their
homes or in an assisted living community or in a nursing home).
I go on to reassure them that even if you think a healthcare crisis involving
the need for long-term care services will never happen to you (until it
does), an elder law attorney is still readily available to help you when
the crisis strikes to put immediate options in place for dealing with
the financial burden, stress and challenges that the long-term care crisis
creates for you and your family.
If they need the shorthand version, I simply tell them an elder law attorney
is someone to turn to for solutions to the new problems you encounter
as the aging process becomes a reality for you.