Death of a Loved OneElder LawEnd of Life

6 Reasons Why it is Important to Choose an Elder Care Law Firm Who Understands the Needs of Patients on Palliative Care or Hospice and Their Families

By January 27, 2019 January 30th, 2019 No Comments

The goal of palliative care or hospice is to enhance the quality of life for patients who have a terminal illness and no longer wish to receive treatment or are nearing the end of their life.  With that in mind, hospice and palliative care focuses on pain management and symptom relief while addressing the patient’s emotional, social and spiritual needs as well as the needs of the family members.

There are often legal issues which arise at this time.  There may be decisions to make on how to handle things ranging from healthcare decisions, to financial management, and how property should pass at their death.  The following is a list of some of the reasons why it is important to choose an Elder Law firm to help your family during this difficult time.

  1.  Helping families through this difficult time takes a special set of skills.  You need an Elder Law firm who understands the technical part of the law, but also understands the emotional aspects.  You want someone you will be comfortable with, and someone who has provided these services to families going through the same issues you and your family now face.
  2.  You need a law firm who is knowledgeable about government programs that may be available to you.  In this day and age, it is difficult for any professional to know all there is to know about every given topic.  That’s especially true when it comes to issues concerning government benefits like Veterans Benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid.  That is why you want to work with an Elder Law firm who focuses only in those areas of law.
  3.  You want to choose a law firm who knows how to help you to protect your life’s savings.  No matter the size of your estate, you worked hard for what you have!  It is important to you, and to your family, that you pass along as many of your assets as possible.  Be sure to choose an Elder Law firm who is knowledgeable about how to help you arrange things so that you receive the care that hospice and palliative care patients need and that your assets will be preserved for your family to the greatest extent allowed by the law.
  4.  For many hospice and palliative care patients, one of the most important concerns is that they want their estate to pass to their loved ones without going through the Probate Court.  There are many ways to accomplish this, ranging from simple beneficiary designations, to gifting strategies, to Trusts.   It is important that the law firm you choose understands the various ways that property passes and to show you how to arrange your estate to avoid probate where that is appropriate.
  5.  It is important to work with a law firm who knows the value of a dollar.  One of the biggest complaints people have in dealing with legal professionals is that they feel like they are “on the clock” and will be charged for every question they ask or every time they pick up the phone.  Elder Law firms, whenever possible, work on a flat fee basis.  We do not charge for the initial consultation, and in most cases, we will be able to tell you what is involved and what the flat fee investment will be at the initial conference.  That way you can be a smart consumer and get the most for your dollar, while making sure that things are handled to get the best results possible.
  6.  Select a law firm who makes house calls in the late stages, when hospice patients have great difficulty getting around.  Working with clients on hospice, is unlike any other type of law practice.  Usually the family must go to the attorney’s office, but Elder Law attorneys understand how difficult and stressful this can be.

All of these are reasons why you want to partner with an Elder Law firm, who is sensitive to the needs of hospice patients and their families.

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