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What’s the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning?

Posted by Steve Worrall | Feb 22, 2023

Elder law and estate planning are frequently confused with each other. They are, admittedly, related, but here's the essential distinction: elder law is concerned with what occurs while a senior is still alive, whereas estate planning is concerned with what happens after someone dies.

Elder law planning can include things like these:

  • Planning for incapacity, including the execution of financial and healthcare powers of attorney;
  • Planning for long-term care costs; Planning for government benefits eligibility;
  • Creating a care plan with health professionals;
  • Creating a plan for end-of-life decisions, including a living will;
  • Guardianship or conservator representation;
  • Elder abuse claims representation; and
  • Making plans for a loved one with special needs.

Because an elder law attorney wants to create a comprehensive strategy for their client, we will typically also include estate planning in their case. This includes devising a strategy for what happens to the senior's assets when he or she dies, such as tax-avoidance tactics and asset protection for beneficiaries.

Another thing that elder law and estate preparation have in common is trust planning.

Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • preventing assets from being counted for government benefit eligibility, such as Medicaid, Veterans pension benefits, and Social Security Administration benefits;
  • allowing a Medicaid applicant to qualify for Medicaid even if their income exceeds the income cap limit;
  • allowing beneficiaries to maximize the value of inherited retirement-account proceeds;
  • avoiding probate proceedings; and
  • achieving asset protection.

Because elder law and estate planning can go hand-in-hand, as an estate planning attorney, the additional services included in elder law are a natural fit. Our attorneys can supply much-needed assistance to our clients, as well as provide more comprehensive plans.

Source: ElderCounsel

About the Author

Steve Worrall

As a sandwich generation kid himself (caring for both children and aging parents), Marietta Georgia Estate Planning Elder Law & Probate Attorney Steve (Stephen M.) Worrall KNOWS the struggles you are facing as you raise children, balance the demands of your job, and take care of your aging parent...

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