As people age in Maryland, and elsewhere, they have different needs. Due to this, a field of law was developed known as elder law. Elder law can be defined as the laws, regulations and legal precedents that regulate the relationships, financial or otherwise, seniors have with others. In most cases, these laws are designed to protect the elderly from exploitation.
Examples of elder law
Elder law covers a wide array of legal situations. Some of the most common of these issues include:
- Medicare and Medicaid issues
- Estate planning
- Elder abuse
- Senior targeted fraud
- Power of attorney
- Age discrimination
- Retirement planning
- Nursing home issues
The power of attorney
Of these different senior law issues, a power of attorney is one of the most delicate. This deals with who will represent the will of a senior after their grasp on their mental faculties begins to deteriorate.
While the term may sound confusing, it usually refers explicitly to a legal document drafted by an attorney and signed by the senior that allows another party to act on their behalf if they were to lose their mental faculties such as would be the case with a dementia patient. A power of attorney can be a powerful document that grants another person, the attorney-in-fact, the ability to make decisions regarding finances, assets, the guardianship of children and more. This document must be written carefully or it will likely be contested in court.
Overall, there are many unique legal issues that elders have to confront that younger people do not. Some of these issues can be quite difficult because seniors are more vulnerable to abuse than other segments of the population. Elder law exists to help protect the elderly and their rights.