Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Eastern Connecticut Elder Law Attorney
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Rhode Island Elder Law Attorney
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This website includes general information about legal issues, issues affecting seniors and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues and/or problems.
Rhode Island Elder Law Attorney - About Elder Law
Elder Law Attorney for Rhode Island, Eastern Connecticut and Southeastern Massachusetts
What is Elder Law?
Elder law attorneys have fundamental knowledge of the elderly population, and are aware of their unique needs. Mental and physical challenges start to appear as people get older, and elder law is designated to assist those who find themselves struggling as they age. Elder law includes all aspects of estate planning, counseling, education, and advocating for older clients.
RJ Connelly III, your Rhode Island elder law attorney, is board certified with the National Elder Law Foundation, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. and a Certified Elder Law Attorney. This means that Attorney Connelly is aware of both professional and non-legal resources and services that are publically and privately available for the elderly population.
The Family Decision
The first step in the process is, for many, the most difficult - making the decision to seek the help of an elder law professional.
No one likes talking about what will happen when our older family members, be it mom or dad or siblings, can no longer take care of themselves or can no longer live alone or stay in the family home. But aging is inevitable, and not talking about what the future will bring doesn’t make the issue go away.
While adult children are often the ones who start the process of working with an elder care attorney, everyone needs to remember that the children are not the client. "It's important to remember who the client is," said Attorney Connelly. "Although it may be the children who start the process, the client is the older adult in need of services, and we must respect them and their needs and wants and ultimately what is in their best interest."
It's Not Just Business
Family dynamics often play a role in planning for an elderly parent.
"When we begin to address any matter, whether it be estate planning, probate, guardianship or planning for someone who was just diagnosed with dementia, I make sure that all family members who will be involved are present. I make this clear to the family at the start of representing them," states Attorney Connelly. "By doing this, it keeps problems from arising so that no one in the family feels like they were left out of the process -- which may be the last decision they make as a family for their aging loved ones. Once someone is gone, you cannot go back and fix a problem that occurred. It is a sensitive matter but one that must be discussed and acknowledged."
Loss of control is one of the biggest fears, and obstacles, for clients planning for their final years. Attorney Connelly also addresses clients and family members who may be in denial about their loved one's diagnosis. "When a family comes in and hopes for an unrealistic improvement after an Alzheimer's diagnosis, we need to discuss things openly, honestly and with the sensitivity and respect for the family and the person with the diagnosis. Nearly everyone in my office, including me, have been affected by a loved one with cognitive impairments. We do understand."
Preparing for the Inevitable or Unknown
Working with a certified elder law attorney like RJ Connelly III adds a layer of peace of mind to an emotionally charged process. Attorney Connelly is also a professional fiduciary and has a team of experieince professionals who can provide a wide range of fiduciary services. Healthcare decisions must necessarily include plans for how to pay for those decisions. Understanding the tax implications for clients while they are still alive and for their estate after they have passed away is vital.
Some of the most important pieces of an elder care strategy are legal and appropriate powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a binding legal document that allows one person to make legal decisions on behalf of someone else. In the area of elder care, a financial power of attorney might be drafted to handle such matters as accessing the client’s checking account, while a durable medical power of attorney would allow the designated person to make potentially life-saving or life-ending decisions about medical care.
The Importance of Planning
Paying the bills and making sure financial needs are met are pressing concerns for everyone involved in developing an elder care plan. As overwhelming as the prospect of long-term care can be, Connelly Law can help a family navigate these issues and find government programs that can help.
"Many of our clients are surprised about the benefits they qualify for. This includes Veteran's benefits and Medicaid. We can help them through this process and in some cases save them thousands of dollars," said Attorney Connelly. "Another reason to do long term planning is that end of life decisions can become a part of an estate plan, allowing them to memorialize their wishes such as life-support measures and how to distribute their estate after their death. With the entire family involved, this eliminates surprises and cuts down on disputes at a time when emotions are running high."
Our clients are involved in the design of the plan from start to finish so that they can make the important decisions with professional advice and guidance so that they walk away with a good understanding of the plan and its supporting documents. For more information, click on the subject below:
"Elder law issues can be complex and just one wrong word or decision can mean the difference between a good result and disaster should you become incapacitated or if other unexpected issues occur in your senior years. At Connelly Law, we can help you plan for what will happen if you should become incapable of taking care of yourself and your own personal business and family matters. Call us today!"
---- RJ Connelly III