eCareDiary, a website that helps caregivers track and manage the care they are giving to a loved one, has periodically been passing along questions to Mr. Cutner, its Elder Law specialist. The most recent question and David’s answer were posted on August 5. The question was, is there a difference between an Estate Planning attorney and an Elder Law attorney. Mr. Cutner pointed out that an estate plan is concerned with how to dispose of assets, once a person has passed on. Elder Law is concerned with managing and protecting assets while someone is alive.
The focus of Elder Law is on enabling clients to access government programs to assist with paying for long-term care. This enables their protected assets to be used to maintain their normal lifestyles as long as possible. Also, if seniors have planned using Elder Law strategies, they are more likely to have an estate to pass on to their heirs. These strategies allow them to avoid spending down all their assets paying for long-term care. An Elder Law plan frequently also works as an estate plan.