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Elder Law or Estate Planning: Do You Know the Difference?

Elder Law or Estate Planning: Do You Know the Difference?

July 26, 2023

Nearly 56 million American adults are 65 or older, and the demand for community living and estate planning services may increase over the next few decades.1

Do you know what arrangements you need to make when the time comes? What are the differences between elder law and estate planning? And what should you know before you begin to get your affairs in order?

Elder Law: Protecting Seniors Today and Tomorrow

Elder law encompasses various legal issues for seniors, including legal support for elder abuse, preservation of assets, access to medical care and assisted living services, and the execution of powers of attorney documents for financial and medical considerations.

By developing an eldercare plan, you may transition smoothly to a community care setting and access Medicare or Medicaid when needed. Having your affairs in order before you need care may also make things much easier for your children or other loved ones. Scrambling to make these arrangements at the last minute is stressful and might lead to less-than-ideal results.

To get started, begin working with an elder law attorney and a financial professional to help you plan for your last golden years while still enjoying the day-to-day pleasures of your retirement.

Estate Planning: Implementing Your Final Wishes

Unlike elder law, which focuses on the immediate future, estate planning focuses on implementing your wishes after you pass away. An estate plan is essentially a roadmap for bequeathing your assets and guiding your loved ones as to how to distribute them after your death.

Estate planning tools may include a last will and testament and various types of trusts. An estate planning attorney may also work with you to identify and name beneficiaries for specific accounts, such as life insurance policies, to help these assets bypass probate. The more assets that pass outside the estate or through a trust, the simpler and more streamlined the process may be for your loved ones.

A Financial Professional May Help

Although attorneys have the specialized experience and knowledge to help you set up an eldercare and an estate plan, a financial professional is also a key part of the team. As financial rules and regulations change, your plan may need to change, too—and your financial professional may help organize your plans to manage your benefits and taxes.

Important Disclosures:

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking #1-05372583


1 Population - Adults Ages 65+ in United States