Estate Planning and Elder Law Pathway

Explore how estate planning and elder law is applied within these practice contexts.

Advising

  • Advise about end of life decisions, such as disability, Medicaid eligibility, and care of disabled children
  • Advise about distributing client property – from complex business transactions to artists’ intellectual property
  • Advise about the need for guardianships or alternatives and choices regarding probate or administration of trusts

Transactions

Estate planning and elder law lawyers don’t call their core work product transactions, although the label fits. These lawyers:

  • Draft wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney, marital property and pre-nuptial agreements that determine how and when property will be transferred on death, disability, or divorce

In addition, they practice in contexts that are not quite transactions and not quite disputes -- court supervised processes that are often non-adversarial:

  • Help wrap up the affairs of deceased clients, paying off debts and distributing property, subject to final approval of the court in the probate process

Disputes

Examples of disputes handled by estate planning and elder law lawyers include the following:

  • Family members seeking a larger share of the estate
  • Challenges to the need for a guardianship, who should be the guardian, or administration of the guardianship
  • Government agencies administering Medicaid, Medicare or other benefit programs
  • Challenges to documents they draft, in some cases, rather than referring out to litigation specialists

Public Policy

  • Draft legislation and debates over proposed new or amended statutes
  • Draft or comment on new or proposed regulations, often through participation in bar associations

Last updated 6/18/2014