Recent estimates predict that Americans age 65 and older will make up nearly 20 percent of the population by 2030. With nearly one in five Americans eventually needing help with their daily activities, let alone developing health issues like dementia and Alzheimer's, the potential for intrafamily conflicts is a reality.
A: An elder law attorney.
Elder law attorneys help seniors address and resolve the unique issues they face. These issues can include long-term care matters, retirement benefits, estate planning, housing, abuse and neglect of a vulnerable senior, potential guardianship, and health care.
Elder law attorneys can also assist with post-death issues relating to probate and estate administration.
According to a recent article in the New York Law Journal, titled "Mediation: Prevent Estate Litigation, Preserve Relationships," when a family has a positive relationship and is making decisions together, then difficult issues can be addressed with little or no hard feelings. On the other hand, if family members disagree or have competing interests, then there is a greater chance that conflicts may arise.
For example, contested guardianship proceedings when the senior is alive and contested estate proceedings after he or she is gone can take an immense toll financially and emotionally on a family.
The original article notes that mediation is becoming a valuable tool for seniors and their families. This is preferable to the expense and pain of litigation. Mediation can be useful to avoid post-death conflict in the family and to discuss issues during the senior's life.
Mediation is one way to solve these types of issues. After all, who needs more unnecessary stress when a loved one has become incapacitated or passed away?
Contact an experienced elder law attorney to help clarify the wishes of your senior loved ones ... and get the entire family on the same page. For a national directory of elder law attorneys, visit the official website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (naela.org).
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: New York Law Journal (September 22, 2014) "Mediation: Prevent Estate Litigation, Preserve Relationships"