Elder Law Attorney in Santa Clara County, California

Over 39 million people live in California and nearly 15%, or six million of them, are age 65 or older. Healthcare issues and the potential for becoming victims of fraud and abuse make this segment of the population extremely vulnerable.

Planning for a time when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself is never easy, but it should be done while you still have the ability to advocate for your exact wishes. Families should encourage their older loved ones to make these critical decisions now so that their family members are not put in the stressful position of having to speculate over what someone may or may not want later on.

If you are thinking about estate planning and healthcare wishes, or if you want to know more about the ways you can help an older adult in your life plan for the future, you should consult with an experienced elder law attorney.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we provide reliable legal guidance and assistance to individuals and their families who wish to plan for the future or deal with a crisis when the health of a loved one is failing. Our firm is proud to serve clients from San Jose and Morgan Hill, California, and the surrounding communities.

What is Elder Law?

Elder law involves the legal processes necessary for people to prepare for future challenges involving their financial freedom and autonomy, should they be unable to make those decisions for themselves at a later time. Elder law also helps family members make critical decisions about their loved one’s care while they are here and their estate when they are gone. Three key areas included in elder law are estate planning, healthcare and long-term care, and guardianship.

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There’s No Time Better Than The
Present To Create an Estate Plan

Estate planning is something every adult should explore, no matter their age or where they are in life. Contrary to popular belief, it is so much more than simply deciding who gets what after you die. It also involves making decisions about who advocates for your needs if you become incapacitated, how your financial resources are used to care for you if you are ever unable to care for yourself, and more.

Estate planning includes a number of different tools, including wills, trusts, healthcare directives, and guardianships. If you tackle estate planning now, while you can make those decisions for yourself, you can ensure that your exact wishes are followed no matter the circumstance. Taking care of these affairs can not only provide you with peace of mind, but it can also make everything much easier and far less stressful for your loved ones.

Four key issues you can address in estate planning include:

  1. Deciding what happens to your estate if you become incapacitated or die. This includes choosing someone to administer your will and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
  2. Opting to avoid probate by placing assets in a trust, which can help keep your affairs private.
  3. Specifying who you want to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. 
  4. Voicing your wishes for end-of-life care. This includes outlining specific healthcare directives such as whether or not you want to remain on life support or not.

Healthcare and Long-Term Care
Issues are More Critical Than Ever

Decisions about your long-term care when you are no longer able to care for yourself is not only one of the biggest issues you may face, but also one of the most expensive. In 2019, the average monthly cost for assisted living in California was $4,500, with San Jose ranking as one of the most expensive cities in the state. Moreover, Alzheimer’s care can add 20-30% to that cost.

Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, offers specific support for elderly in-home, nursing home, assisted living, and long-term care — however, there are limits to income and assets to qualify. Spending down assets may be an option. Medi-Cal qualification of one spouse but not the other can also create new challenges. Working with an experienced elder law attorney can help you successfully navigate this process and plan for these financial challenges so that you’re prepared for whatever the future holds.

Even when residents of assisted living facilities or nursing homes are unable to make their own decisions, they are still entitled to rights established by the federal government and the State of California. Elder law includes protecting those rights and taking the appropriate legal steps should they be violated and your loved one put at risk.

Establishing Guardianship To
Help with Decision Making

A guardian can make important decisions about one’s life and property, should that person become unable to make those decisions for themselves. Naming someone you trust to serve as your guardian, should you ever need one, is always a good idea, and your estate planning attorney can craft the legal documents you need to have this in place.

There is also a legal process that allows for a guardian to be appointed by the court, should your or a loved one ever become unable to make necessary life decisions. A knowledgeable elder law attorney can help set this process up and answer any questions you may have.

Guardians can protect their elderly wards from potential physical, emotional, and financial exploitation that they may face if they become incompetent. That’s why it is so important to choose someone that you truly trust to take care of you, advocate for your needs, and make decisions that are in your best interest — should the time ever come that you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

Get The Guidance You Need Today

Planning ahead is always a wise decision for yourself and your loved ones, even if it often feels like something you can afford to put off. Too many times, people fail to formalize their wishes before something happens, and then their family is stuck trying to speculate over what they think is best. Forcing your family and loved ones to make decisions about your health, well-being, and your estate without fully knowing your exact wishes is never a burden you want to place on them.

As a firm with over two decades of experience, we are fully prepared to help you plan for your future today. We’re also proud to help families who are faced with the difficult task of making decisions on someone else’s behalf. There is no need for anyone to do this alone. Call or reach out to The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer to receive the reliable legal guidance you need and deserve.

Elder Law Attorneys Serving Santa Clara County, CA

For more than 20 years, The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer has helped clients in San Jose, California, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayworth, Pleasanton, and Alameda and Santa Clara County navigate the many complexities of elder law issues. Whether you are planning for the future or dealing with a crisis in the present, we can help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help with your situation.