Introduction to Elder Law

What is Elder Law?

Elder Law refers to a broad range of legal issues and to a unique multidisciplinary approach that recognizes the connections among the legal, social and health needs of older persons and their families. Its emergence first arose from demographic trends, from the concern that older persons are at greater risk of losing personal and financial autonomy because of physical and mental impairment and from the fact that older persons and their families are more mobile and more diverse than ever before, as caregiving within families frequently takes place over great distances and in a growing variety of home and community-based settings. The focus of Elder Law is not on disability and dying but on ensuring that laws, policies and practice relating to aging are appropriately tailored to the needs of this population while guarding against paternalism and ageism.

Most people plan their estate to protect their assets in the event of early death. But they don’t often anticipate the problems of living longer and facing disability. Legal counseling is needed to ensure that older persons are protected against adverse circumstances and can live as full a life as possible.

Elder Law practitioners will play an important role in helping clients and professionals serving the aging population plan for issues of later life and the potential of incapacity, protect against abuse and exploitation and maintain personal autonomy.