Page Reviewed / Updated – July 26, 2022

Elder law attorneys help seniors and their families with a variety of legal issues. This includes helping their clients create trusts to protect their assets. Legal issues associated with aging can be complicated, so working with an attorney ensures everything is set up correctly and complies with applicable laws.

Trusts can be helpful in managing finances for senior family members and passing on estates after loved ones are gone. There are several types of trusts that allow someone else to manage a senior’s finances to protect them from fraud or financial abuse. 

Elder Law Attorneys Advise Clients About Trusts

An elder law attorney has extensive knowledge about trusts, power of attorney, health care planning, long-term care and many other topics related to aging. The attorney looks at the client’s situation and future needs to create a plan that protects their financial interests, health and estate. This might involve a combination of a trust and other legal documents and protections. An elder law attorney understands how trusts affect issues, such as Medicaid eligibility, and can advise clients on how to proceed.

They can also advise clients on the right type of trust for their situation. Some types of trusts include:

  • Revocable living trust: This type of trust can be revoked or changed by the grantor without consulting with the beneficiaries. 
  • Irrevocable living trust: Irrevocable trusts can’t be changed except in rare situations and not without consent from the beneficiaries. This type of trust is often more complicated than a revocable trust to create. 
  • Testamentary trust: This type of trust is used when one spouse dies. The assets are transferred to a testamentary trust, allowing the trustee to make decisions and protect the surviving spouse from fraud or money mismanagement.

Elder Law Attorneys Set Up Trusts

Having the trust set up correctly is essential for protecting assets. An elder law attorney can set up the trust properly to allow the trustees to take over easily if an individual can no longer manage their financial affairs. It also needs to be written to allow the assets to pass easily to the heirs to successfully avoid going through probate. An attorney can also reduce the amount of state and federal taxes paid on the assets based on how the trust is created. 

While kits and templates for trusts are available, using an elder law attorney can provide better protection. Every person’s situation is different, and the laws vary by state. Having an elder law expert create the trust takes those differences into consideration to customize the document. Lawyers can help provide the greatest protection and prevent mistakes that can have a major financial impact.

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