There is no debating that the American population is aging at a rapid pace. In fact, by the year 2030, it is estimated that 19 percent of America's population will be over the age of 65. With an aging populace, our country has seen an emerging need for qualified professionals to deal with the problems that seniors encounter as part of the aging process as well as the post death needs of the senior's family. These needs have lead to the development of Elder Law.
Elder law attorneys help seniors address and resolve the issues that face them at their stage of life. This 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.
As a recent issue of the New York Law Journal, titled "Mediation: Prevent Estate Litigation, Preserve Relationships," explains when a family has a positive relationship and is making decisions together, difficult issues can be dealt with little or no hard feelings. On the other hand, if family members disagree or have competing interests, there is a chance that conflicts may arise. These disputes can lead to contested guardianship proceedings when the senior is alive and contested estate proceedings after he or she is gone. Either one of these disputes 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. Speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney can also help you to clarify the senior's wishes and get the entire family on the same page. Who needs more stress when a loved one has become incapacitated or passed away?
Reference: New York Law Journal (September 22, 2014) "Mediation: Prevent Estate Litigation, Preserve Relationships"