Elder Law

Elder Law Attorney Douglas G. Brown

Elder Law

Elder Law generally deals with senior citizens, disabled persons and their families. An Elder Law attorney therefore focuses on the needs of elderly or disabled clients by employing the appropriate strategies to address their needs. Depending on the concerns of the client, the elder law attorney may need to assist with basic estate planning issues and advise clients regarding the use of advance directives, such as a general durable power of attorney or a health care power of attorney, or related documents. The elder law attorney also may be requested to help clients living in a long term care facility by advising them of their rights as residents or in dealing with end of life issues. Other clients may need an elder law attorney for advice regarding compliance with federal or state requirements for Medicare and/or Medicaid assistance. Doug Brown is prepared to assist clients in these circumstances.

Advance Directives:
Just as estate planning is important for planning for the disposition of your property when you die, certain strategies are available to assist people in planning for the rest of their lives. The primary issue to be addressed in this regard is to make sure your assets are propertly managed if you become disabled and to provide for your family if you are unable to do so yourself. The tools used to accomplish these objectives include a general or broad form of Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney is used to appoint another individual to manage business affairs on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated, mentally or physically. This Durable Power of Attorney could include conducting banking transactions, managing investments, buying or selling real estate, engaging professionals, obtaining or cancelling insurance policies, and handling other business affairs on your behalf. A key aspect of a Durable Power of Attorney is that it is effective even if you are incompetent but it terminates upon your death. Having a Durable Power of Attorney in place can be very important if you become incapictated since it will normally avoid the necessity of having the Court approve a guardian or conservator to handle your affairs in such a case.

Another available tool that can be utilized is a Health Care Power of Attorney which document designates a person as your agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incompetent and unable to make these decisions. A Health Care Power of Attorney under South Carolina law is a statutorily prescribed document and must substantially comply, in form and content, with the enabling statute. The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to make certain elections regarding health care, including whether or not to donate any of your organs upon your death, whether or not you want to receive life sustaining treatment, or whether or not you want to receive artificial nutrition and hydration, under certain circumstances. A Health Care Power of Attorney should contain the appropriate language required by South Carolina and, where applicable, federal law. Specifically, an appropriate reference should be made in a Health Care Power of Attorney to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which federal law protects the privacy of your health care information and medical records, so as to provide only your health care agent with access to your medical records.

A properly prepared Health Care Power of Attorney can eliminate the need for a Living Will or Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death since you can provide in the Health Care Power of Attorney that you do not want to receive life sustaining treatment if you are in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness. A valid Health Care Power of Attorney can eliminate the need for a court-appointed guardian to make health care decisions for you.

Wills, Probate & Elder Law

Doug Brown is experienced in the preparation of Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Limited Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives, including Health Care Powers of Attorneys, and Declarations of Desire for a Natural Death, known generally as a "Living Will".

Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills should contain the appropriate language required by South Carolina and federal law. He stands ready to explain these documents to you, as well as to your famiy members and advisors to make sure that the documents he prepares for you clearly and accurately express your intentions.

Further, as today's society ages, he stands to advise you and to prepare appropriate documents as to matters relating to wills and Elder Law issues and to help ensure that your final desires are appropriately planned for. Among the issues facing the elderly population are meeting the requirements for eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.

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