Elder law is the field concerned with the legal issues encountered predominantly by older Americans. The same types of legal issues are often encountered by people living with disabilities.
Although elder law is a broad field that includes incapacity planning, Title 19 (Medicaid) planning and applications, and coordination of care at home or in long-term care facilities, at the present time our elder law practice is limited to incapacity planning and conservator proceedings in Connecticut's Probate Courts.
PLANNING FOR INCAPACITY
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated. But it happens to people every day for many different reasons. Sometimes it may be somewhat expected because of a medical condition such as Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. Other times, it may be the result of some unexpected trauma such as a car accident or even an unpredictable medical event like a stroke. If you were rendered incapacitated, whether temporarily or permanently, who would pay your bills? Who would make your medical decisions for you if you couldn't make them for yourself?
Planning for the possibility of incapacity is just as important as planning for your own passing. By having a power of attorney and an appointment of health care representative in place, you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that in the event that the unimaginable happens, someone will be able to immediately step into your shoes and protect what's important to you. If you have minor children, you can also desginate a standby guardian that can temporarily step into your parental role if you're incapacitated.
Many people realize the importance of having a last will and testament, but your will only takes effect when you die. The incapacity planning documents protect you while you're alive but unable to make decisions or take action for yourself. In many instances, if you become incapacitated and don't have these documents in place, it may mean a trip to the local Probate Court for your family to seek the appointment of a conservator.