Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The Caregiver’s Bookshelf: A Law Guide for SeniorsBy PAULA SPAN
How much can a retiree earn without compromising his Social Security benefits? How do you petition for guardianship of an incapacitated older relative (and is that a good idea)? What should you know about reverse mortgages?
Navigating the law as an older adult, or on behalf of one, is a daunting enterprise. Not only are the regulations, requirements and exceptions multitudinous and confusing, but many of them regularly change. What’s the asset limit for those applying for Medicaid reimbursement of nursing home costs? Well, it depends which year you ask.
“Everyday Law for Seniors,” written by two law professors — Lawrence Frolik of the University of Pittsburgh and Linda Whitton of Valparaiso University — guides readers through the maze. The authors take on a variety of common topics (age discrimination, Social Security, housing, pensions, Medicare and other insurance) and offer clear, careful explanations and suggestions. First published in 2010, the book’s just been updated to include the most recent federal benefits numbers.
Even the most helpful book can’t substitute for the individualized advice of an elder attorney, but this one looks very useful for older people and their families.
Speaking of helpful books, here’s another suggestion from Charles Sabatino, who heads the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging: “New Times, New Challenges: Law and Advice for Savvy Seniors and Their Families,” by Kenney Hegland of the University of Arizona Law School and Robert Fleming, a prominent elder attorney. It’s a few years older and a bit broader in scope, said Mr. Sabatino — who’s also a fan of “Everyday Law for Seniors” — but equally clear and reliable.