Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Should the way in which Elder Law is practiced be modernized?

Sisson_peterPeter C. Sisson (Principal, Sisson & Sisson, Boise, Idaho) has recently published his article entitled Life Care Planning: The Comprehensive Elder Law Approach to Planning for the Chronic Care of Seniors, 44 Idaho L. Rev. 481 (2008).

Here are some excerpts from his article:   

My conclusion, which has not changed since the enactment of the DRA, is that the harder the government makes it for seniors to qualify for Medicaid, the more important the elder law attorney’s services become. The more complex the system, the more seniors need assistance and advocates in figuring it out. Seniors and their families need more guidance than ever in working their way through the maze of Medicaid eligibility rules. * * *

As an elder law attorney, I wanted to comprehensively help my senior clients address their concerns, yet the main driving force behind the voiced concern (the financial cost of long-term care) was their healthcare situation. * * *

In 2005, I determined to move my law firm to a life care planning model of practice in order to better serve my senior clients and their children who were overwhelmed trying to manage all these issues for their parents. * * *

Moving my traditional Medicaid and estate planning practice toward life care planning was a paradigm shift for me and my law firm, away from the manner in which more traditional elder law is practiced. Life care planning for seniors can accurately be described as taking an elder-centered approach rather than an assets-centered approach. The life care planning model of elder law practice recognizes that helping seniors and their families with their financial concerns regarding how to pay for care is an important piece of the long-term care puzzle. Life care planning recognizes, however, that asset protection is only one piece of the puzzle, not the entire puzzle. The primary emphasis of our representation is on the quality of care that our senior clients receive, and the quality of life they and their loved ones experience as they move through what we call the long-term care maze. We help our clients navigate that maze by helping them find, get, and pay for quality long-term care.


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