5 Legal Issues Seniors Can Encounter
Issues with the law don’t go away as you age. Many seniors find themselves dealing with a unique set of legal circumstances as they get older. Some of these can seriously impact retirement and create a nightmare of stress and paperwork. Here are just a few examples of unique legal problems and some solutions that may interest seniors.
Social Security Insurance Issues
Social security should be an easy-to-claim benefit for seniors, one for which they have paid their entire working lives. However, the combined force of irresponsible government spending, population booms and busts, extended lifespans, and the usual bureaucratic mess built into government systems have made social security a significant challenge. A dispute over eligibility or lost checks may even require the aid of an attorney to figure out. From making sure you are fairly compensated to dealing with SSI issues related to a deceased spouse, many seniors find that dealing with social security is one of the more difficult parts of aging.
Powers of Attorney
As seniors age, many find it important to have a power of attorney in place so that their wishes will be followed. According to Norton Shores Elder Law Attorney, a properly-drafted power of attorney can ensure that seniors’ assets can be protected in the event of dementia onset. Whether this is used for medical matters or financial, it’s important that seniors have a properly crafted document in place and that they find the right person to hold that power. This is often an issue that has a ticking clock attached to it, and must be done with some haste.
Real Property Issues
After a life of owning a home, it’s only natural that many seniors might be looking to cash out or move to a more ideal environment. Whether the move is a downgrade to someplace smaller or a real attempt at building a dream home, there are myriad legal issues that seniors may encounter when selling real property. From dealing with liens and boundary disputes to working with zoning boards and homeowners’ associations, these issues can often lay dormant until it’s time to put the house on the market. Wealthy seniors may feel tempted to simply gift their properties to their children or grandchildren, but this may have serious tax implications if not handled correctly, according to the IRS.
Family Law Issues
Seniors can run into issues with family law in many different ways. Some may have to deal with issues of divorce, while others may consider adoption as they age. In an age of grandparents raising grandchildren, some seniors might have to worry about custody issues even after they retire, and even issues of child support. Family law issues don’t stop just because one has gotten older – and indeed, they often becomes more involved.
Estate planning is also something that seniors often begin to worry about. From drafting a good will to making sure money will be in place for future generations, this is perhaps the one area of law that is most dominated by older clients. You should consider estate planning mandatory, regardless of your age. Failure to plan will not only increase the amount of probate taxes, but may saddle your heirs with an unwanted headache and create property disputes that may drive a permanent wedge in their family relationships. Don’t do that to your loved ones.
For most of us, retirement is the time we hope to be the most abundant season of our lives. Making this a reality, however, requires intentional planning to maximize retirement savings and minimize legal hassles. The first step is being aware of the difficulties you may face and how to prepare for and respond to them.