With the number of elderly people increasing and the poor economic situation in this country today, many elderly people are residing with relatives or friends in order to make ends meet. Shared living arrangements may put stress on the relationship and cause resentment and greed, resulting in abuse of the elderly person. A report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that over five hundred thousand Americans are subjected to elder abuse each year, and it is thought this is under reported because the victim is too old, infirm, or afraid to report it. The CDC recognizes six kinds of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, and also neglect and abandonment.
The elder abuse lawyer can help you if you suspect an elderly person is being abused. They will have an in-depth understanding of the rights of the elderly and of elder laws. They can direct you to the appropriate agencies, and they can help you plan for the future. Elder law attorneys also can assist with probating an estate.
The Area Agency on Aging of Florida states that “elder law covers all aspects of planning, counseling, education, and advocating for clients.” Thus, the role of the elder abuse lawyer is to educate, counsel, and assist clients in planning for their future. An elder abuse lawyer will be able to explain and prepare wills and trusts, living wills, Durable Power of Attorney, and other documents. They will be able to counsel the client and the client’s advocate on the rights of the elderly, nursing home law, and free legal aid.
The role of the elder abuse lawyer is also to represent the client in court in cases of competency, guardianship, and abuse. However, there is a definite pathway for reporting elder abuse that must be followed in order for professionals to investigate and prosecute the case. The client’s representative should contact the Adult Protective Agency of the state in which the client resides. They will initiate an investigation and decide whether to refer the case to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to prosecute the case. The elder abuse lawyer can represent the client if the case goes to trial.
Thus, the role of the elder abuse lawyer is to educate and counsel the client, to prepare the necessary documents to protect the client in all aspects of their aging, and to advocate for the them in actual cases of abuse.