What is Elder Law?

What is Elder Law?

One of the most common questions our law firm is asked at seminars or by clients or their families is “what is elder law?” Although this is a simple question, the complete answer is more in depth then you may think. With that said, the short answer to this question is,

elder law is an area of law that specializes in the legal needs associated with aging.

This article provides background on this area of law and describes legal issues that an attorney practicing in this area focuses on.


Elder law started developing around the mid-1980’s. This area of law was established because attorneys and lawmakers realized that people were starting to live longer lives and develop unique needs due to aging and illness. These needs include prolonged nursing home medicaid, long term care, veterans benefits, care for alzheimer’s/dementia, etc.

Since these needs have specific legal requirements and involve a particular demographic of people, lawyers realized that this area of law requires specialization. As a result, elder law started to become recognized as its own area of practice.

What Does An Elder Law Attorney Do?

Elder law is a capstone. In other words, it covers several practice areas including family law, tax law, estate planning, probate etc. Below is a list of common issues an attorney that practices in this area may handle.

Elder Medicaid
– Nursing Home Care
– Elder Medicare
– Alzheimer’s and Dementia
– Long Term Care Planning
– Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning
– Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases
– Elder Neglect in Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Centers
– Legal Guardianship for Adults

Here is a brief video of attorney Sean Nichols discussing elder law and describing what this practice area entails.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Sean Nichols. I’m the founder and managing partner of Sean J Nichols, PLLC, an elder law, estate planning, and probate law firm. I established my law firm in 2011 because there was an under-served need that needed to be met for the unique legal issues that come with aging.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “what is elder law?” Elder law is an area of law that developed in the mid 1980’s that started to specialize in legal issues with aging. It’s a capstone; it covers many other areas of law such as family law, taxation, special needs planning, wills, trusts, nursing homes, medicaid, assisted living, powers of attorney, deeds, etc.

This area of law was established because lawyers recognized people were living longer and had unique legal needs related to aging which required lawyers to specialize in these areas.

The reason I decided to specialize in this area of law is because my grandmother and grandfather experienced some of these needs when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I saw the process that families have to go through and the stress it can place on their spouse.

If you have any questions about anything related to elder law contact us today.

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