- Powers of attorney and advance care directives
- Guardianship applications
- Access to care services at home or facilities
- Recovering losses due to financial abuse
- General advice
- Facilitate family meetings
Elder law does not have one specific definition but generally involves issues such as: consent and capacity; incapacity planning; guardianship; access to health care and related services; fraud; and physical or financial abuse.
Capacity to make financial or health care decisions in rarely absolute and is task-based. This means that the level of understanding a person must have to give instructions or consent relates to the type of decision. It can vary over time, including the time of day, and be affected by medication. This is true for everyone, not just older persons. Capacity is about more than just memory as it involves understanding the decisions to be made and the consequences of failing to make a proper decision.
As a person ages, there is a nature progression in terms of mental capacity that can be affected by disease and other health factors. This can make older individuals more vulnerable and why the specialty area of elder law exists which incorporates much of estate law but in a more focused manner. The goal is to preserve and restore dignity for people as they age.