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Elder Law an Overview

Aged Care

Updated 25-01-2024

Elder Law an Overview

Elder law is a legal practice area specifically focused on the challenges and issues faced by the ageing population. It encompasses various legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, social security, and many others. Professionals who specialise in elder law provide their clients with the legal advice and representation needed to manage the complex situations often associated with ageing.

Understanding the Scope of Elder Law

Elder law practitioners offer a holistic approach when addressing the legal concerns of older adults. Their expertise extends to crucial decisions about estate planning, durable powers of attorney, protection against elder abuse, and crafting living wills. Often, elder law advice goes beyond these typical services to include financial planning, housing opportunities, and even navigating the intricacies of different government benefits.

Estate Planning and Wills

Central to elder law is estate planning. Estate planning ensures an individual's property is transferred according to their wishes upon their death. This process often involves the creation of wills - legal documents that articulate the distribution of one’s assets and the care of any dependents. Estate planning can also ensure that taxation is minimised for beneficiaries.

Powers of Attorney and Guardianship

Elder law also involves setting up powers of attorney, which are legal documents that allow individuals to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf should they lose decision-making capacity. In instances where a person has not set up a power of attorney and is no longer capable of making decisions, elder law practitioners can assist with guardianship. A guardian is someone the court appoints to make decisions for someone who is unable to do so on their own.

Long-Term Care Planning

As the costs of long-term care are extremely high in Australia, planning for these expenses is a significant part of elder law. Attorneys can help clients understand the options for long-term care and how to plan for these costs. This includes understanding private payment options, aged care subsidies, and the financial implications of each choice.

Retirement Planning

Closely related to long-term care is retirement planning. Elders need to understand their rights regarding superannuation, age pensions, and other retirement benefits. Elder law professionals can provide advice on maximising retirement benefits and planning for a future that takes into account the likelihood of increasing medical and living expenses.

Protection against Elder Abuse

With the unfortunate rise in elder abuse, one area of elder law is dedicated to protecting older Australians from physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Elder law attorneys can provide advice on how to recognise and report abuse, and they can take steps to protect their clients through restraining orders and by securing their assets.

The Role of Elder Law Professionals in Client Advocacy

Elder law professionals do not simply provide legal services; they also act as advocates for the elderly. This might include working on public policy that affects senior citizens and their families or assisting in cases where elder rights are in jeopardy.

Understanding the labyrinth of government benefits, including social security, Medicare, and veterans' benefits, is an important aspect of elder law. Older Australians may be entitled to various government programs, and attorneys can help navigate the registration process and provide advice on the qualifications for benefits.


Elder law goes beyond traditional legal services to address the unique challenges faced by the ageing population in Australia. By focusing on the needs and concerns of older adults, elder law professionals ensure that their clients are well-prepared for the legal challenges that accompany the ageing process. With comprehensive and personalised legal services, elder law practitioners serve as invaluable counsel and advocate for the elderly and their families, ensuring their rights, dignity, and financial security are preserved.

About the Author

Olivia is a seasoned professional with an extensive career spanning the Aged Care sector, bringing decades of experience to her role. Her comprehensive understanding of Aged Care services and practices is a testament to her dedication. Olivia’s gratitude extends to those who have generously shared their knowledge and insights with her over the years, contributing to her wealth of expertise.

Olivia’s articles reflect her commitment to practical and informative content. They skillfully combine her industry know-how with real-world insights, providing valuable resources for navigating the complexities of the Aged Care sector. Olivia stands as a reliable advocate for delivering compassionate and effective care to elderly individuals, offering her support not only to fellow care workers and professionals but also to those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the sector.

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