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What is Elder Law?

The term “Elder Law” refers to the areas of law that affect or relate to individuals who are older or are approaching the end of their lives. There is not a “magic age” in which elder law concerns should be addressed. However, our firm encourages any individual aged 50 or over to review his or her estate plan, including wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents.

At Hays Firm, our Chicago-based elder law attorneys work with and help our clients to make plans for the future. The future may entail a time period in which our clients are incapacitated and unable to make their own personal and financial decisions. Our experienced attorneys also help guide our elder law clients as they work to provide for their families after death.

Planning for Incapacity

When attorneys discuss incapacity they are referring to an individual’s mental ability. Specifically, attorneys, and Illinois guardianship law, are concerned with whether a person can make personal decisions and financial decisions for themselves.

Personal decisions include whether a person is able to meaningfully care for him or herself. Is the person capable of making decisions regarding medical care and treatment? Is the person willing and able to accept care in the home or in a residential facility? Financial decisions include the ability to pay bills. Is the person able to manage his personal finances? Is the person susceptible to financial exploitation?

At some point, you may be unable to make such personal and financial decisions. Your incapacity may be only temporary – maybe after a planned major surgery or after an unforeseen accident. The qualified elder care attorneys at Hays Firm can help you plan for periods of incapacity. There are a variety of tools that can be put in place to help you and your family seamlessly cope with changes in life.

Planning for Distribution of Property After Death

Establishing a comprehensive estate plan to provide for your family after your death is another major area of elder law. The attorneys at the Hays Firm conduct an initial interview with our clients to go over their specific concerns and wishes. Each individual and his or her family is different. Some individuals have large biological families who have remained close throughout their lives. Others would like to provide for their lifelong friends who are not otherwise legal heirs under Illinois law. Additionally, individuals may be concerned about the needs a disabled adult or of a minor child or grandchild.

An effective estate plan can address any type of situation and ensure that your assets are distributed pursuant to your wishes upon your death.  


If you are aged 50 or over, we encourage you to review your current estate plan or create one if necessary. Life is not always predictable, but with a few legal documents in place you may be able to avoid heartache and financial headaches when the unexpected happens. The qualified Chicago elder law attorneys at Hays Firm LLC are here to assist you. Feel free to contact us anytime to discuss how we can help.