How Will Elder Law Shift?

Below, Annemarie Schreiber expands on how the pandemic has impacted elder law and what changes she sees on the horizon.

Prior to the pandemic, there was a trend towards more home care for the elderly.  “It is expected that this trend will continue considering how nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been required to restrict visitation during the pandemic”, explains Annemarie Schreiber, an Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey. “This will impact the advice and guidance elder law attorneys give their clients and their families as the elder law attorney keeps pace with the housing needs and wishes of their clients and their families.”

Below, she expands on how the pandemic has impacted elder law and what changes she sees on the horizon.

The pandemic has locked many Americans in their homes and amplified these challenges. How can we better prepare for the future?

Last March, when we were hit with the pandemic, our lives, as we had known it, came to a screeching halt. Despite having to face the biggest challenge of our lives, we persevered. If nothing else, the current crisis has taught us that we can adapt. It has taught us that we are resilient. More importantly, the ever-changing face of the pandemic has required us to continuously adjust and adapt.  Our lives have been significantly impacted by the crisis. Some aspects of our lives will be forever affected by this crisis.  For example, the practice of Elder Law has had to adjust to this new normal and will, in all likelihood, continue to see changes.

How important of a part has technology played during the pandemic? In what ways has this impacted seniors and their needs?

Since the start of the pandemic, elder law attorneys have had to expand their practices to include more web-based technologies with clients.  With the restrictions related to social distancing and with the hesitancy of in-person meetings, virtual meetings and teleconferences have become the norm.  This has proven beneficial, especially when there are family members located in distant cities and states.  Given the convenience of these methods, as the pandemic restrictions are lifted, it is projected that elder law attorneys and their clients will continue to avail themselves of the usage.

Business and commerce have adapted well to electronic documents and digital signatures; can the same be said for trusts and elder law?

It was the practice before the pandemic that notarization of signatures was done in person.  In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, states took emergency action to allow remote notarization during the pandemic.  It is anticipated that the states will make remote notarization permanent. Permanent remote notarization will help the elder law attorney accommodate the needs of his or her clients.

What has the current crisis taught you and what further changes do you expect to see?

Not only has the pandemic taught us that we must pivot in difficult situations, but it has also taught us that many of the ways we have learned to adapt are beneficial and should be continued even after the pandemic ends.

Annemarie Schreiber

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