California Bar Journal
CBJ - May 2009 #02.
Seniors and The Law is updated and translated
California Bar Journal May 2009 Seniors and The Law is updated and translatedBy Kristina Horton FlahertyStaff WriterA growing number of older Americans have migrated back to the workplace or stayed on the job in recent years in the face of rising health care costs, a troubled economy and shrinking retirement accounts.
But will they lose their Social Security benefits if they keep working? Could they legally be fired from their jobs because of their age? Are they allowed, at a certain age, to deposit extra cash into their retirement accounts?
This is just one of the many topic areas addressed in the State Bar's recently revised Seniors and the Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians. The free guide, inserted into this month's California Bar Journal, speaks directly to seniors and their grown children on a wide range of law-related topics that affect California's seniors in their daily lives - from housing options to health care issues to elder abuse to estate planning and government assistance.
"The information in this guide can help seniors stay in charge of their lives for as long as possible," said attorney Helen Karr, a former member of California's Commission on Aging and a senior herself. "And in the current economic crisis, it's even more crucial that seniors know their legal rights, and the resources and options available to them."
With more than 4 million residents age 65 or older, California is the most senior-populated state in the nation - and the ranks are growing. But so, too, are the many laws related to seniors and the many programs geared for them.
Where can seniors go, by law, for a free hot meal? Can seniors legally install grab bars and lowered countertops in their homes over their landlord's objections? Can they get a tax break if they downsize to a smaller home? And can they leave instructions in an advance health care directive for the future handling of their medical care in the event they lose the ability to voice such decisions later?
The answers to these questions and more can be found in Seniors and the Law. The updated guide also touches on recent changes in the law related to foreclosure and foreclosure consultants, for example, and to insurance brokers and investment advisors who tout themselves...