Jay E. Grenig, Elder Law, West (2020/2021)

Law Library Reserve Collection: KFW2480 .W57 v.18                        Also available on Westlaw (password required)

As the holidays roll around, and families gather together, there may be discussions concerning the elder members of the family and their health and welfare.  These kinds of discussions around life and estate planning are not at all uncommon at this time of year.  Issues as these may take on an even sharper focus this year because of the pandemic.

Before we begin reviewing this week's book, please know the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has a webpage specifically for Advance Directives, complete with forms.  There are forms for a living will, power of attorney ("for health care," and "for finance and property"), and authorization for final disposition.  Advance directives are among the many decisions that go into a sound program of life and estate planning.

The book's author, Jay E. Grenig, began dealing with elder law issues shortly after graduation from law school.  His many years of legal practice and personal experience guide the selection of topics covered in this book.  It contains many helpful forms as well.  Yet, he counsels the forms should be used as a starting point.  One needs to check whether there have been statutory and judicial developments, and they need to be customized with the specific needs of your clients in mind.

The book begins with a couple basic introductory chapters "Representing the Elderly" and "Client Interviewing and Counseling."  Next are "Powers of Attorney and Health Care Decision Making" and "Guardianships and Conservatorships" along with "Estate Planning" and "Estate Administration."  The following three chapters cover government benefits as "Social Security and Supplemental Security Income," "Medicare" and "Medicaid."  Other important issues like "Long-Term Care," "Elder Housing," "Elder Protection" and "Grandchild Care and Grandparent Rights" are covered in the book's final chapters.

The Appendices include directories for:

  • Federal and Wisconsin government agencies;
  • private organizations;
  • Wisconsin area agencies on aging;
  • County Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC);
  • ADRC services for Tribal Members.

Appendix A of the Appendices contains over fifty forms for your use.  Form 50: Elder Housing - Choosing an Assisted Living Facility, for example, is designed like a "checklist" to assist you in asking questions and making observations during your tour of different assisted living facilities to help you determine which home is right for your client and/or family member.  It is advised one should visit several facilities before making a decision.

The following link gives a more detailed look at the Table of Contents for Elder Law.  Some of the updates found in the 2020/2021 edition include information about the SECURE Act, regulatory responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as, updated Medicare premium and Medicaid eligibility information.

Elder Law is one of eighteen volumes that comprise the series Wisconsin Practice.  Methods of practice, civil discovery, civil rules handbook, elements of an action, and trial handbook for Wisconsin lawyers are just some of the other titles in this series by West.  The two volume set Death in Wisconsin : A Legal Practitioner's Guide to Postmortem Administration may also be of interest to life and estate planning practitioners.

Finally, both the American Bar Association (ABA) and State Bar of Wisconsin have useful information online:

Estate Planning Info and FAQs (ABA)

Wills / Estate Planning: Answering Your Legal Questions (State Bar of Wisconsin)

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on December 8, 2020

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