Legal issues touch the lives of older adults now more than ever. Unfortunately, for many, understanding their legal rights and being able to afford legal representation presents a challenge. Congress recognized the need for older adults to have access to legal assistance and included it in the programming available through the Older Americans Act.
In order to meet the mandate for legal assistance, the MARC Department of Aging Services contracts with Legal Aid of Western Missouri. Through this partnership, older adults can receive legal assistance in the following areas:
To contact Legal Aid of Western Missouri, call 816/474-6750.
Domestic Violence/Elder Abuse/Family Law (including the issue of guardianship).
Obtaining/maintaining/establishing eligibility for public benefits.
Consumer protections, including assistance with financial exploitation, bankruptcy, fraud protection, etc.
In the event you have a legal issue that falls outside of these priorities, there are other options for legal assistance. These include:
Contacting an elder law attorney. Elder law attorneys specialize in the following areas: estate planning, wills, probate, trusts, management and administration of estates; long-term care, nursing home or assisted-living issues; claims and appeals for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, disability, pension and insurance; end-of-life planning, including durable powers of attorney, living wills, advanced directives, conservatorships and guardianships; and elder rights, including age discrimination, elder abuse and fraud.
If you decide to contact an elder law attorney, keep in mind that most do not specialize in all areas of elder law, so you'll need to choose someone who has the expertise that matches your needs. A list of elder law attorneys can be found by clicking here.
Pro bono programs. These programs help low-income people find volunteer lawyers who are willing to handle their cases for free. Legal Aid of Western Missouri sponsors a volunteer attorney program or you can look for a pro bono program at lawhelp.org.
AARP Legal Services Network. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides their members with a free legal consultation (up to 45 minutes) with an attorney in their area, along with discounts on other legal services they may need. To locate a lawyer in the AARP network near you, visit aarplsn.com or call 866-330-0753.
The MARC Department of Aging Services makes legal assistance available to those age 60 years and older that have a legal issue that falls within our funding priorities.
Legal services for grandparents aged 55 years who are dealing with guardianship issues for a grandchild may also be available.
There is no predetermined fee scale for legal assistance provided through the MARC Department of Aging Services with Legal Aid of Western Missouri. Voluntary contributions are accepted to help defray the cost of services received.