An Aging Population and the Law

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by | October 3, 2013

The United Nations released a report on Tuesday warning that most countries are not prepared to handle their swelling elderly populations.  Regardless of whether this conclusion is overstated, the United States is undoubtedly in the midst of tremendous change as baby boomers start to retire and as elderly individuals live longer due to better health and improved medicine and technology. 

This has had substantial societal effects: many older workers aren’t retiring as early; some “retired” workers start small businesses to continue working in their field while gaining greater flexibility; and others are simply living longer than previous generations.  All of these effects can lead to parallel legal consequences: age-discrimination in the workplace; tailored small business legal needs; and an increased imperative to conduct advanced financial planning and estate planning, among others legal needs.

Recognizing these emerging issues, many organizations produce free legal resources to help guide individuals through these and other common legal issues.  The Virginia State Bar recently produced the 2013 edition of the Senior Citizens Handbook; you can download it here or request a copy by calling 804-775-0576.  Similarly, the Alexandria Bar Association and Senior Services of Alexandria are hosting a Senior Law Day event, “Avoid Scams–Don’t be a Victim!,” on October 19.  To find out more information about this event or to register call Senior Services of Alexandria at (703) 836-4414, ext. 10.

While many aging workers or retirees want to live out their years on the beach or traveling the world (and not thinking about the law or lawyers), the changing demographics and the changing legal terrain mean that these legal issues cannot be ignored.  And while these free resources provide fantastic opportunities to learn and gather information, it is always advisable to sit down with a trusted legal advisor to discuss your specific legal needs.  While the world many not be prepared for the aging population, you should be prepared for your golden years.