Older Adults and People with Disabilities
Estate & Elder Law Services
Complete estate planning law services for Minnesotans, on a sliding scale basis
Estate & Elder Law Services (E&ELS) has been a proud provider of legal services to the people of Minnesota for more than 40 years. Our three full-time attorneys serve clientele ranging from individuals with low or small fixed income to those with large estates. As part of Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin, we are able to offer a sliding fee scale for those with financial need. We offer assistance with estate planning, incapacity planning, long-term care planning, and probate.
What can we help with?
Our attorneys help clients accomplish their goals and plan for the future with uncommon sensitivity. We assist with:
Together, our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience in Elder Law practice. We are compassionate and committed to helping our clients make important life decisions.
As a non-profit agency, fees for our legal services are very reasonable and are typically billed at our hourly rate. Basic wills and trusts are available at flat-fee rates.
Our Mission and History
Our mission is to serve the community by providing estate planning legal services at reasonable prices. Our firm began in the 1970s with a part-time staff as part of Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s senior services program. As demand increased and grant money dwindled, fees from private-pay clients helped subsidize our work with low-income seniors. By continuing to keep administrative costs low, we were able to continue to serve both low-income and private-pay clients within the senior community.
In 1998, the firm transitioned to VOA Minnesota and Wisconsin. This partnership allowed our law office to branch out to the greater community and serve people of all ages seeking estate planning and probate services. Many private-pay clients have come through our doors knowing that their legal fees were helping to assist those in financial need in the community. Our mission of assisting all people, regardless of income, with their estate planning, probate and guardianship needs remains strongly in place today.
A will is a legal document that allows you to state how you would like your assets to be distributed at the time of your death. Assets distributed by your will go through the probate process after your death.
A trust is a legal entity you can create to transfer assets to a trustee either during your lifetime or after your death. Assets you transfer to the trust do not go through the probate process.
Estate planning involves considering your options and deciding on the best way to plan for transferring your assets to others after your death and planning for possible incapacity during your lifetime.
Probate is a legal process by which the court oversees the distribution of your estate after your death.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to authorize someone else to handle your financial affairs. The document can continue to be effective if you become incapacitated. It does not continue to be effective after your death.
A health care directive is a legal document that allows you to state your views and wishes regarding your health care. It also allows you to name a person to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to communicate your wishes.Everyone over the age of eighteen should have a health care directive.
A guardianship proceeding is a legal process by which the court appoints a person to make decisions about an incapacitated person’s residence and personal care.
A conservatorship proceeding is a legal process by which the court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person’s financial affairs.
A special needs trust is a particular type of trust that can be set up to benefit a person with disabilities while preserving the person’s eligibility for government programs.
Medical Assistance is Minnesota’s Medicaid program, a publicly funded health care program that pays all or part of a qualifying person’s medical expenses. Medical Assistance planning advice addresses eligibility, asset preservation and gifting.
Real estate matters may involve clearing a title, removing a deceased person’s name from a title, or transferring title via a quit claim deed, warranty deed, contract for deed, life estate deed, or transfer on death deed.
Information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice. E-mail communication or other information submitted via this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
In the News: Is Medicaid estate recovery deepening inequities in Minnesota?
John Kantke comments for the USC Annenberg's Center for Health Journalism on the effects of the Medicaid Estate Recovery program in relation to inequities in Minnesota.
In the News: Many Minnesotans prepare wills amid coronavirus pandemic
KTSP interviewed Lucas Spaeth about the uptick of adults seeking estate planning service amid the COVID-19 pandemic and advises people put things in writing.
In the News: Romanian Orphan Adopted In Minnesota Gets Super Bowl Tickets
Through a partnership with Estate & Elder Law Services, students from the University of Saint Thomas's Law Clinic helped Michael Latawiec overturn an unnecessary guardianship.
Ann met with one of our attorneys the week before she underwent major surgery. She wanted to ensure that her four-year-old daughter would be well cared for if Ann did not survive the surgery. Ann’s attorney helped her prepare a will naming a guardian to care for her daughter in the event she dies before her daughter reaches age 18. Her attorney also helped Ann prepare a power of attorney naming another person to care for her daughter while she recovered from surgery. Ann underwent surgery confident her daughter would be cared for according to her wishes.
Bob’s wife moved into a nursing home to receive long-term care. Concerned about how he would pay for her care, Bob obtained information about taking out a mortgage on his home to pay the nursing home bills. Fortunately, before he took out a mortgage, he met with one of our attorneys to discuss Medical Assistance planning. Bob learned that as long as he continued to live in his home, it was an exempt asset. His wife qualified to have Medical Assistance pay for her nursing home care. Bob continued to live in his home without worrying about the cost of his wife’s care.
Connie’s son who has a disability lived with her in her home. When Connie became ill, she worried about where her son would live after her death. One of our attorneys helped her prepare a health care directive to name a person who would make medical decisions for her in the event she was unable to communicate her wishes. Her attorney also helped her prepare a will to ensure her son can continue to live in her home until he dies. Knowing her son will be able to live in the home, Connie was able to focus her energy on battling her illness.