Important Estate Planning Tool: The Virginia State Bar’s Senior Citizens Handbook

If you or a loved one is approaching “senior citizen” status, you should take a moment and download the Senior Citizens Handbook, a publication of the Virginia State Bar. You may be thinking, “why does this guy want me to have free legal advice?” Well, it’s because I want visitors to this site to be as fully informed as possible.I know what it’s like to take care of an elderly loved one. That’s why I highly recommend this handbook – it can help answer important, common questions when it comes to preparing for retirement and entering “senior” status.

The handbook is a resource for seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers which provides an overview of important topics and issues directly affecting seniors. The handbook also includes practical advice on issues such as Medicaid, Alzheimer’s Disease, landlord-tenant relations, and so forth.

The Thirteenth Edition of the handbook was released in January 2013, so it includes up-to-date information on important state and federal laws affecting senior citizens throughout the Commonwealth.

For example, if you think you’re going to get full Social Security benefits when you turn 65 years old, you may have to wait a while longer. The handbook explains that “full” Social Security benefits are accessible at age 65 only if you were born in 1937 or earlier. Below is a breakdown of when you can receive “full” benefits:

Year of birth Full retirement age
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943–1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 and later 67

Another important issue for all seniors is Medicare. The handbook goes into detail explaining the different programs offered by Medicare, which can be extremely confusing. In addition, there are many state and federal programs that Seniors may qualify for, and not even know they exist or think they cannot qualify. I would encourage everyone to look through this guide and speak with an experienced attorney regarding any questions they may have, and to discuss qualification options.

Additionally, the guide provides a lot of resources on finding the appropriate help for seniors and their families. Whether it is simple in home care services a few times a week, or a full assisted living facility, the decision is tough for all parties involved and caution should be taken.

For more information, download a copy of the handbook here: