Friday, January 26, 2007

Online PA "Elder Law" References

Certain county bar associations in Pennsylvania, through their Elder Law committees or practice sections, make available comprehensive & current elder law references to the public. These references are useful, too, for the professional advisor.

Available for view or download is the 2006 Edition of the Delaware County Elder Law Handbook and Resource Guide. The Guide is published by the Delaware County Services for the Aging (COSA) and the Delaware County (PA) Bar Association, through its "Elder Law Committee for Seniors and Their Families".

Although primarily intended for an audience in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, the Guide remains a useful resource for anyone interested in Pennsylvania "Elder Law" topics, or the Commonwealth's application of federal laws and programs affecting the elderly.

The 2006 Edition of the Delaware County Elder Law Handbook & Resource Guide is available for view or download online in PDF format here (120 pages, 681 KB). A one-page 2007 update, indicating Medicaid changes from the prior online edition, is available here (1 page, 39 KB).

Also, the Montgomery County (PA) Bar Association recently published & posted online its sixth (2005-2006) edition of the Montgomery County Elder Law Handbook, found here (PDF format, 88 pages).

The Handbook is described online here:

The Elder Law Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association accepts responsibility for monitoring issues and changes in law that influence our county's seniors and review and update this publication regularly as part of their ongoing contribution to public outreach. * * *

The Elder Law Handbook is an award winning FREE resource guide for seniors embracing virtually all areas of Elder Law. This perfect bound publication is widely distributed to over 5000 residents throughout Montgomery County via county agencies, libraries, senior centers, and locally based community organizations.
The handbook is also available in disk format directly from the Montgomery County Bar Association at its headquarters, 100 West Airy Street, P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268 (Ofc: 610-279-9660; Fax 610-279-4321). Contact Patricia Walker at extension 210, or send an email message to:, with your name & mailing address, for a free printed copy.

For those in the northwestern corner of the Commonwealth, the Erie County Bar Association published, in 2002,
its Elder Law Handbook, as a comprehensive legal guide to issues of importance to senior citizens. The Handbook, described here, was designed, likewise, to assist groups and organizations that serve senior citizens in Erie, Pennsylvania. It provides information about issues often encountered by the elderly, and incorporates contacts for resources available to seniors in that local community.

The Handbook was produced with financial support from the Erie County Bar Association, the Erie County Bar Foundation and the Erie Community Foundation. It appears not to have been updated since its original publication.

The Table of Contents of this Handbook can be viewed here. The Handbook can be downloaded in PDF format here, or in Word format here.

Finally, the Pennsylvania Bar Association offers a publication entitled "A Guide to Legal Issues for Pennsylvania Senior Citizens" (2005 Revision), available free here in PDF format. That Guide was originally based upon the 2000 edition of the Montgomery County Elder Law Handbook. It is revised annually now by the Senior Lawyers Committee of the PBA.

The Foreword of the PBA's Guide indicates its purpose:
This guide is designed to provide information about legal issues faced by Pennsylvania’s older residents and their caregivers. Its authors and publishers intend to help seniors make appropriate choices so they can maximize personal autonomy, minimize costs, navigate through the maze of government benefits, and protect themselves against predators who want to deceive, exploit or defraud.

Senior citizens within Pennsylvania require timely and reliable access to legal information. The Senior Lawyers Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association has determined that it can best serve the needs of the legal community by serving the needs of the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Its concentration on the creation of this statewide Guide for Senior Citizens is complimented by other programs such as a mentoring project, a pro bono project and the sponsorship of continuing legal education (CLE) programs, all designed to aid the legal community by offering the expertise of older, more experienced attorneys to all Pennsylvania practitioners. This in turn helps to bring the best possible representation to the clients of Pennsylvania Lawyers.
The closing words of that Foreword can be applied appropriately to each of these fine publications:
Obviously, no publication can cover all the legal issues relating to a group as diverse as this State’s senior citizens. However, this guide offers basic information, points out various services and ways to access them, and outlines areas which may require specific legal advice or expertise, given each individual’s needs.
The emphasis is mine.

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Update: 04/12/07:

I came across a further elder law guide, published by the Chester County (PA) Bar Association five years ago (2002). Although certain laws & regulations have changed since its publication, this Guide still may provide local information for residents of that county. See: The Chester County Guide for Senior Citizens & Their Families (PDF, 82 pages).

The Guide is not posted (according to my site search) on the CCBA website any longer, but remains available through that link (a private law firm).