New to the community, attorney Benjamin Wright is looking to help families with his new practice, Wright Law, focused on elder law.

Wright recently moved to River Falls with his wife and 18-month-old child. The move brought them closer to family, and gave Wright an opportunity to open his new practice.

"People have been really nice and welcoming here," Wright said.

After graduating law school, Wright worked in the criminal justice and child protection systems. There he worked with people who were dealing with the system and its rules for the first time.

"They were thrown in the deep end and they needed somebody who could help them out," Wright said.

Wright enjoyed helping people find their way through the system, serving as an advocate for them and providing reassurance.

Elder law is similar, Wright said. He is able to help people navigate a complicated issue.

"I get to sit down with people and explain the law to them," Wright said.

As an elder law attorney, much of Wright's practice focuses on Medicaid, officially known as medical assistance in Wisconsin. He helps families when it comes time to apply for medical assistance, as well as helping them plan ahead for it.

"In this area especially planning ahead makes a huge difference," Wright said.

While Wright said Wisconsin has a great program, he said applicants often have to deal with bureaucracy and rules about eligibility.

He can often be working with families in crisis, whether it's the individual themselves or their children, to get them the help they need.

"Get the application in as quickly as possible and with as few problems as possible," Wright said.

Wright said he works to help people assess their situation, to see what kind of support if any they'll need.

"The biggest thing is helping people understand what the rules are," Wright said.

His services overall include estate planning, helping find long-term care facilities, completing medical assistance applications, and appealing denials as necessary.

One service Wright offers, that he says he hasn't seen often, is reviewing admissions contracts when a person is entering a long-term care facility. Wright said these contracts can often be stacks of papers that governs what can be thousands of dollars.

"It's important for people to understand these contracts and what they say," he said.

Wright said he wants to make sure people know they don't need to be intimidated by getting help from an attorney.

"Most attorneys are happy to sit down and talk to people," Wright said.

Wright hopes to be a resource throughout the community for legal issues like these. He plans to hold seminars and community education classes to teach about medical assistance and long-term planning.

"Any way I can to just get out there and share my knowledge," Wright said.