The area of law that focuses on senior citizens and their family members is called elder law.
Planning of an estate, devising payment methods for long term care, handling Medicaid spending, and dealing with Powers of Attorney are all things that an elder law attorney would handle on your behalf.
Seniors can have the best care possible when all of the legal documents surrounding them are in order.
For these reasons, it’s necessary to have a trusted legal professional on your side. But, how do you go about finding the right attorney for your specific needs and situation? Read below for 5 essential tips that will assist your search in finding a qualified attorney you will enjoy working with.
Without further ado, here are a few options for finding an elder law attorney:
1. Ask Friends and Co-Workers
Friends and family members are the perfect places to start when looking for a lawyer of almost any kind.
Also, search for an assisted living facility nearby and they’ll be able to advise you. You’re already on the right track if you can find someone who has a lawyer that they would be willing to contact again if they needed them. Someone with similar legal needs to your own would be the best person to get a referral from, but referrals for legal experts in other areas of focus can still be helpful. A good lawyer will be more than happy to help you contact a colleague of theirs who knows a lot about elder law.
Accountants, fiduciaries, and even financial advisors usually work with attorneys who specialize in elder law, so if there’s one that you think is good, don’t hesitate to ask them for referrals.
2. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys can be examined
This organization, which is known as the NAELA, is specifically special needs planning and elder law attorneys. They have a locator on their website which you can use to search for elder law attorneys that are the closest to you.
5 Tips for Finding an Elder Law Attorney
Even if you’ve found a referral for an attorney to potentially work with, you still have to measure your choices. Most people like to wait until they’ve actually met the attorney they’re about to hire in person before paying for their services. Learn about their credentials and discuss what you need for them to do to see if it’s the right fit.
1. Start with a consultation
By meeting the attorney in person, you can properly evaluate their work style and see if it’s what you want. Having a summary of what you wish to accomplish will make it possible to keep the meeting for no more than 30 minutes and possibly result in a consultation with no fee. If the attorney does charge a fee, ask how much it is before the meeting.
Giving the same information to multiple lawyers can help you compare their responses. You’ll be able to think of questions for them and you’ll have an idea of whether or not anything they’re telling you is accurate.
2. See how well the attorney has handled an issue like yours in the past
An attorney with experience in cases similar to yours is ideal. Since they’ve dealt with this issue or something like it in the past, they may already know the best way to handle it after just the first consultation with you. Simply by asking about their experience with estate planning, Power of Attorney, or more helps create a more clear understanding.
3. Perform a customer service evaluation
An attorney should always be responsive to your requests and behave in a professional manner.
When you meet with the attorney, you’ll have a clearer understanding of who they are and how they work.
4. Take Notes During Your Discovery Session
Write down notes while your meeting with the attorney is taking place, and review your notes afterward. This will help you remember everything they’ve gone over with you, and will be helpful to use when making the decision about who you feel is the right person to work with.
5. Research the attorneys credentials
Each state has a Bar Association website that can be checked. From there, you can make sure that the attorney still has a state license to practice law. Using the website, you can also see any disciplinary measure that has been taken against the attorney.