Elder law attorneys help seniors and caregivers

How to Find an Elder Law Attorney You Can Trust

courtesy of DailyCaring.com

Elder law attorneys help seniors and caregivers

Elder law is a specialized legal area that's focused on seniors and their families. Elder law attorneys often concentrate on things like figuring out how to pay for long-term care, drafting Powers of Attorney and other important legal documents, or estate planning.

Having the correct legal documents in place allows you to provide the best care for your senior, both now and toward the end of life. That's why it's so important to find an expert lawyer you can trust.

Find an elder law attorney through a referral

Getting a referral from family or a friend is a great way to find a lawyer. If they have a lawyer they're happy with and would work with again, that's a good sign.

It's best if you can get a referral from someone whose legal needs were similar to yours, but even if you need an elder care lawyer and your cousin worked with an excellent civil attorney, that referral is still useful. Good lawyers know other good lawyers and will probably be able to refer you to a colleague they respect.

Similarly, financial advisors, accountants, and fiduciaries (someone legally appointed to manage money) are professionals who work with elder law attorneys. If you know and trust one of these professionals, ask them for a referral.

5 tips for choosing an elder law attorney

After getting referrals, you'll still need to choose an attorney. Don't make up your mind about hiring a lawyer until you've met them, discussed your needs, and checked their credentials.

1. Meet for an initial consultation (possibly free)

If you summarize your needs in advance, many lawyers will be willing to meet for 15 to 30 minutes at no charge. If there is a fee for a consultation, find out how much it will be. An in-person meeting helps you get a feel for how they work and if their style works for you.

2. Ask about the amount of experience they've had with issues like yours

Look for a lawyer with experience handling matters just like yours. Experience comes with years in practice and with how many of those types of situations they've dealt with. If you need help with a Power of Attorney, long-term care planning, and estate planning, ask about their experience with those things.

3. Customer service

Working with someone who is professional and responsive is always important. Some questions to ask yourself after meeting a potential lawyer are:

  • Are they polite and professional?
  • Do they return your calls in a timely manner?
  • Do they take time to explain things to make sure you understand what you're getting into?
  • Do they follow through with what they said they'll do?
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4. Take notes

To make sure you remember what each lawyer said, take notes at each meeting. Later, you can review your notes to help you make the final decision.

5. Check their credentials

Check the State Bar Association website for your state. Look up the attorney's name or Bar number to make sure they're actively licensed to practice law in your state. This will also show if they've ever been publicly disciplined.

Reviewed January 2018

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