What To Consider
What is “Elder Law”?
Elder Law is the legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and their representatives about the legal portion of health and long-term care planning, government programs, surrogate decision-making, and estate management.
When considering an elder law attorney find out which area of practice they specialize.
Why an Elder Law Attorney?
Attorneys who principally work with the elderly bring more to their practice than a knowledge of the appropriate area of law. They bring to their practice an understanding of the elderly that allows them to overlook the myths relating to aging while taking into account some of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process and allowing them to easily determine the disparity between the physical and the mental disability of a client. They are more aware of real life issues that arise as persons age.
All of these things will hopefully make you more comfortable when dealing with them and ease your way as you try to resolve your legal problem.
Your first question may be: How do I find an elder law attorney?
It is not unusual to speak only to a member of the staff during an initial call or before actually meeting with the attorney.
If so, ask this person your questions.
Before making the effort, step back a moment and try to determine whether you actually have a legal problem in which an attorney needs to be involved. If you’re not sure, ask your clergy, your social worker, your financial advisor, or a trusted friend to help you decide whether this is a legal issue rather than a medical or a social services issue. Legal expertise is expensive and it serves you well to know that you actually need legal assistance before seeking an attorney.
Basic Questions to Ask Before Considering An Elder Law Attorney
The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular attorney has those qualifications important to you for a successful attorney/client relationship.
- How long has the attorney been in practice?
- Does his/her practice emphasize a particular area of law?
- How long has he/she been in this field?
- What percentage of his/her practice is devoted to elder law?
- Is there a fee for the first consultation and if so, how much is it?
- What information should you bring with you to the initial consultation?
If you take the time to make sure that you are happy right at the beginning you can make this a productive experience for both you and the attorney. You will thank yourself, and your attorney will thank you.