Elder law attorneys focus in legal affairs that uniquely concern seniors and their adult children, says Explosion’s recent article entitled “The Complete Guide on How to Find an Elder Law Attorney.”
Finding the right elder law attorney can be a big task. However, with the right tips, you can find a qualified and experienced attorney, has the right connections to resources and fits your budget.
While, technically, a general practice attorney will be able to handle Medicaid and even your estate planning, an elder law attorney is deeply entrenched in elder law. This means the attorney will have extensive knowledge and experience to handle any case within the scope of elder law, like the following:
- Asset Protection planning;
- Long-term care planning and insurance;
- Medicaid planning;
- Medicaid applications;
- Estate planning;
- Powers of Attorney;
- Social Security;
- Veterans’ benefits; and
- Other related areas of law.
While a general practice lawyer may be able to help you with one or two of these areas, a competent elder law lawyer knows that there’s no single formula in elder law that applies across the board. That’s why you’ll need a lawyer with a high level of specialization and understanding to handle your specific circumstances. An elder law attorney is best suited for your specific needs.
A referral from someone you trust is a great place to start. When conducting your search, stay away from attorneys who charge for their services by the hour. For example, if you need an elder law lawyer to work on a Medicaid issue, they should be able to give you an estimate of the charges after reviewing your case. That one-time flat fee will cover everything, including any legal costs, phone calls, meetings and court fees.
Nothing says more than qualifications and experience. An experienced elder law lawyer has handled many cases similar to yours and understands how to proceed. Reviewing the lawyer’s credentials at the state bar website is a great place to start to make sure the lawyer in question is licensed. The website also has information on any previous ethical violations. Here are some questions you should consider asking an attorney when interviewing them:
- How many Medicaid applications has he or she submitted to DSS;
- How much training and education has the attorney completed on Medicaid planning and what do they do for continuing education since rules are ever changing;
- How long has the attorney been in this field;
- Is the attorney VA accredited;
- What percentage of his or her practice is devoted to elder law;
- Do they have a long-term care professional on their team; and
- Is that attorney a member of nationally recognized and state recognized elder law organizations.
It is advisable to work with a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Certification in elder law – one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession – will provide a measure of assurance to the public that the attorney has an in-depth working knowledge of the legal issues that impact the elderly. In your search, look for a good fit and a high level of comfort. Elder law is a complex area of law that requires knowledge and experience.
Reference: Explosion (Aug. 19, 2020) “The Complete Guide on How to Find an Elder Law Attorney”