What Should I Look for in an Elder Law Attorney?
As we age, we face a new set of complications: What will happen if I can no longer take care of myself? Where will I live? Who will take care of me?
For help with these and other issues of aging, it may be necessary to consult an Elder Law Attorney.
Elder Law is a wide-ranging area of law, focused on the solution of legal issues confronting senior citizens, and their families. When selecting an Elder Law Attorney, it is important to keep the following four factors in mind.
- Is My Attorney Knowledgeable?
The ideal Elder Law Attorney is one who focuses his or her sole practice on Elder Law issues. Elder Law covers a broad range of legal issues confronting an age group, rather than any one area of law.
Choose an Elder Law Attorney based on your needs and his or her knowledge, experience, and areas of expertise. Often, an Elder Law Attorney may be able to help you with multiple issues, so selecting one with a wide, yet deep, breadth of knowledge is important.
It is also important to make sure that the Elder Law Attorney you work with is experienced in the legal issues you are facing. Your prospective Elder Law Attorney should have years of experience with cases similar to yours. He or she may also be able to tell you about possible outcomes. Furthermore, an Elder Law Attorney will be familiar with the legal procedures and tools to specifically solve legal issues of older clients.
Some focus areas of Elder Law Attorneys may include:
- Abuse of Elderly
- Asset Protection
- Estate Planning
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Mental Health
- Power of Attorney
- Social Security
- Trusts and Wills
- Is My Attorney Well-Connected?
Elder Law Attorneys are tied to a network of other professionals, including social workers, psychologists, caregivers, guardians, and other elder law professionals who may be able to assist you.
In addition, it is important to select an Elder Law Attorney who maintains an active presence in the local Elder Law community. As a member of an organization, such as the Florida State Guardianship Association, your attorney stays connected and informed about relevant issues.
You may also want to select an attorney who is a frequent lecturer or educator in the community. Not only does this show a commitment to the profession, but it also shows that this attorney’s passion lies with helping the greater community. Finally, attorneys who instruct others have gained a deep understanding of legal issues and the nuances of Elder Law.
- Is My Attorney Compassionate?
As we age and face a unique set of legal circumstances, it is important to consult an expert who will be empathic. Elder Law issues are often complex and emotionally difficult for seniors and their families. The ideal attorney will be respectful, compassionate, and understanding of any problems you and your loved ones may face. In addition, your Elder Law Attorney should be professional, patient, and able to provide you with emotional understanding during trying times.
- Can I Trust My Attorney?
Certainly, one of the most important factors when selecting an attorney is that of trust. When you choose a prospective Elder Law Attorney, you want the assurance that you can trust him or her to make the best decisions for you and your family. Research your prospective attorneys to learn about qualifications, level of experience, and perception in the community. Websites such as Martindale-Hubbell are repositories of information and can provide you with a wealth of background details, as well as access to verified peer reviews.
However, the most important component of trusting an attorney is your gut feeling. Always follow your instinct. A trustworthy Elder Law Attorney will always have you and your family’s best interests at heart, charge reasonable fees, and be fully committed to resolving your legal issues.
Want to learn more about Elder Law? Check out What is Elder Law? for more information.
If you have any questions regarding Elder Law, please call O’Brien & Bennett at 941-316-9200 to speak to us today.