What does an elder law attorney focus on? Areas such as long-term care, power of attorney or estate planning for aging adults are basic focus areas for elder law attorneys. As an example, they may be of assistance with public benefits (i.e., insurance, SSDI and SSI, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.), living wills, legal incapacity, guardianship, trusts, wills, and more.
An elder law attorney’s services can also be critical in providing information as to how the just-stated matters impact taxes. How do you find this type of professional? References can come from fiduciaries, accountants, financial advisors, friends, relatives, or coworkers.
Finding an Elder Law Attorney
Before you make a choice where an elder law attorney is concerned, you should check their credentials, discuss your needs, and meet them in person. Many attorneys offer the first consultation free of charge.
Areas of Expertise of an Elder Law Attorney
Experience in the following should be among your prospective attorney’s attributes:
- Retirement (pensions, survivor benefits, private/public retirement benefits, etc.)
- Management/administration of estates and trusts
- Living wills/living trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Disability planning
- Health insurance issues
- Social Security and disability appeals and claims
- Placement in long-term care/assisted living communities
- Estate planning
- Medicare appeals and claims
- Transfer or preservation of assets
Questions to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney
When you meet with a prospective attorney, ask yourself if you think this is someone with whom you can have a good working relationship. Are they professional, competent, reliable, and friendly? When you meet this person, here are a few questions you may want to ask:
- For this first consultation, is there a fee? If there is, how much are the charges?
- Where elder law is concerned, specifically, how much or what percentage of your practice is devoted to it?
- How long have you practiced law in general? How long have you been specializing in elder law?
Credentials for an Elder Law Attorney
A website is maintained by most State Bar Associations. With your potential lawyer’s bar number or name, you should be able to check whether they are licensed. Here, you can also find out if they’ve ever been disciplined. You can also check with specialized consortiums to see if this attorney has ever been part of an association: i.e., National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc., Elder Counsel, etc.
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