Does an Elder Law Attorney Need to Be Hired by You or a Relative?

Jan 24, 2024 By Susan Kelly

Elder law concerns can be challenging to understand and navigate. If you become disabled or experience other challenges in your later years, a single misstep might spell tragedy for you and your loved ones.

Having an elder law attorney on your side can help you think about what would happen to your personal and commercial affairs if you were unable to do so independently.

Not Just Dying

Elder law is distinct from estate law, even though they deal with many same concerns. While you're still living, elder law focuses on protecting your assets and taking care of your loved ones.

You may avoid costly probate proceedings and hefty estate taxes by planning and leaving a small, manageable inheritance for your loved ones to inherit. A wide range of alternatives is available to adjust as inexpensively and efficiently as possible to prepare for all scenarios.

Medicaid Problems

If you ever need long-term care, Medicaid has a tight set of qualifying requirements. You can't just throw up your entire life savings to get the treatment you might need for benefits. A five-year "look back" term and "spend down" laws force assets or money back into your control if transferred to someone else. A long-term care attorney knows these requirements and can help you plan ahead of time if the unthinkable happens, and you need them.

State Elder Law Rules

Laws vary widely from state to state as to what can and cannot be mentioned in a will or other estate planning documents. It is necessary to know who can and cannot act as witnesses when signing a will, a trust, or a power of attorney for health care or finances.

How Much Do Lawyers Charge?

"Caveat emptor" is an old Latin phrase meaning "buyer beware," It applies to more aging law concerns than it does to everything else. Filling out the Medicaid application yourself or utilizing online forms may seem like a cost-saving measure.

Still, your family may be shocked to hear that you do not meet the eligibility requirements. Making a will or trust on your own or using generic, one-size-fits-all software may leave you with a document that isn't legally legitimate or doesn't perform as expected.

How to Identify an Elder Law Attorney

Elder law attorneys are the only members of the Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Since 1987, this non-profit organization has provided services to more senior citizens in need. In the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as in Australia, there are many members. You may use their website to identify someone in your neighborhood who can aid you in your hunt for a job.

A Guide to Finding an Experienced Elder Law Attorney

Many legal decisions must be taken as one age, such as asset protection, financial power of attorney, advanced medical directives, guardianships, etc. It might be challenging to choose the correct lawyer, but you want to make sure that your senior's demands and needs are satisfied. Douglas Lauenstein, an elder law attorney in Maryland, explains how to get the best counsel for your needs.

Consult with Referrals and Verify

Get referrals you know and trust, including members of your immediate and extended families and coworkers and anyone you can find who has worked with or knows of an attorney you should consult. Referrals may be relied upon since you see the person you are working with is well-versed in their field.

Reading customer reviews is also a valuable source of information. Testimonials might help you decide whether or not to take the next step. An attorney's suitability for your case might determine how thoroughly you verify their qualifications.

You want to ensure that the legal services provider you're working with is authorized. This individual will have access to information about you that is private and confidential. Contact the Maryland State Bar Association to verify their qualifications.

Get together for a consultation.

You'll get a better sense of how the attorney handles cases and acquaint yourself with their work if you meet with them in person. The best way to find a good lawyer is to meet with various of them. As you put forth your argument, you'll be able to gauge how different attorneys respond to it. In this way, you can ensure that the lawyer you select has the knowledge and skills you seek and will satisfy all of your expectations.

Look for a Reputable Attorney

If you're looking for legal guidance, you'll want to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in the subject matter. Someone who specializes in employment and labor law should not be hired.

It's unlikely that they'll be conversant with issues relating to elder law, including estate planning, long-term care, disability planning, asset protection, and durable financial power of attorney. A good rule of thumb is always to bring up the subject of similar instances when speaking with potential legal counsel.

Observe and Assess their Customer Service

As a result, hiring an elder law attorney may be emotionally and physically taxing. Elder law attorneys should be professional, responsive, sensitive, and pleasant when dealing with you. They must be able to express themselves clearly and quickly. To ensure that you understand everything, they should take the time to do so.

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