Elder care attorneys are in growing demand as the next generation approaches older age and must settle their affairs. It’s vital to find an attorney who is familiar with the laws that affect the elderly. Elder law encompasses several different fields of law, like estate planning, nursing home issues, elder abuse, or retirement, so it’s hard for one attorney to specialize in everything that has to do with it. You need to make sure you’re selecting someone who can help you with your specific needs, so here are some other things to help you select an Elder Law attorney.
Check NAELA, NELF, or AARP
The National Academy for Elder Law Attorneys is an organization for attorneys who specialize in Elder Law, and gives them a community to learn from and inspire other attorneys. There are 28 chapters of the NAELA, and New Jersey has a chapter. This organization is a good way to find the right attorney for your needs, since the site has a page dedicated to helping you find a lawyer. If you find a lawyer through the NAELA, you’ll be sure you’re getting the services you need, and check to make sure they’re certified in Elder Law.
The National Elder Law Foundation is the only national organization that certifies attorneys who want to practice elder care. You can also search their website by region, to help you find out about and elder law attorney near you and their specialties. AARP may also have special benefits for older citizens, including sources for elder law. You may be entitled to free and reduced legal services with your membership.
Word of Mouth
The same way reviews help us decide where to go to dinner, your friends or people who have used their services. A recommendation can go a long way so you can find someone who understands Elder Law and can give you the services you need. It’s better to have an opinion from someone who has used their services, and you can ask them the following questions:
• Was there a consultation fee?
• What is his/her area of expertise?
• What did you use the attorney for?
• Do they have their own or work in a local practice?
• How often do you pay the attorney?
• Were you satisfied with their performance?
Your Own Research
A google search goes a long way in finding an attorney who practices Elder Law in your area. Googling by region can point you in the direction of law practice websites with detailed services. New Jersey has a lot of different options for handling any specialty needs for elder people, like Giro Elder Law or McHugh & Marci. There are also sites that let you look at attorneys by region, like Justia Lawyers or FindLaw
Once you’ve found an attorney who can help you with your legal matters, it’s important to explain your situation completely so they understand how they can help you. Your attorney will be able to give you a better time frame, price, or list of services if you explain your problem fully. It’s also vital to ask questions about their services or your situation, so you’re sure you know you’re getting what you want. Here are some to ask:
About your case:
• What will it take to resolve the issue?
• How will fees be calculated? Is there an hourly fee or a flat rate?
• What additional out-of-pocket-fees were there?
• Is there an alternative course of action?
• What are the pros and cons of each possible outcome?
About the attorney:
• How much experience do you have?
• Are you certified in Elder Law?
• How long have you been in practice?
• What is your area of expertise?
• How long have you been in the field?
A lot of different legal fields go into Elder Law, like insurance, estate planning, and retirement. It’s important to understand there are attorneys who specialize in these areas so they can assist you. You need to make sure you’re asking the right questions and the attorney you’re looking to hire is certified in Elder Law, or a part of various Elder Law organizations. Dealing with the legal side of getting older doesn’t need to be a hassle, so find someone who can help you with your individual needs.