This is just a short post today with a link to a fine article by Gregg Newby from my OptimumHealth about hiring an elder law attorney. To summarize, the article gives a variety of reasons why you would want to hire someone who specializes in elder law, including:
- Helping clients plan for disability and end-of-life issues
- Drafting wills, powers of attorney and other documents
- Estate planning, including probate and trust management
- Filing pension and insurance claims
- Handling problems with Medicare or Medicaid
- Appealing Social Security denials
- Investigating nursing home abuse
- Protecting clients against Medicare or Medicaid fraud
- Setting up guardianship for incompetent adults
- Filing age-discrimination suits
- Transferring assets to other family members
- Setting up long-term care arrangements
The author is definitely right that an elder law attorney is not always needed. Many lawyers can handle these types of issues for you and your loved ones but there should be some comfort in hiring someone who you know focuses on this area of the law. Elder attorneys will focus on the particular issues that impact seniors and those who will be seniors one day (i.e., all of us) and take special care to steward you through the complex process of planning for your retirement, care and comfort in the years to come.
When you look for an elder care attorney, or an attorney to handle the estate planning needs of you or a loved one, it is important to ask if they have knowledge and skill in the above areas. One thing we all know is that finding an attorney that you trust can be difficult work, but once you do, the last thing you want to have happen is that there is some practice area of need that your attorney cannot fulfill and then you end up having to go and find another one. My advice is always to use your consultation with your attorney to describe what you currently need and then work with your attorney to talk oer what you can anticipate needing in the years to come.