When and How to Hire an Elder Care LawyerWhen and How to Hire an Elder Care Lawyer

You may be familiar with lawyers specializing in various areas of the law, like corporate, family, and environmental issues. But did you know there’s an entire field of attorneys who have specialized knowledge and expertise in issues that impact seniors?

Seniors face an often-complicated world of special laws, guidelines, rules and procedures that can be confusing and daunting. Add to that possible physical and mental challenges that may appear later in life, or emotionally charged situations involving family, you may find yourself in great need of professional guidance.

That’s the perfect time to turn to an elder care lawyer. While elder care law is not a formal field of law, some attorneys offer special knowledge and experience in issues that can be helpful to seniors of those caring for them. Elder care lawyers can be a huge help when making decisions involving:

  • Documentation of a living will, power of attorney, last will and testament, etc.
  • Social security, Medicaid, and Medicare claims and benefits
  • Age discrimination in the workplace, retirement benefit, pensions
  • Rights for nursing care residents
  • Elder abuse or fraud recovery

As with any service provider, it’s important to research the potential attorney carefully.  Take time to review his or her past work track record, and note the number and types of cases that relate to your situation. Take advantage of any free initial free consultations to ensure the attorney’s experience lines up with your specific needs or questions. Not every attorney is right for every client, so interview and consider the range of services offered, including special knowledge of veteran services or specific health issues. Another added benefit of hiring an elder lawyer is his or her knowledge of your specific state’s laws relating to senior issues, which can vary from state to state.

One of the best places to start your search for an elder care lawyer is the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA). This organization offers a directory of members who have all committed to uphold a set of “Aspirational Standards” aimed at ensuring the highest level of service is delivered to seniors and their loved ones. You can also get referrals for elder care lawyers from local associations (like the Alzheimer’s Association, AARP, etc.) or local trusted attorneys or bar associations.

NAELA also provides a list of questions to ask your elder care attorney once you have selected him or her, and encourages clients to be organized and prepared to explain the situation. Bring any related materials to the initial consultation and ask questions like: 

  • What will it take to resolve this situation?
  • Are there any alternate courses of action? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • How many attorneys are in the office?
  • Who will handle my case?
  • Has that attorney handled matters of this kind in the past?
  • If a trial may be involved, does the attorney do trial work? If not, who does the trial work? If so, how many trials has he or she handled?
  • Is that attorney a member of the local bar association, a health advocacy committee, or trust and estates committee?
  • How are fees computed?
  • What is the estimate of the cost to resolve your problem and how long will it take?

For a printable checklist you bring with you to your consultation, please click here.

Taking the time to research and hire an attorney specializing in elder issues can save you resources and headaches in the long run, as you leverage the knowledge and experience specific to senior agencies, rules, and challenges. Making the most of trusted resources can help you find solutions and success in situations that can be particularly difficult to navigate, and hiring an elder care attorney is often worth the energy and effort.

Megan Hammons lives in the Central Texas countryside just outside of Austin, pursuing her love for copywriting after a career in high-tech marketing. She is part of a large, diverse family and enjoys spending time with the multiple generations living in her community.

10 Comments

  1. ellensur cooper April 13, 2017 Reply

    It ‘s really great to know.Thank you for sharing.

  2. Marcus Coons February 26, 2018 Reply

    Thanks a lot for talking about how you should ask a potential attorney is they have handled cases like yours before. It is always a good idea to find out how experienced they are to make sure you will get the legal help you need. My son was in a car accident a few days ago and ended up with a couple of broken bones, so we want to make sure he gets the compensation he needs.

  3. Todd Stauffer May 16, 2018 Reply

    I like how you said that you should look for an attorney that has handled your situation in the past. Hiring a nursing home abuse attorney, for example, would be a way of doing this. That way you know that they know their way around the case and what to look for in order to help you get what you deserve.

  4. Katie Wilson July 23, 2018 Reply

    My mom needs help with a Medicare case and wants to hire a lawyer. When she starts looking for someone, she’ll have to consider if they have handled similar matters in the mast. You also want to make sure to find someone who is qualified and personable.

  5. Easton Memmott August 21, 2018 Reply

    I really liked that you mentioned that before you hire an attorney, you should check their past work record and their past reviews. I am needing to find an attorney for my grandfather. I will be sure to check the attorney’s past experience before we decide to hire them.

  6. Millie Hue September 16, 2018 Reply

    I like that you mentioned that we can get referrals from local associations to find a reliable lawyer. I will share this information with my best friend since they need to have their grandmother’s justice. It appears that she was not allowed in the priority lane last time when she was buying a medication for her illness.

  7. Michelle Ludwig October 7, 2018 Reply

    I have questions concerning an assisted living facility I moved into in Indiana on September 21, they haven’t been truthful and there’s things happening here they want nobody to find out about.

  8. Ridley Fitzgerald January 2, 2019 Reply

    You’ve got great tips for hiring an elder law attorney. I like how you said that they can help with estate planning! My mom and dad are finally trying to figure out their estate and whatnot, so I’ll be sure to suggest that they hire a lawyer to help them.

  9. Greta Delgado October 7, 2019 Reply

    Hi I need a lawyer to either step or help me get guardian ship of my momMy brother has moved his self in her apartment mom recently got terminated from services because he hired somebody to supposedly work but the guy never did and they were just giving the money. He constantly brings girls in the apt.Mom is Mentally retarded and he is just moved his self in her apartment he eats all her food and is very mean to my mother. He’s done this all his life.

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