You want to make sure that you will be safe in a nursing home or similar facility, and you need to guarantee that your affairs are in order, too. Whom should you work with? The right answer is an elder law attorney.
Elder law attorneys are considered specialists in this area of law, and they focus on the needs of older adults. They can handle financial and estate-planning issues, and they also have the ability to help plan for assisted living or long-term care.
If I go to see an elder law attorney, what should we talk about?
There are several important things to discuss including:
- The importance of estate planning and wills
- Guardianship and appointing a legal guardian
- Nursing home patient rights and what to do if you need to file a claim
- Drafting a living will or advanced directive
- Creating a durable power of attorney
- Making financial plans including financial power of attorney
There may be other topics that you want to bring up to your attorney as well, so it's a smart idea to write down every question or idea you have and bring them with you when you go to your initial consultation.
How do you choose an elder law attorney?
Like with any kind of attorney, you'll want to ask some basic questions to decide if they're the right choice for you. Some questions to ask include:
- What should I bring to the first consultation?
- How do you charge for your services (hourly, per service, etc.)?
- How much of your time do you spend dealing with elder law?
- How long have you been practicing elder law?
- Is there a specific area of elder law that you focus on?
These may seem like obvious questions, but it's important that you ask them. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with the attorney you choose and that you have information about their skills. If their area of focus is not the same as what you need, then it's better to move on to a different attorney.
Working with an elder law attorney can make your financial planning and estate planning much easier, so long as you put in the time to find the right attorney for your situation. Once you do, you'll develop a relationship that may last for many years, so it's a good idea to choose your attorney early on and to start making plans.