If the term “elder law attorney” makes you think of a lawyer dressed in vintage attire, practicing law from an old wooden desk in a dimly lit office, you are not alone. However, the reality is much more contemporary and crucial than that imagery.
As you and your loved ones age, specific legal issues become more relevant. Thus, it makes the expertise of an elder law attorney invaluable. Now, let’s go ahead and walk through the essentials of what you should know before bringing an elder law attorney on board.
Who Is an Elder Law Attorney?
No, they are not just attorneys who are older! An elder law attorney specializes in the legal needs of seniors. From wills and trusts to healthcare planning and guardianships, these attorneys help navigate complex issues, often intertwined with emotional decisions.
Interestingly, the term “elder law” only became popular in the 1980s, when the needs of the older population began to be recognized as a distinct category.
Why You Can’t Just Hire ‘Any’ Attorney
Elder law attorneys have specific expertise. The elderly face unique challenges: Diminishing physical and sometimes mental health, vulnerability to exploitation, and a tangled web of government benefits. A general attorney might miss nuances that an elder law specialist would catch in a heartbeat.
What Can Elder Law Attorneys Help You With?
The scope is broader than you might think. Some lesser-known areas they handle include:
- Age Discrimination: Think age is just a number? The workplace does not always agree. Elder law attorneys can assist if you or a loved one faces discrimination due to age.
- Veterans’ Benefits: Many seniors are unaware of the benefits they are entitled to as veterans. These lawyers ensure you get what you rightfully deserve.
How to Choose the Right Elder Law Attorney?
This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. To ensure you get the best representation:
Experience Matters: Ask about their years in elder law specifically. Remember, Jack of all trades, master of none.
- Reviews & References: Seek recommendations from friends or read online reviews. A proven track record can tell you a lot.
- Comfort Level: It is essential to feel comfortable and build trust. If you do not vibe with them, it is okay to look elsewhere.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
Costs can vary. Some attorneys charge hourly, some a flat fee for specific services, and others might work on a retainer. But remember, price is not the only consideration. So, before you hire an elder law attorney, ask yourself: What is the cost of peace of mind? Of ensuring your loved ones are cared for? Sometimes, it is worth the investment.
What Is the Most Surprising Thing Elder Law Attorneys Deal With?
Perhaps one of the most intriguing areas is “grandparent rights.” This refers to the rights of grandparents to visit or even get custody of their grandchildren. The intricacies of these cases, especially when parents might be deemed unfit, require the delicate touch of a seasoned elder law attorney.