If your aging parents have mounting senior care expenses or are considering selling their home and moving to a senior living community, they might need help managing legal and financial issues. Because the senior care industry is complex with many options from which to choose, seeking the advice of an experienced elder law attorney is often advisable.
An elder law attorney is a professional who specializes in issues unique to older adults. They can range from elder abuse and asset recovery to locating a life settlement company to purchase a senior’s life insurance policy. Whatever your reason for hiring an attorney, it’s important to realize they are not all the same.
Elder Law Attorneys and Senior Care
Elder law attorneys often work in conjunction with social workers, psychologists, physicians, and elder care managers on a client’s behalf. They provide assistance with social security disability claims, establishing trusts, and creating wills.
Some elder attorneys further specialize in particular areas of senior care support such as:
- Mental health law
- Asset liquidation
- Medicaid applications
- Veterans benefit applications
- Estate planning
- Disability planning
- Moving to a senior community
Elder law attorneys aren’t required to obtain any additional licensing or certifications. Most gain their reputation and experience by working with seniors and their adult children.
Hiring an Elder Law Attorney for Your Aging Parents
As you are selecting an elder law attorney, it may help to first turn to your social network and colleagues for recommendations. Some have likely been through this process with a senior in their life and have names they can share with you. You can also search the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys website for a professional near you.
Here are a few factors to consider as you make this decision:
- Experience: Ask any potential attorney how much of their practice is spent serving seniors. Also, find out what percentage of their work is with older adults.
- Fees: Though you might feel uncomfortable discussing money, it’s important to learn the attorney’s fees up front. These can vary widely and you won’t want to be surprised by how much a simple service, such as creating a will or reviewing a senior living contract, turns out to cost.
- Location: While much can be accomplished online or via the telephone, you will likely need to visit in person and sign documents.
- Credentials: Once you’ve narrowed your list, call the State Bar Association to make sure the candidates are licensed and see if they’ve ever been disciplined.
One final tip is to ask any elder law attorneys you are considering if they offer a free consultation. That face-to-face meeting can help you decide if they are a good fit for you and your aging parents.
Free Support in Your Search for Senior Living
We know the search for senior living can be daunting. One way to make it go more smoothly is with the assistance of one of our experienced senior care advisors. Their advice is always free for seniors and families. Call us at 800-304-8061 to learn more!
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