Entering your golden years is probably the best phase of your life. You no longer have to raise children and follow a 9-to-5 routine. In other words, it’s time to live your best life. But getting older also means taking care of your health – physical and financial. As you or your loved ones enter their golden years, consulting an elder law attorney becomes necessary.
An experienced elder law attorney can help you set up your estate plan, assist with long-term healthcare, and protect you from financial exploitation. But finding an elder attorney is easier said than done. You don’t want to end up with a self-serving elder law attorney in Layton.
When scouting for an elder law attorney, consider asking the following questions. They can help you find the one that best fits your needs.
Here are a Few Questions To Ask Your Elder Law Attorney
1. What is Your Area of Expertise?
Elder law is a broad area of practice. Of course, it is necessary to hire someone specializing in elder law. But you can go a step further by hiring an elder law attorney in Layton who specializes in one area of practice.
Many elder law lawyers specialize in one particular area of practice. For example, a lawyer may only specialize in estate planning, nothing else. For example, if you may go in for the power of attorney or elder abuse-related guidance from such an attorney, they will most likely refuse to take your case.
So, ask about their area of expertise before hiring an elder law attorney. This should help you find the right legal help for your loved one.
2. Do Your Services Go Beyond Drafting?
Most people are under the impression that elder law work involves paperwork, such as drafting an estate plan or a power of attorney. While this is the crux of it, an elder law attorney should be capable of legal representation in the court.
In short, your lawyer should be able to handle a variety of elder lawsuit situations. They include but may not be limited to:
- Plan and oversee long-term care.
- Set up and manage guardianship.
- Help in the event of elder abuse, be it financial, physical, or mental/emotional.
This means a professional elder law attorney can and should help your loved one beyond drafting documents.
3. How Long Have You Been Practicing Elder Law?
Although obvious, this is perhaps the most important question to ask. As you can imagine, more experience is always better. A qualified and experienced elder law attorney can help you find the best legal solution. They are also likely to know the latest developments and changes in State and Federal laws.
Another advantage of hiring an experienced elder law attorney is that they know the local judiciary inside out. They know how the local system works, which can be an added advantage, especially when filing or handling an elder lawsuit.
At the same time, you should also check if the lawyer specializes in overlapping areas of the law. For example, an estate planning lawyer can better understand the needs of senior citizens. On the other hand, a criminal lawyer is less likely to understand this.
4. Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine Before?
Experience matters but so does relevance. It’s better if the elder law attorney has handled cases similar to yours. Ask the lawyer if they have had elder law cases similar to yours before and what the outcome was. You would want to work with someone who has dealt with situations similar to what your loved one is facing.
Most elder law lawyers offer a free consultation. That’s when you can give out the details of your case and ask if they have worked on something similar.
5. Do You Do Home Visits? Are They Chargeable?
This is also an important question – especially if your loved one is too old to drive or step out. Many elder law lawyers may do home visits. But it’s better to ask first. If your lawyer makes home visits, the next question should be – are they chargeable?
Some attorneys may charge extra for home visits. Make sure this is within your budget. Remember, multiple home visits can quickly send your elder law attorney fees soaring.
6. How Much Will Your Services Cost?
Most people hesitate to ask this question, but you shouldn’t. An attorney-client relationship is based on transparency and honesty. So, it’s best to be upfront about potential costs and fees, including home visit charges (if any).
However, you may not get a complete breakdown during the free consultation. Your elder law attorney will likely require a deeper analysis of your case before giving you an estimate.
That said, most elder law lawyers work on an hourly basis. The fees can range anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars an hour. But some attorneys might work on a one-time fee, depending on your case. Speak with your elder law attorney in Utah to get a fee structure.
Also, remember that higher fees will not necessarily translate into high-quality services. You want to get the best for your money. So, do your research before hiring an attorney.
7. Who Will Work with Me?
Your elder law attorney in Layton may have different lawyers working with multiple clients. The lead attorney may not always handle every case the firm accepts. You might have to speak with one lawyer during an initial consultation, while another attorney will do the paperwork or actually work on your case.
In most cases, communication goes through junior associates and paralegals. Some people feel more comfortable working with the lead attorney alone. Whatever the case, get to know the people you will work with. You would want to work with a responsive and readily available elder law attorney.
8. How Do I Get in Touch?
Emergencies are a part of life. Even estate planning, elderly abuse, and power of attorney can call for emergencies. When that happens, you should be able to reach your elder law attorney quickly. Be sure they are available via phone, text, and email.
Also, for more seniors, the phone is the most convenient mode of communication. They are often not as tech-savvy as the younger generations. So, it’s important to know that the lawyer is available on the phone, especially in emergencies.
Finding the right elder law attorney can be a daunting task. But asking the questions that matter most can help you find an attorney that best fits your needs. These questions will provide you with an excellent head start in this regard. Remember, ask the questions that you think are important.
Are you looking for an elder law attorney in Layton? Your search ends here. Jeremy Atwood can help your loved one with all the elder law needs. Feel free to reach out to us today for more information!