Hiring an Elder Law Attorney
With an aging population in the United States elder law is becoming a recognized and specialized area of law. An elder law attorney focuses his or her practice on issues that effect the elderly population.
Types of issues typically handled by an elder attorney include:
- Medicare issues.
- Medicaid issues.
- Social security denials.
- Estate planning.
- Abuse and neglect issues.
- Nursing home or long-term care issues.
Selection of an Elder Law Attorney
Selection of an elder law attorney may be difficult and time-consuming. The elder or the family of the elder needs to make sure to find an attorney who appears to be competent in the area of elder law. The elder may ask friends or family for recommendations. The elder may also consult the yellow pages or contact the state bar association for recommendations. The elder should ask the attorney several different questions prior to retaining his or her services. The types of questions that should be asked depend upon the issue in each particular case. General questions that may be asked include:
- How long have you practiced in the area of elder law?
- Have you ever had any other clients that had the same issue or issues?
- Will I be required to pay a retainer fee?
- Will I only be working with you or one of your associate attorneys?
- How long do you think that it will take to complete the task or resolve the issue?
As with hiring any attorney, cost is an issue that should be discussed in the initial meeting with the attorney prior to hiring him or her. The elder should ask what the hourly rate is, whether they will be charged a sum certain for the services rendered, whether there is a retainer fee, and whether they will be billed on a monthly basis.