Are you working with an attorney to navigate Medicaid and long-term care, securing veterans benefits or getting your Last Will and Testament finalized? Want the inside track on what they should be offering you, but aren’t? As an attorney who specializes in elder law, I can tell you what to watch for. Here are 5 warning signs to look for when choosing an attorney:
- You’re asked to pay for a consultation fee or legal services when you haven’t even decided to hire the lawyer yet. You have every right to determine whether they’re going to treat you with respect and give you the kind of concern and attention to detail you deserve. You’re the one interviewing your lawyer. Don’t pay for a consult until you’re sure that’s who you want working for you.
- Your attorney isn’t working for your priorities. It’s not just about the law, it’s about what you want and what you’re trying to accomplish. When you’re talking about estate plans and long-term care, you’re talking about someone’s legacy, dignity, or loss of control. These are major decisions in your life, and you should be driving the priorities and the decision making.
- Get details about how your case will be handled. You should know exactly how the relationship will work from the beginning. Do you have a dedicated case worker? How do you get in contact with them? How often do you receive updates? What are the alternative communications? Email? Can they do face-to-face meetings or is phone/video an option?
- They aren’t truly specializing in elder law. Do they know how to handle Medicaid or VA benefits, tax law and everything that impacts your case? Or is this a general practitioner who adds “elder law” to their list of practice areas? Just because they can write a will doesn’t mean they should be writing your will. For example, we regularly have families come to us with a loved one’s will, that if it had just a few more details would have made the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars and immediate VA benefits for the surviving spouse. But once a person passes away, this cannot be fixed.
- They let you fly blind. Do they offer educational resources for you? Answer your questions? Will you have access to training, classes, webinars, books, or brochures that they could be sharing with you, so you know what you’re getting into? Or do they leave you to “Google” things on your own?
There is no reason to settle for subpar legal counsel when there are attorneys who have dedicated their practices to specializing in elder law ready and willing to help you. Please take the time to find one you can trust and trust YOURSELF if you don’t feel comfortable with someone who shows any of the signs above.
At Elder Law Guidance, we are happy to offer you a complimentary consultation and will provide you educational resources ahead of time. Our team is committed to giving you the counsel you need and the care you deserve. Call us at (859) 328-2119.