7 Critical Things to Know Before Hiring an Elder Law Attorney
Hiring an attorney can feel like a daunting task. When the need pertains to elder law, emotions run high, often making the process even more overwhelming. But the good news? With the right information at your fingertips, you can make a decision that is both informed and beneficial.
However, before you dive in and hire the first attorney you find online, there are a few essential things you should know. With that said, here are seven things you should know before hiring an elder law attorney:
7. Elder Law Is Broad But Specific
When someone says “elder law,” it is easy to think it is just one niche area of legal practice. However, the reality is much richer. Elder law spans a wide range of topics. These include wills, trusts, guardianship, Medicare, and Medicaid planning, just to name a few.
But what makes it unique is its focus: The senior population and their unique needs. Knowing this will help you identify exactly what type of service you require.
6. Not All Attorneys Are Created Equal
According to a 2020 American Bar Association report, there were over 1.3 million practicing lawyers in the United States. With so many fish in the legal sea, finding the right one for your specific needs is essential.
Just as you would not hire a dermatologist to perform heart surgery, ensuring the lawyer you pick specializes in elder law is crucial.
5. Experience Matters a Lot
It is not just about hiring an elder law attorney. Instead, it is about hiring one with a proven track record. An attorney might have studied elder law, but have they practiced it?
So, the more experience an attorney has, the more likely they are to have encountered and successfully handled a situation similar to yours.
4. Ask About Fees Upfront
When it comes to hiring any professional, money is often the elephant in the room. But it does not have to be. A reputable elder law attorney will be transparent about their fees from the get-go. Whether they charge a flat rate, hourly, or on a contingency basis, knowing what you are getting into financially is essential.
3. Reviews and Recommendations Speak Volumes; Read Them
In today’s digital age, reviews are the new word of mouth. An excellent place to start your attorney hunt is by scouring online reviews and asking for recommendations from friends or family. Remember to take both glowing and scathing reviews with a grain of salt. Instead, focus on common themes and recurring points.
2. Your Gut Feeling Counts
This might sound a bit out there, but trust your gut. Once you meet with an attorney, gauge how they make you feel. Are they attentive, compassionate, and understanding of your unique situation? Or do they seem distracted and disinterested? This decision is too important to ignore your instincts.
1. Communication Is Key
No one likes to be left in the dark, especially when it comes to legal matters. Ensure that the attorney you hire is communicative and available for any questions or concerns you might have.
Quick responses, clear explanations, and a willingness to educate are signs of an attorney who values client relationships.
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