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Ready to Retire: Key questions to ask an elder law attorney

Is retirement in your near future? Do the senior living options seem challenging to navigate? Planning for future care and legal needs can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Elder law attorneys can help you make informed decisions about care, maximize your financial security and ensure your rights are respected.
However, finding the right attorney for your individual needs can be difficult.
This quick guide will break down the essential services these experts offer and equip you with insightful questions to ask an elder law attorney when searching for the perfect fit for you or your loved one.


What is an Elder Law Attorney?

An elder law attorney specializes in the legal needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities. They possess a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by seniors and how the law interacts with those challenges.

All elder law attorneys must earn a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam in the state(s) they intend to practice. Many attorneys demonstrate their commitment to the field by pursuing a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) certification through the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

Common elder law attorney services can include:

  • Drafting a will, trusts and other legal documents
  • Helping you utilize various estate planning strategies to minimize taxes
  • Tailoring power of attorney (POA) documents
  • Advising you and your family on different long-term care options
  • Representing you in court proceedings to establish guardianship or conservatorship
  • Identifying and addressing situations of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
  • Guiding you through the complexities of Medicaid, Veterans benefits and other government benefits

Depending on their expertise, elder law attorneys can offer a broader range of services. Researching thoroughly and finding the right attorney for your circumstances can make a significant difference in ensuring your well-being and rights are protected.



Key Questions to Ask an Elder Law Attorney

Below are 30 helpful questions to ask when you meet with an elder law attorney. By asking these key questions, you can gain valuable insights into your potential attorney’s qualifications, experience and communication style, helping you make an informed decision about who you can trust with your important legal matters.

General Experience and Qualifications:
  1. How many years of experience do you have, specifically in elder law?
  2. Are you board-certified in elder law by a recognized organization?
  3. What percentage of your practice focuses on elder law?
  4. What are your areas of particular expertise within elder law?
  5. Can you share your success rate in cases similar to mine?
  6. Do you belong to any professional organizations related to elder law?
Fees and Communication:
  1. What is your hourly rate or fee structure for different services?
  2. Are there any additional costs or hidden fees I should be aware of?
  3. How often will you communicate with me and my family?
  4. What is your preferred method of communication (email, phone, in-person)?
  5. Do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
Specific Needs and Concerns:
  1. Can you help with estate planning and asset protection?
  2. How can you help me qualify for Medicaid or other benefits?
  3. How can you help me navigate issues related to guardianship or conservatorship?
  4. How can you help me appoint a power of attorney and health care proxy?
  5. What is your experience with clients who faced elder abuse and exploitation?
  6. Can you assist me with disability rights and benefits?
  7. How can you help me plan for my retirement income and tax implications?
  8. What happens if you are unable to continue representing me?
Comfort and Fit:
  1. Are you comfortable working with families involved in the decision-making process?
  2. Do you have experience working with clients with similar cultural backgrounds or religious beliefs?
  3. How do you handle disagreements or conflicts within families?
  4. Are you comfortable working with individuals with cognitive impairments?
  5. How do you work with older adults diagnosed with dementia and their families?
Specific Case and Process:
  1. What initial steps will you take to understand my situation and needs?
  2. What documents and information do you need from me to get started?
  3. What is your estimated timeline for handling my case?
  4. How will you keep me informed of any developments in my case?
  5. Are you familiar with the latest laws and regulations affecting elders in my state?
  6. Do you have a team of paralegals or other staff who assist you?

Remember, these are just starting points; you may have additional questions specific to your unique circumstances. Don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions and ensure you feel comfortable and confident with the attorney you choose.



Are You Ready to Retire with Confidence?

Our senior living options at Diakon Senior Living include several campuses in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. Because our campuses are Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), otherwise known as Life Plan Communities, we can provide care and a life plan for your senior years so you can have peace of mind! Diakon Senior Living offers the security only a high-quality continuum of care can provide. Call us at 844.342.5661 or visit our website to learn more about our senior living options.

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