As time passes, baby boomers, as well as the generations that follow them, will face many serious choices related to retirement planning and elder care. An elder law attorney can help you make the right decisions that apply to your own future and to the care of your loved ones.
FindLaw's Lawyer Directory is the largest online directory of attorneys. Whether you need to connect with a general estate planning attorney or talk about more complicated legal matters related to elder law, the attorneys on this list can help you with your legal needs.
Use FindLaw to hire a local elder law attorney to assist with issues related to:
Elder care transactions and planning
Social Security retirement benefits and other Social Security topics
Medicare and health insurance/health care issues
Medicaid planning and other forms of asset protection
Long-term care planning (which may involve nursing home care or assisted living facility options, or potentially home care)
Special needs planning
Powers of attorney and advance directives (sometimes called a living will or medical directive)
Elder law attorneys are also able to help you protect elderly family members from issues such as elder abuse and financial scams that target elderly victims. A lawyer can help you determine whether this should involve a conservatorship or other type of protective measure.
Consider the following when deciding which law firm to hire for your elder law matter:
Comfort Level - Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in providing legal advice and solving your problem?
Credentials - How long has the lawyer been in practice? What practice areas does the lawyer handle? Has the lawyer worked on other elder law cases similar to yours?
Cost - How are the lawyer's fees structured - hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of resolving your legal issues?
City - Is the lawyer's office conveniently located?
It is always a good idea to research your lawyer prior to hiring. Every state has a disciplinary organization that monitors attorneys, their licenses, and consumer complaints. By researching lawyer discipline you can:
Ensure the attorney is currently licensed to practice in your state
Gain an understanding of his or her historical disciplinary record, if any.
Determine the seriousness of complaints/issues which could range from late bar fees to more serious issues requiring disciplinary action.
Many people who need to find a lawyer in California have never hired a lawyer before. Talking to a lawyer may be a new experience and you might want some help getting started. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer before deciding who to hire.
What is your main practice area?
How many years of experience do you have in California with cases like mine?
How often do you take cases to trial or settle them out of court?
Can I take my case through mediation or arbitration?
Do you offer a free consultation?
What are your fees and costs?
Will you be the attorney primarily handling my case?
How will I be kept up-to-date about my case?
In order to practice law in California, attorneys have to both pass the California bar exam and be admitted by the State Bar of California. Most attorneys in California graduate from an accredited law school but some lawyers are admitted through on-the-job experience for a minimum of 4 years and through passing an additional legal exam. After a lawyer is admitted to law practice in California, they can practice in almost any area of law.
Lawyers in California are held to strict ethical guidelines known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys may have duties and limitations in:
Duty of client advocacy
Conflicts of interest
Duty of candor
Limitations in soliciting clients
Restrictions on handling a client's money
Many people avoid calling a lawyer because they are worried it will be too expensive. In many cases, a lawyer can end up saving the client money. This includes getting an increased award, recovering additional damages, avoiding financial problems in the future, and avoiding future disputes and litigation. Some legal areas even allow the lawyer to recover legal fees from the party at fault.