How Do I Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
Elder law attorneys are lawyers who assist the elderly and their family members, and caregivers with legal questions and planning related to aging.
These attorneys frequently are called upon to assist with tax planning, disability planning, probate and the administration of an estate, nursing home placement, as well as a host of other legal issues, says Forbes’ recent article entitled “Hiring An Elder Law Attorney.”
In addition, there are some Louisiana elder law attorneys who are Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialists, or are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists. These attorneys have had to demonstate the following:
- Acutal significant law practice (over 30% of the lawyer’s practice) in the area of estate planning or taxation for at least 5 years; and
- Passing a second specialization bar exam in the areas of estate planning and taxation; and
- Recommendations by one or more other Louisiana lawyers specializing in the areas of estate planning or taxation; and
- Taking more than other lawyers of continuing legal education – 18 hours in both estate planning and taxation each year (other lawyers are only requred to take 12 hours each year).
There are many elder law attorneys who specialize in Medicaid planning to help protect a senior’s financial assets, if they suffer from dementia or another debilitating illness that may require long-term care. Elder law attorneys also prepare estate documents, such as a durable power of attorney for health and medical needs and a living will. As you age, the legal issues that you, your spouse, and/or your family caregivers must address can also change.
If you are a senior, then you should have durable powers of attorney for financial and health needs, in the event that you or your spouse becomes incapacitated. You might also need an elder law attorney to help you transfer assets if you or your spouse move into a nursing home to avoid spending your life savings on long-term care.
Healthy people over 65 are in the best spot to do more than having estate planning documents prepared. That’s because they have the opportunity to develop a holistic strategy beyond the legal documents. This can give assurances that the family members and professionals they’ve assembled understand the principle of supported decision-making and how it will be implemented.
For example, an elder law attorney may focus on finding the least restrictive residential environment and making other health care and financial choices. An elder law attorney can also protect seniors with diminished capacity, who are being victimized by personal and financial exploitation.
An initial consultation with an elder law attorney will help determine the types of legal services they can offer, and the fees associated with these services.
Reference: Forbes (Oct. 4, 2021) “Hiring an Elder Law Attorney”