Interviewing and hiring an elder law attorney to help you plan for the future can seem like an intimidating and daunting task. How do you know which attorney is best suited to represent you for your individual needs? Who can you trust to help you sort out the financial details to ensure that you are properly cared for in your elder years?
Here at Robert M. Goldberg & Associates, we understand how difficult it can be to find the best elder law attorney for your needs, which is why we encourage prospective clients to ask us plenty of questions during their initial consultation. In today’s post, we’ll review seven questions that you should consider asking prospective attorneys in your search for the right one. Let’s take a look at them now.
What to Ask an Elder Law Attorney
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
This is probably a question that you have asked yourself many times, but it pays to ask an attorney for their opinion as well. Working through things like Medicaid eligibility, asset protection, and other elder law concerns can be confusing. Making the wrong decision on one or any of these matters can have lasting effects that impact your financial security in your later years.
Elder law attorneys can help make many of these situations less confusing and easier to navigate. In addition to helping you understand federal taxation, social security disability, Medicaid eligibility, and wills and trusts, an experienced attorney can help you best determine how to pay for long-term care and make difficult but necessary end-of-life decisions.
How Is Elder Law Different From General Practice?
Asking this question can help ensure that you find an attorney who is qualified to provide you with the legal services you need most. Elder law falls under the main umbrella of estate planning. While many attorneys have the experience and education needed to advise their clients on estate planning essentials, not all of them have an in-depth knowledge of state and federal elder care laws.
As you search for a qualified elder law attorney, be sure to ask potential attorneys if elder care is one of the niches they focus on. If it is, the attorney should be able to explain the specific ways he can represent you for your elder care needs. If it is not, or if they are just a general practice who offers estate planning services, it may be best to continue interviewing other attorneys.
What Areas of Elder Law Are You Experienced In?
In addition to confirming your prospective attorney handles elder care-specific issues, it is helpful to discuss the specific areas of elder law they practice. There are many niches that fall under the umbrella of elder care law and you want to make sure that the attorney you hire is capable of representing you properly for your specific needs.
For example, if you have concerns about protecting your various assets before you apply for Medicaid, then you want to know that your elder law attorney is well-versed in asset protection and different ways to avoid spend down. Likewise, if you are a veteran planning for your elder years, then you deserve the peace of mind that comes from working with an elder law attorney who understands state and federal laws as they pertain to veteran’s benefits.
Can You Tell Me About Your Background?
Asking prospective attorneys about their background is a great way to get a feel for their schooling and experience in various areas of practice. You can also inquire about the types of cases that they have had that might be similar to yours to get a feel of previous outcomes. Additionally, it can help ensure that you find an attorney who is qualified to represent you for your specific needs.
For example, if you needed brain surgery, you wouldn’t want a podiatrist operating on you. The same can be said for hiring legal expertise and experience — a divorce attorney or a general practice attorney who just graduated from law school may not be as knowledgeable as one who has decades of experience.
Do You Belong to Any Relevant Organizations?
No rule says that attorneys must be part of organizations related to their specific area of practice. However, an attorney who takes the time to participate in relevant organizations demonstrates a passion for the subject matter. This is also a good indicator that they are up to speed on all of the current legislation applicable to their area of practice.
Robert M. Goldberg is an elder law attorney who understands the importance of staying on top of recent developments in estate planning and elder law. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Wealth Counsel, and he is accredited by the Veterans Administration. When you choose our firm for your elder care legal needs, you can rest assured you’ll be provided with qualified representation.
How Familiar Are You With Medicaid Laws?
Medicare and Medicaid are two very different types of federal health care. While Medicare provides coverage for things like inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, lab tests, and other basic needs, it doesn’t cover long-term care. Medicaid, on the other hand, does provide coverage for long-term care.
Planning for long-term care is a critical part of planning for the future, so you want to make sure that the elder law attorney you choose is well-versed in Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid coverage in general. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the Medicaid application process as well as walk you through any steps needed to appeal coverage determinations.
Who Will Be My Main Point of Contact?
This might seem like a minor question to ask an attorney during your consultation, but it is just as important to ask this as it is other questions. You deserve to have your questions and inquiries answered promptly and knowing who your main point of contact is ensures that your phone calls and emails are directed to the right person.
Experienced Atlanta Elder Law Attorney
Are you starting to think about planning for your future care needs and protecting your assets? Do you need help determining your Medicaid eligibility? If so, getting help from an experienced elder law attorney can help streamline the process and make sure no details are overlooked. Robert M. Goldberg has more than 20 years of experience practicing elder care law so you can trust that he has the knowledge and skill to represent your best interests now and in the years to come. To request a consultation with an elder law attorney in Atlanta, contact our firm today. We look forward to hearing from you!