There are people in this world that will take advantage of anyone for their own gain. They target people unable to care for themselves or that suffer dementia.
1 out of 10 older people experiences a form of abuse. This problem does not stop at law offices.
Lawyers know the intricacy of the law. They can use that for good, but some use it to manipulate.
Do not let a shifty lawyer take advantage of your parent or older loved one. These are 10 tips on how to find an elder law attorney you can trust.
Ask Friends and Family
Asking family and friends for lawyer recommendations is the place to start. These are the people that have your best interests in mind. Their opinion and reviews will be honest and helpful.
How to Find An Elder Law Attorney Online
A lot of law firms are connected digitally now. They will have websites of their own. These firms will have peer reviews of their offices.
Check sites, like Google Review or Yelp, to get a feel for a law firm.
You can also check out Findlaw.com or NOLO.com. Both of these sites will allow you to put in your location and choose what specialty you are looking for in a law firm. You will also be able to read reviews and directly contact the law firm.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is an archive of lawyers that practice elder law. This committee only accepts bar-certified lawyers into their club.
First Impressions Matter
Attorney services, much like cars, should not be purchased without a test-drive. This test-drive is a consultation. Many attorneys offer free consultations. This is your chance to take ‘er for a spin.
Can this lawyer match your needs? How is their personality? This is an important choice; do not drive off the lot with any lawyer.
Are They Professional?
How timely are they? Are they punctual or slow on the draw? Test them.
If you are corresponding through email, they should respond within a day’s time. If you are meeting them for consultation, is the meeting on time or delayed? How do they present themselves during the interview?
Being attentive, punctual, well-dressed, and intelligible are the marks of a professional. Assess your lawyer on these, as well as their credentials.
Do You Get Along?
You are going to be spending a lot of time with this individual. It is important to like the person you are with.
Clashing personalities and butting heads are a detriment to winning cases. There needs to be camaraderie.
There is a lot to be said and heard when talking with a lawyer. It is difficult to process everything in the moment, especially if you are not used to law jargon.
Write down everything you can. Take notes of what they are saying, and then figure out what they mean later. They could be two different things.
A truth-worthy lawyer will be concise. And they will not give you the run-around.
Check if the lawyer is still a practicing lawyer. Some people lose their Bar status from malpractice or other scrupulous reasons.
Each state has a State Bar Association. Here is Washington state’s. Search by their name. The website will reveal any past disciplinary actions against the attorney. You should avoid these guys.
Find an attorney that has helped others with similar issues. Make sure your lawyer has experience in every matter or concern. They need to have set a good precedent.
1What Is it Gonna Cost?
It is ok to ask this! Getting your estate managed,
Court Is In Session!
Lawyers can be untrustworthy. And unlike common criminals, they will have an intimate knowledge of the law.
How to find an elder law attorney that you can trust is difficult.
You should get referrals from friends and family and peers. Make sure they are practicing, recognized with NAELA, and are professional. Also, find a lawyer that matches your needs and your personality.
If you need any other law guidance, please reach out!