10 Tips to Find an Elder Law Attorney You Can Trust

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.

NAELA

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.

Diligent Note-Taking

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.

Credentials

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. 

Experience Matters

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!

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Basics of Social Security Lawyers’ Fees

Basics of Social Security Lawyers’ Fees

Hiring a social security lawyer for your claim or appeal might seem to be an overwhelming task.

When you factor in the anxiety most people have about how to pay for a social security lawyer, you begin to see why so many try to pursue their claim alone.

You do not have to go it alone though.  You can afford a social security lawyer!  How?

Social security lawyers only work on a contingency basis.

Let’s take a look at what that means.

The Contingency Fee Agreement

A contingency fee means merely that social security lawyers do not get paid unless you win your claim.  Their costs will be paid out of your benefits before you even get your first check.

Some contingency fees are set up as a lump sum payment that comes out of your benefits at the very beginning, and then you are done.  Others are set up to be taken out, monthly, before your check is sent to you.  This will be decided by you and the social security lawyers when you sign a contingency fee agreement.

A contingency fee agreement states that the social security administration has the permission to pay your legal counsel when you begin receiving your benefits. The social security administration will also be sure to make sure that your agreement follows all applicable regulations.

Your attorney will not be receiving any more than 25% of your benefits or more than $6,000.

There are times when social security lawyers require extra fees. Of course, these fees must meet ample lawful justification before the social security administration approves them. This happens on very rare occasions, and most requests for more money out of your benefits are not approved.

Two Tier Agreements

Some attorneys may have you sign what is called a “two-tier agreement”. It got this name because although similar to the regular contingency agreement, it covers two scenarios instead of one.

The first scenario is the one we laid out just a moment ago: receiving twenty-five percent

The second approach is if your claim is denied and you social security lawyer proceeds with any further appeals on your behalf. In this case, your lawyer may choose to petition for a higher amount rather than accepting the regular amount.  The Social Security Administration would have to approve the higher amount before your lawyers get paid.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

Some social security lawyers will also charge you some out-of-pocket fees.  These typically cover the cost of requesting your medical records, copies, postage, etc.  These fees do not usually cost more than $200, but your lawyer should tell you about them before you sign anything.  If they do not, then be sure to ask about any out-of-pocket fees and what they will cover.  These fees are always negotiable.  Moreover, it may be worth it to shop around for attorneys to see if any of them are willing to waive those fees in taking on your case.

Contact a Social Security Lawyer in Spokane, WA

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5 Warning Signs You Might Have a Lousy Disability Lawyer

5 Warning Signs You Might Have a Lousy Disability Lawyer

When you file for Social Security Disability (SSDI), it is a good idea to begin talking to a disability lawyer. Engaging the expertise of a Social Security Disability Lawyer early in your application process can help avoid some of the big reasons claims get denied later on.

One of the big challenges of finding and retaining a disability lawyer, though, is that there are many lawyers to choose from, and not all of them are as good as they could be.

So, when you hire a lawyer how do you know if you have a good lawyer?

Here are five warning signs that you might have a lousy disability lawyer.

Your Disability Lawyer is Not Available

Disability lawyers usually have a lot of cases they are working on so you may not always speak to your lawyer when you call. However, you should always be able to speak with someone at the lawyer’s office (secretary, an assistant, paralegal).

If they are unable to answer your question, your disability lawyer or someone who can answer your questions should return your call in a reasonable amount of time. If this is not happening, you may want to find a lawyer who will be more accessible to you when you have questions or concerns.

Your Disability Lawyer Makes Impossible Promises

Having a disability lawyer does not guarantee that you will win your case. A disability lawyer should never promise that they will win your case. They need to be upfront and tell you what chance you should have. Most disability lawyers will not take your case unless they feel there is a chance of winning, but again that does not guarantee it. A disability lawyer should also never promise you a dollar amount if you should win your case.

Your Disability Lawyer Doesn’t Follow-Through

If your disability lawyer says they are going to do something and they do not follow through, then this should raise some red flags. Their job is to help you gather the medical evidence and statements that will help make your case strong. When they say they are going to contact your medical professionals or third-parties to collect the evidence, they should be following through. You will not have a case if this is not done promptly.

Your Disability Lawyer Doesn’t Meet With You

Your disability lawyer should call you or meet with you in person a month or two before your hearing to prepare you for the hearing. They should review with you questions you may be asked during the hearing and help you prepare answers that will benefit your case not harm it.

Your Disability Lawyer is Not Respectful

A disability lawyer should be respectful of your situation and not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about. They should be kind and understanding when you explain your situation and help you understand the process. They should also be respectful of your time.

This goes back to number one above (availability) as well as working with your schedule when scheduling meetings or phone calls.

You Deserve Better and It’s Not Too Late

If your disability lawyer is doing any of these, you should probably get a different lawyer. Filing for SSDI is already confusing and difficult enough without your lawyer making it complicated. When choosing a disability lawyer, asking questions before even meeting with them will help you find the right lawyer for you.  Here is an article that will help find a great disability lawyer.