So, how do you go about finding an elder law attorney? Just pick up the phone book, check “Attorneys” and then pick one that says, “Divorce/Real Estate/Corporate Law/Probate/Elder Law”, right?
You need to find a qualified attorney who specializes in the Elder Law field. Now, of course you may luck out and get a great referral from another caregiver ho has gone through the Medicaid planning process and had a great experience with a particular Elder Law attorney, but let’s say you aren’t that fortunate.
Here are some ideas for where to look…
Elder Law Attorney Through NAELA
The first place to look is the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA.org). NAELA is open to ANY attorney, so just because an attorney forked over a few hundred dollars in membership fees doesn’t make them an expert on Medicaid planning in your state, but it is a good place to start because at a minimum membership in NAELA signifies that the attorney is at least interested in the Elder Law topic.
The way to find NAELA members in your area is for you to go to their website and click on the red “Find and attorney” button.
From there you can search through a variety of criteria for an attorney in your area.
As far as the information that can be found from the individual listings, I have to say I found it pretty limited. Other than the phone number, email address and the website for each attorney, there wasn’t much there.
However, you can gain a wealth of information from each attorney by visiting their websites. I have they ranged from the very professional looking to those that I couldn’t connect to and appeared to be out of business.
One other thing that may be important for caregivers. I did notice that several of the attorneys had “free” seminars that you could attend on a variety of topics. Now, I put “free” in quotation marks because they would not be giving this information for nothing.
They want your phone number and other contact information to obtain business, but you will also get the opportunity to meet them, get a “feel” for each attorney in the office and get your questions answered.
So this may be line way that you can go about finding an elder law attorney in your area.
Another potential avenue for you to narrow down your selections is to use the “experience listings” feature. This will lead you to another page where you can click among several elder law topics, such as…
- Age discrimination in housing and employment
- Elder abuse
- Estate tax and gift planning
- Disputed tax matters
- Reverse mortgages and home equity conversions
And about 20 other topics
This should get you started working with NAELA in order to find the right elder law attorney for you.
Here is another too for you…
This one comes courtesy of K. Gabriel Heiser and his fantastic book, “Medicaid Secrets“.
Go to your state bar associations website and look for the list of past and current continuing education courses, also known as “CLE’s”. Find the one in the area of specialty you are seeking and write down the names of all of the instructors who teach the course.
You can be guaranteed that your state bar association would not have some fly-by-night attorney be teaching the CLE course to all of the other attorneys in your state.
You will also be able to view the attorneys experience because the brochures for the course (normally available online) will typically have a short bio with a listing of their own firms website. This is another great tip and idea to find the right elder law attorney.