Cona Elder Law

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Best Practices for Choosing an Elder Law Attorney


Today's always-on internet and hand-held smartphones allows you to easily search "Elder Law Attorneys in Long Island" to find a list of options. However, just because an attorney has a website and a phone number doesn't mean they're right for you.

Choosing the best elder law attorney will take a bit of research and an understanding of the top questions to ask an elder law attorney.Let's take a closer look at the steps you should take to find the best elder law attorney based on your needs and goals.

What Type of Elder Law Attorney Do You Need?

An elder law attorney will have a hyper focus on the legal and financial issues that affect seniors and their families. Even so, elder law can include a vast range of disciplines, such as:

  • Guardianships
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Living wills
  • Power of Attorney
  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Long-term care planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Retirement
  • Housing issues
  • Probate

Due to the degrees of separation between fields within elder law, it's important to understand most elder law attorneys will not focus in every one of these areas. Because of this, it's vital to ensure you find out which area of elder law they have the most experience and practice.

How Much Experience Does the Attorney Have?

Make sure to look for an elder law attorney who has significant experience managing situations like yours. Simply put, experience comes from hours, days, and years in practice. With each similar situation, the attorney gains more knowledge and learns best practices to increase efficiency. If you need specific assistance with estate planning, power of attorney, or long-term care planning, ask the potential attorney to explain the situations where they have helped their clients successfully navigate such matters.  

Ask Your Friends About Choosing an Elder Law Attorney

Once you know the type of attorney you need, the next step is to talk to your accountant, friends, family members, doctor, and anyone else in your circle of trust. Ask them whether they've used or know of any reliable and competent elder law attorneys in the area. After you have a list of potential attorneys, the next step is to fine tune your list through a phone conversation.

What Questions Should I Ask an Elder Law Attorney via Phone

Prior to making a final decision on an elder law attorney, you should ask questions, questions, and more questions. However, before you meet the attorney face to face, you'll more than likely have a brief phone conversation.

The goal of the initial phone call is to get an overview of the attorney's practice and learn whether they have sufficient experience in the area you need. A few good conversation starter questions you can ask potential elder law attorneys include:

  • What area of law does the firm practice in?
  • How many years does the attorney/firm have practicing elder law?
  • How long has the attorney been practicing in this particular field?
  • Does the attorney practice law in another field?
  • What percentage of the attorney's time is spent in elder law?
  • Does the firm charge a consultation fee for the first meeting? If so, how much is the fee?
  • What information should you bring to the first meeting?

Evaluating the Personal Relationship in the Consultation

Choosing one elder law attorney over another is a very personal matter. It's imperative for you to know your attorney is looking out for your best interests. Several legal professionals can deliver a finished product, such as an advance directive or a will. However, a skilled elder law attorney will work to present you with a range of personalized solutions and options that may be appropriate for your situation as well as the pros and cons of each approach.  

After you have narrowed the attorneys down to a short list, arrange initial consultations with each of them. This in-office meeting is an excellent way for you to get a solid idea of who they are, their staff, the office, and whether you're comfortable with them.

When you meet with the attorney, they should take the time to ensure you understand every angle of your position. In addition, you should sense the attorney has a genuine interest in assisting you. Above all, you will need to feel comfortable sharing all of your goals and concerns for your estate as well as your long-term care needs with your attorney.

Understand the Attorney's Fee Structure

While some elder law attorneys will charge by the hour, others will charge a flat fee for certain documents or for certain tasks. It's important for you to have a clear understanding of the fees charged by the attorney, so you can be comfortable and reduce potential points of confusion.

At the same time, the objective of your work should be well defined. This means you should have documentation clearly stating what is included as well as what is not included. In addition, the terms of your agreement should be clear, so you know what to do if you need to terminate the contract.

Contact Cona Elder Law Attorneys

For more than 20 years, the award-winning attorneys at Cona Elder Law have dedicated themselves to practicing elder law and helping our clients achieve a higher level of security. Because of our dedication, we've been continually ranked as the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News for the last seven years.

Contact Gener Cona Elder Law today.

About the Author Cona Elder Law

Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.

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