Our population is aging, and as we continue to age, we face complex and difficult legal issues to deal with. Convoluted laws and regulations with both Medicaid and the Veterans Administration do not make navigating your senior years any easier. In response to these challenges a new area of law is developing, that is, Elder Law.Elder law is a growing area of legal practice where attorneys will work with seniors, people with disabilities and their families to develop legal and financial strategies to pay for long-term care and to assist clients in navigating the complex legal rules and regulations involved with the various governmental programs.For example, say your mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is looking at on-going nursing home bills at over $6,000 per month. A quality senior lawyer would be able to put together a plan that will protect Mother’s assets from the nursing home, for the benefit of the family, by developing a long-term care strategy and navigating the governmental Medicaid program on your behalf.Maybe, you father was a Veteran and is looking at needing assisted living or home health care. An Elder Law attorney (who should also be accredited by the Veterans Administration), would be able to help your father possibly qualify for the little known Veterans Administration Pension Benefit, which could help offset some of the costs of the assisted living center or home health care that your father is receiving.Finding a well qualified Elder Law attorney can be difficult, as it is a specialized area of law. Your Elder law attorney should have credentials such as being a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), ElderCounsel, Elder Care Matters Alliance, and be accredited by the Veterans Administration to assist Veterans with receiving Veterans Benefits.
Are you ready for the future of law? Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Idiocracy and thought it was just a comedy where the leader of this ‘new’ world obtained his law degree from Costco. However, with the advent of internet shops selling online legal advice and document preparation, like Legal Zoom it would seem that the practice of seeking sound legal advice from an attorney is being turned on its head. How can consumers protect themselves with sound legal advice at a reasonable price without surprises later when their documents did not protect them from liability?Attorneys are here to stay thanks, in part, to these online ‘vending machine’ paper pushers. The point to drive home here is that it may seem to cost less to start that corporation via an internet company, without an attorney, but paying a lawyer to do the work in the beginning and helping the business owner to think through and cover blind spots where things can and often go wrong in businesses, really will save that owner money and attorney fees down the road. The upfront cost is greater to higher the attorney in the beginning, but well worth it when problems arise. Just something to consider the next time you want to ‘do-it-yourself’ agreement.Most consumers now use online searches to find an attorney. They want convenience, geographically close counsel, priced right, great manners, that gets results. That sounds like consumers want the world and they do. Before hiring a lawyer, it’s important to search the prospective lawyer by name and read reviews. Does your lawyer give away information by writing a blog? Are they helpful to people they cannot even help? Another important factor is to consider the source of the information and whether it is a client testimonial or just a marketing piece published by the lawyer or the law firm.The impression that the law firm presents can make or break that client relationship. How the prospective client is treated can be key. I have had prospective clients specifically tell me that they have spoken with other lawyers and were treated with disrespect, even yelled at. I’m beginning to think that most attorneys have no idea what customer service is. Consumers buy what they want and will hire an attorney that gives them the right strategy and solves their problems, while at the same time treats them with dignity and respect.