Description: An elder law attorney can help you long before retirement with everything from long-term care to Medicare and even the creation of an estate plan.
You know that you need an elder law attorney. But as you ponder over your options, you might have noticed some attorneys have called themselves “certified,” while others do not. The certification they have received may come from organizations like AARP’s Legal Services Network while others are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Some attorneys go further and receive an official certification through an ABA-approved program.
While certification means they are proficient, that does not mean they are the right attorney for you. Instead, you should consider the pros and cons of certification, memberships or affiliations the attorney has, and their overall experience before solely choosing based on certification status.
Does an Attorney Require Certification in Plainview?
No, an attorney offering estate planning or elder law services in Plainview, NY, does not have to be certified in elder law. They do, however, require registration with the state bar association.
You can verify that your attorney is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and you can contact the Bar to see if there are any complaints or pending actions against an attorney you are considering.
What Does a Certification Mean?
Some attorneys will receive a certification in their legal specialty. This may require continuing education, testing, peer reviews, and passing exams to obtain that certification. Certification is an additional peace of mind. And while it does prove an attorney is capable in the area of elder law, you still want to consider the other items that go into an attorney’s qualifications.
Memberships Matter Too
Most attorneys will be members of organizations specific to their specialty. If an attorney practices elder law, they should be a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
NAELA is a professional organization that provides continuing education to its members, peer networking, and helps local clients more easily find qualified attorneys.
To be part of the Academy, attorneys must be practicing members of the bar and offer legal services that address the needs of the elderly. They must represent a high code of ethics, exhibit knowledge in their field, and show commitment to their clients as well as remain active in the Academy.
These memberships are paid, but that payment helps fund continuing education and advocacy programs offered by the organization. Attorneys who are members of NAELA also have access to comprehensive libraries, knowledge databases, and other resources.
Another membership you should look for from an attorney is in the AARP Legal Services Network. This means that the attorney you are considering offers you a free consultation if you are an AARP member. Because elder law attorneys deal with local seniors, you would expect one to be part of this network and honor the discounted consultation fee. If an attorney is not a member of the local legal services network, you lose out on the free consultation opportunity.
Do Not Forget about Local Advocacy Groups
You are working with a local attorney, so you should expect to see a local advocacy group or organization affiliation. In Nassau County, an attorney practicing in elder law should be a member of SUN (Senior Umbrella Network), Nassau Chapter.
This group offers local professionals networking and continuing education opportunities specific to elder law and planning.
Looking at Core Services
Once you have looked over certifications, memberships, and affiliations, the next step is the services offered by the prospective attorney.
Remember, certifications are only a minor piece of the puzzle. If your prospective attorney is a full-service firm, how much time can they dedicate to elder law continuing education? How often do they address elder law plans, Medicare planning, and other long-term care planning needs?
An attorney may offer elder law services, but your goal should be to find one that specifically works in the estate and elder law field. This attorney will be up-to-date on the latest changes, including proposed changes in legislature. They work consistently in the area of elder law; therefore, they are well-versed in their field, know what local probate court judges expect, and how Medicare representatives review applications.
An attorney working exclusively in this field will also help plan for the unexpected – like the need for guardianship, creating advanced directives, or taking care of loved ones later in life.
Here are just some of the services an elder law attorney can help you with:
- Living Will
- Healthcare Proxy and Advanced Directives
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medicaid Planning
- Estate Planning and Estate Tax Planning
- Asset Protection
- Estate Administration and Probate Litigation
Do You Need an Attorney for Long-Term Planning?
If you are ready to create your estate plan, need to adjust one you already have, or you need the services of an elder law attorney in your area, contact attorney Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. He is a member of the AARP Legal Services Network through Allstate and part of the NAELA group of professionals.
You can schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., now at 516-605-0625 or request more information online.