Elder law lawyers provide a range of valuable services that older individuals tend to need. Scheduling a meeting with an attorney can be the first step towards setting yourself and your family up for a successful future. When arranging an appointment, you may wonder, What questions should I ask an elder law attorney? Preparing the right questions can help you find the best attorney for your needs. It can also start the conversation on the right foot and avoid wasting time and money.
At the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C., our practice is focused solely on elder law so that we can provide our clients with a practical and comprehensive set of services. As your lawyers, we will provide the skilled and professional representation you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Questions for an Elder Law Attorney
When discussing your legal needs, there are several questions that every client should ask.
Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?
Most people will find that they need an elder law attorney at some point. However, there are some issues that might be best solved by an attorney with a different focus. It is crucial to immediately determine whether your reason for seeking an attorney is well suited for an elder law lawyer. If not, many attorneys will at least point you in the right direction.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
Experience is a valuable asset in the practice of elder law. Every estate and issue is different. An inexperienced attorney might not be able to quickly identify the best way to protect your interests, costing you time and money. Finding a law firm backed by years of experience will likely improve your outcome.
How Do You Structure Your Costs?
It is difficult for any attorney to give an exact estimate of the total cost of solving a complicated legal problem. However, they should be able to provide you with a detailed breakdown of their fee structure so you do not face any unexpected expenses.
How Can You Help Me Protect My Assets?
One of the main jobs of an elder law attorney is to protect people’s assets far into the future. The law provides lawyers with many tools to do this. The types of devices to use and how they should be set up differ based on an individual’s needs. A skilled elder law attorney should be able to formulate a comprehensive plan that best suits your needs.
What Documents Should I Have in Place to Protect My Assets?
In most cases, no one document will fully protect your assets. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advanced directives, life estates, and many other documents can work together to provide the best protection. An experienced elder law attorney should be able to walk you through each document and explain the ones that best suit your needs.
How Should I Plan for Medicaid?
Planning for Medicaid is an easy issue to overlook. Medicaid has strict income limits, and many families can not qualify without prior planning. An attorney can help protect your assets from the high costs associated with end-of-life care.
Do I Need a Will?
In most cases, yes. Without a will, the courts will distribute your estate based on New York’s intestate succession laws. However, relying on these default rules is risky as it may be difficult to predict who will get what when complex family dynamics are involved. And the default rules might bestow your property on someone you did not wish to inherit from you. You can see how your assets might not be adequately protected without a comprehensive estate plan. However, in some rare situations, a will might be unnecessary. An estate attorney should be able to help you with this decision.
Is a Will Sufficient, or Should I Set Up a Trust?
Trusts allow you more control over how your assets are distributed. They also can provide more protection from creditors and taxes. The downside is that trusts are more complex and expensive to set up. An elder law lawyer can help you decide if the upfront costs are worth the long-term benefits.
How Can I Maximize the Benefit I Provide to My Heirs?
Maximizing the benefit you can provide heirs is one of the most critical estate planning goals. Lawyers can employ legal strategies to protect your assets from creditors and minimize your estate’s tax burden. For instance, using beneficiary designations in any property that allows it will cut down on probate time and costs—and ultimately get your heirs more money.
How Do I Ensure My Wishes Are Legally Enforceable?
Creating a will or trust is just a waste of time and money if, in the end, the court ignores it. It is essential to ensure that every legal document is written and executed in accordance with New York law. An estate lawyer will help you rest easy knowing your estate plan is legally valid.
How Should I Choose an Estate Executor?
Choosing an estate executor is one of the most critical decisions in estate planning. An executor must be trustworthy and competent. Some people prefer a family member or close friend, while others choose a professional. An elder law attorney can help you weigh your options when making this vital decision.
How Do I Maintain Control Over End-of-Life Care?
End-of-life care is another issue that many people put off until it is too late. It is important to lay out your wishes for how you would like to be cared for if the time comes when you cannot express your wishes. A lawyer can help you create an advance directive and appoint a trusted individual to help make these decisions for you.
What Other Issues Can an Elder Law Attorney Help Me With?
From suing for elder abuse to handling real estate transactions, there are issues an elder law attorney can help with that go beyond estate and medical planning. When meeting with an attorney, you should get a firm understanding of other services they provide.
Call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. for All Your Elder Law Needs
At the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C., we can help with all your elder law needs. Our services include:
- Estate planning,
- Wills and trusts,
- Estate litigation,
- Medicaid planning,
- Special needs planning,
- Advanced directives,
- Real estate transactions, and
Our attorneys work diligently to provide every client with the most current and innovative legal strategies available. Schedule a consultation now.