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Navigating the sea of complex legal issues is difficult for any age. And let’s face it, the older we get, the rougher those seas get! Elder Law Attorneys are highly-specialized legal representatives experienced in handling a wide range of issues specifically affecting the senior community, people with disabilities, and their families.
Elder law covers all aspects of planning, counseling, education, and advocating for clients. Attorneys who work in this field bring more to their practice than an expertise in the appropriate area of law. They also have knowledge of the senior population and their unique needs related to competence and aging. They are aware of the physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Because of their broad knowledge base they are able to more thoroughly address the legal needs and estate planning of their clients.
For example, when creating an estate plan, experienced elder law attorneys will take many things into consideration including the health of the person and the potential for nursing home care. Making sure that the goals and wishes of the person or couple are taken into account is of paramount importance.
Some of the issues may include:
The Florida Bar can certify some elder law attorneys as “Elder Law Specialists.” They must have practiced law for at least five years, be a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, and must demonstrate that 40 percent or more of their practice is focused in elder law for at least three years preceding the application for this special certification. Additionally, in order to be certified as a specialist, the attorney is required to pass a written exam and peer review.
There is also a second organization called the National Elder Law Foundation which provides a similar board certification for elder law attorneys. Attorneys that have this type of certification can be identified by the letters CELA (Certified Elder Law Attorney) after their name.
Preparation is a key! Remember, you are not only shopping for a service, you are shopping for somebody you must be comfortable with. They will be handling some of the most important details of your life.
Start by making a list of questions that you will want the lawyer to answer. Some questions may include:
It may be necessary for the attorney to have additional information when answering questions about specific matters. It’s important for you to bring critical documents and information that may be helpful in getting the answers you need.
Horizon Care Services can help you narrow your search for a qualified Elder Law Attorney. Ask our staff for recommendations!