Consumer Guide: Legal Professionals

Legal Professionals - Estate Planning and Elder Law

When it comes to planning for the future and ensuring your assets are protected, it’s important to seek out the services of an elder law or estate planning attorney. These attorneys specialize in the legal needs of seniors and can help you navigate complex legal issues surrounding healthcare, long-term care, and the distribution of assets after death. They can help you create wills, trusts, and other legal documents that ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are provided for. But with so many attorneys out there, how do you choose the right one for you? The following tips can help you find an attorney who will provide the legal guidance you need.

Tips From the Experts: Key Factors to Consider When Working with an Estate Planning or Elder Law Attorney

Note: Any item listed with an asterisk (*) below is a NAOSA Gold Standard of Professional Practice™ and is required for NAOSA professional membership. For more details, please visit the NAOSA Consumer Guides page.

Look for an attorney who specializes in elder law or estate planning

These attorneys will have specific expertise in the legal needs of seniors and will be well-equipped to help you navigate the legal complexities of planning for the future.

Check the attorney's experience and credentials

Look for an attorney who has a strong track record of successfully handling cases similar to yours. You can also check the attorney's credentials to ensure they have the necessary qualifications to handle your case.

Consider the attorney's communication style

You want an attorney who will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and keep you informed throughout the legal process.

Ask for a fixed price or a “maximum fee pledge” for work pertaining to wills and trusts*

NAOSA member attorneys are required to quote a fixed price for wills and trusts or, if an exact amount cannot be given, then the NAOSA member attorney will give what is known as a “maximum fee pledge.” A maximum fee pledge guarantees that the work will not exceed the quoted maximum fee. If you decide to work with a non-NAOSA member and the attorney will not guarantee either, you run the risk of receiving a bill that is over what you expected. With so many other options available, it's best to find an attorney where you know your costs upfront.

Request that you receive written notice prior to any additional work being performed on your behalf*

Many times, clients will request additional work to be performed that is outside of the scope of the original work request. If this happens, you are rightly subject to the hourly retainer agreement signed when you initially hired the attorney. Be sure to ask that you be notified in writing if this happens. This will help eliminate any surprises and miscommunication between you and the attorney.

Don't wait too long to seek out legal help

The sooner you begin planning for the future and protecting your assets, the more options you will have. Waiting until a crisis arises can limit your options and make the legal process more complicated and costly.

Are you a professional in the legal field?
We welcome your constructive input to assist in the protection of all consumers. Please contact us.

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NAOSA requires members to act in utmost good faith when working with clients. Members must agree to act in a fiduciary manner in a way that the member reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client. In addition to compliance with all federal and state regulations, each professional member of the National Association of Senior Advocates must also follow and act in accordance with the NAOSA Consumer Guides published herein.  Members who are found not in compliance with these standards will be censured, with membership subject to revocation.

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