← Back to Blog

The 7 Most Important Questions To Ask an Elder Law Attorney

Financial planning with professionals

When you’re planning your retirement, you have a lot to think about. Where would you like to live? What are your wishes for long-term care planning? How do you protect your estate and other assets? Having an elder law attorney on your side can help you examine your legal options and find the best solutions that secure your future.

According to the American Bar Association, you can also consult with an elder law attorney for wills and trusts, powers of attorney, public benefits, and employment and retirement advice.

You’ll likely have many questions about what you need to do to have all your legal documents in order, but you may not know where to start. Take a look at these important questions to ask an elder law attorney so you can prepare for your first meeting.

Elder Law Attorney Responsibilities and Services

An elder law attorney represents both older people and people with special needs in all types of issues – legal, financial, medical and more.

They specialize in providing these legal services to seniors and understand the concerns and needs of their clients – especially when it comes to retirement planning.

Elder law attorneys can help you with legal matters regarding:

    • Estate and financial planning
    • Health care and long-term care planning
    • Social security
    • Medicare/Medicaid
    • Guardianship

    All these matters can help you enter retirement with the peace of mind that everything is taken care of, and you can embrace the new chapter in your life stress-free.

    Financial planning with an elder law attorney

    7 Questions To Ask an Elder Law Attorney

    1. What is your experience and background in elder law?

    You’ll want to find out whether the attorney you’re talking to is a certified specialist in elder law. When you begin your search, you can look at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
    This is an organization that supports and provides resources for lawyers practicing elder law. You can use the find a lawyer tool to find an attorney in NAELA near you.

    2. What documents do I need for estate planning?

    Estate planning can span many different legal matters – including a last will and testament, living trusts, living wills (advance directives), durable power of attorney, and medical power of attorney.

    While all this can seem overwhelming, an experienced elder law attorney will be able to explain everything and walk you through what you need to do.

    3. What kind of deed is a lady bird deed, and would having one benefit me?

    You may have heard stories about difficulties in passing real estate to adult children because of taxes and how you can avoid those costs. The lady bird deed allows your property to pass to the person you’ve left it to without probate. However, this type of deed is only available in five states: Florida, Texas, Michigan, Vermont and West Virginia.You maintain control of the property for the rest of your life. Your lawyer will be able to tell you whether this method is the best route for you if you live in one of the states mentioned here.

    4. How do I plan for a dependent or disabled child?

    If you have a dependent or disabled child whom you want to continue to provide for, your lawyers will help you go through the necessary steps to ensure their future financial situation is secure.

    5. How can I set up a trust?

    If you want to set aside money or other assets for certain beneficiaries, you can do so in a trust. It’s important to discuss your wishes with your lawyer so they can go over the different types of trusts and which ones would benefit you or the beneficiaries the most.

    6. What do I need to do to protect my assets?

    Asset protection is likely a common concern when people are planning their retirement. Elder law lawyers will work with you to ensure your assets are protected for future needs.

    7. What is your fee?

    Ask what the elder law attorney’s fee is upfront so you’re aware of what it will cost to provide your retirement and estate planning. Costs vary by state and the extent of services provided, so you’ll definitely want to discuss fees before engaging an elder law attorney.

    When you bring these questions to your attorney, you’ll have a productive and informative meeting that will give you a strong start to planning your retirement and future.

    senior couple looking at paperwork on couch from their elder law attorney

    Envision Your Future at Laurel Circle

    As you plan for retirement, consider what you would like your life to look like immediately after you retire, and then five years from now, and even 10 years from now. When you look at what you want in retirement, you may want to consider how senior living can provide you with the ideal retirement lifestyle.

    Laurel Circle, a senior living community in Bridgewater, NJ, provides a robust independent living lifestyle along with higher levels of care within the same community. This means that you can age in place without worrying about what would happen if your health care needs change.

    When you move to Laurel Circle, you’ll find that everything is centered around you living the healthiest and best life possible. This is more than balancing your physical and emotional health. At Laurel Circle, we approach health and well-being through eight dimensions of wellness, which include:

      • Physical wellness
      • Emotional wellness
      • Social wellness
      • Intellectual wellness
      • Vocational wellness
      • Environmental wellness
      • Spiritual wellness
      • Health services

      In addition to wellness, residents have access to amenities and services at Laurel Circle that include:

      • A variety of dining venues and dining options
      • An arts and crafts studio
      • A state-of-the-art fitness center
      • A library
      • Postal services
      • Salon/spa and barbershop
      • Walking paths
      • Resident gardens

      Everything at Laurel Circle provides you with opportunities each day – whether it’s trying a new activity, socializing with friends and neighbors, or taking advantage of all the amenities available at the community so you can enjoy a fulfilling and engaging retirement.

      Planning for the future can be challenging, but when you become a resident at a community like Laurel Circle, you’ll have the confidence and comfort of knowing you’ll always be taken care of. Call us today at 908-595-6600 to schedule a personalized visit to our beautiful community.