When you find yourself in need of an Elder Law Attorney, you usually won’t have much time to make a decision. Maybe you just found out that Medicare only covers the first 100 days in nursing home. Maybe you’ve just been told you’re ineligible for Medicaid. Maybe the hospital just informed you they are discharging your loved one to a long term care facility and you’re frightened by the high cost of care.
There’s almost always some dire financial emergency looming in front of you and your family. The sooner you find a solution to your problem, the better.
However, you can’t allow a stressful situation to get in the way of finding the right Elder Law Attorney for you. After all, this person will be responsible for protecting your family’s financial well-being! To get the most out of your legal advice, it must come from someone you can confide in and trust.
5 Traits to Look for in a Houston Elder Law Attorney
Sounds like a pretty tall order, right? Here are five traits to look for to find the right Houston Elder Law Attorney:
1. Focused in Elder Law
It might seem obvious, but this is the first and most important trait of your ideal attorney: their law firm should focus on elder law.
Many folks will turn to general purpose attorneys for Elder Law-specific advice. Doing so can be a a huge mistake. The sheer volume of State-specific policies associated with elder care, and with Medicaid in particular, makes it extremely important to work with an attorney experienced in this area of the law.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if less than 25% of your prospective attorney’s cases have to do with Elder Law, consider working with a more experienced attorney. The more experienced, the better – competent elder law advice will always pay for itself.
2. Eager to Help You
Elder Law tends to be time-sensitive, so it’s important that you find an attorney who’s going to quickly help you identify an optimal solution. If you find yourself facing down eminent monthly nursing home costs, for example, then an eager Elder Law Attorney will be the one who makes sure you get the maximum short-term and long-term health care coverage.
In addition, an eager attorney will be easy to get a hold of. It’s stressful to need immediate legal advice and be unable to get in touch your attorney. If you get the feeling that your prospective attorney is overbooked, or if they make you feel like “just one more client then find a Houston Elder Law Attorney who’s going to pay attention to your problems.
Which brings me nicely to the next trait…
3. Compassionate Toward Your Specific Needs
A good Elder Law Attorney is compassionate. In other words, he or she genuinely cares about your problems and wants to help you solve them. He or she treats you the same way they’d treat a close friend or loved one.
A compassionate Elder Law Attorney is always on your side, and makes it a point to help you and your family as much as possible. This is particularly important during Medicaid planning or application because of the many fine-print policies that can make an enormous difference in asset protection. A truly compassionate attorney will do everything in their power to maximize the coverage that Texas’s Medicaid program will provide for your loved one.
4. Offers Transparent Legal Advice
While it’s important for you to trust that your attorney is 100% on your side, it’s also important for your attorney to be completely upfront with you. When your life’s savings are at stake, you want to know exactly which incomes and assets are on the table. The better Elder Law Attorneys know one of the most important ways to help a family cope in times of a financial crisis is by setting realistic expectations.
Keep in mind that this transparency should also apply to your attorney’s fees. Ideally, your attorney makes their payment-structure intuitive and easy to understand. If you have a billing question, you want a straightforward, no-nonsense answer.
5. Official NAELA Member
There’s an organization for Elder Law Attorneys called the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. It’s a group dedicated to the improvement of legal services for the elderly and the disabled. Its members make a commitment to continued education in elder law. They also tend to support other organizations that help the people they serve.
In short, NAELA serves as a benchmark for quality Elder Law Attorneys, and its members are much more likely to demonstrate all of the traits listed in this post.
If you want trustworthy legal advice on anything from Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, estate planning, guardianship, social security, or anything else related to elder law, look for the NAELA badge just like the one at the bottom of this page. You can also checkout the Texas Chapter of NAELA for a list of Houston Elder Law Attorneys.
In the end, remember that an Elder Law Attorney should be there to help you. By following the traits outlined in this article, you’re much more likely to find that “perfect” Elder Law lawyer – the one who’ll make your life easier, can secure your financial legacy, and ultimately provide your family with more freedom and peace of mind.
The Holland Elder Law team does it’s best to uphold each of these traits. If you have a question or legal issue to discuss, discover what a good Elder Law Attorney can do for you. Either contact us by email or phone for a free consultation.