The current legal market is shifting from one where a single individual can handle almost any legal issue to a market that requires specialization. Much like the medical field, these days it is common for each attorney to have a specialty. As a result, just like you would not go to a cardiologist to treat a broken foot, it is generally best to avoid asking a family law practitioner about your estate planning needs.
Narrowing it down to a specific area of law is not enough. A number of attorneys may have a legal practice that would cover your legal issue in your area. So, how can you find the right attorney for you?
Start by asking for recommendations. Talk to trusted friends in similar financial situations. Have they used an elder law attorney? Did they like the legal professional? If not, what went wrong?
Prepare questions for an initial consultation. Once you have a couple of candidates, gather a list of questions to ask during an initial consultation. These questions can include an inquiry about how much of the practice the attorney devotes to elder law issues and how often the attorney handles your legal issue. If you are looking for someone with experience in Medicaid planning, ask about that specific area of law.
Elder law attorneys can offer a variety of legal services, including help with the transfer of assets to avoid spousal impoverishment if one party needs care at a nursing facility or the planning needs that should be addressed for those who wish to avoid nursing care. Ask about these services and others you may need to better ensure you find the attorney that meets your needs.