Did you know someone who is 65 today has a 70 percent chance of needing long-care treatment in the future? Even seniors who have saved up for their waning years can find it a challenge to pay for nursing home costs, especially when relying only on Medicare coverage.
Medicare does not cover long-term nursing homestays. If you need longer care, you have to turn to Medicaid. Successfully applying for Medicaid when an emergency arises is difficult, however, and many families end up having to pay out of pocket for the services they need.
To prevent this, you want to turn to an attorney who can help you with Medicaid planning. Read on to learn how to choose the best elder law attorney.
1) Medicaid Planning: Referrals and Recommendations
Look for an elder law attorney in the National Elder Law Foundation or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database. These databases allow you to search by state and city to help you find someone qualified near you.
You want to ask local agencies who work with seniors, like:
- The Alzheimer’s Association
- Hospitals and nursing home social workers
- Area agency on aging
- Support groups for Parkinson’s, cancer, and more
Reach out to family and friends for recommendations. If you cannot get a referral, you can reach out to your local bar association.
2) Look For Experience
Elder law attorneys specialize in legal and financial issues that affect seniors, like wills, trusts, powers of attorney, legal incapacity, and Medicaid planning. Even attorneys who focus on elder law are not experienced in all of its areas.
Choose an elder law attorney who has been successful in Medicaid planning. Make certain the person is board-certified in elder and special needs law.
3) Ask About Fees
Make sure you understand how fees are structured. Some attorneys charge upfront fees for services, while others bill by the hour.
The elder law lawyer you consider should provide you with a client engagement letter where you can see the services they will provide as well as the fees they charge.
4) Consider Customer Service
Dealing with Medicaid planning is a process that takes time. You need a lawyer you can reach when you have questions.
Meet the elder law attorney in person for a consultation to get a sense of their personality. You want a lawyer who will speak to you in a way you can understand and clarify points as needed. If you don’t feel at ease with the attorney, choose another.
Prepare for the Future With the Right Attorney
When you choose a qualified lawyer to help you with Medicaid planning and other medical insurance concerns, you will secure your future care. Don’t risk your financial security or that of your family by waiting until it is too late.
To learn more about choosing an attorney for any legal needs, turn to our Law page!
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.