Author Topic: How to interview prospective lawyers (elder care law, wills, power of attorney)  (Read 379 times)

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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I need to sort out some basic finances, and such for my parents--briefly, my dad was hospitalized for over a month, and an infection has caused a very rapid onset of delirium, which has mostly, not entirely passed. He was discharged from the hospital today, and my elderly mother now will be taking care of him. She is very emotionally and physically overloaded by all of this, and is becoming very forgetful. My dad took care of all the finances and bills for over 50 years, and my mother was barely able to write a check a month ago, when time came to pay bills.

I have legal benefits through work. However, it is only a 30 min consultation with a few candidate lawyers, followed by a retainer agreement for the one I choose.

How do you choose a lawyer--aside from the obvious facets of how well they answer questions, and your initial impression of them? Ask for a resume (where they went to law school? where they finished in their class? etc?).

I am seriously looking at power of attorney, but wonder about the drawbacks, and in what circumstances I will be on the hook for their debt. I have never co-signed anything with them.

Any ideas or advice appreciated! Thanks.

GreenEggs

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I'm not sure of the best way to find good attorneys.  I've had good luck by asking friends, business associates, any other local professionals if they know of anyone that they would recommend.  I've had good luck with smaller firms.  Our estate attorney actually works solo, not even a secretary. 


Maybe if you mentioned your general location folks here could recommend some. 

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Hi, thanks, that's a good point. We are in Southern California (hate it here actually, but won't go on about that ;-) It is an important point because Medicaid, which pays for nursing home care, differs somewhat among states. Medical (the California version), I understand, is pretty good.

js82

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I have legal benefits through work. However, it is only a 30 min consultation with a few candidate lawyers, followed by a retainer agreement for the one I choose.

How do you choose a lawyer--aside from the obvious facets of how well they answer questions, and your initial impression of them? Ask for a resume (where they went to law school? where they finished in their class? etc?).

I am seriously looking at power of attorney, but wonder about the drawbacks, and in what circumstances I will be on the hook for their debt. I have never co-signed anything with them.

Any ideas or advice appreciated! Thanks.

I'd lean on recommendations, if anyone you know is familiar with the lawyers you interview.  Resume/where they went to school is not particularly important here - integrity, responsiveness, and willingness to listen are.  You don't need a Harvard graduate, you need someone who knows the legalities of wills/power of attorney, and is willing to listen to your specific situation and tailor their advice to it.

If you can't get recommendations, focus on how well the attorneys listen to the questions you ask and how much attention they pay to the details of your specific situation.

Sibley

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@ObviouslyNotAGolfer , there's a community related to elder care/dementia/etc. You need to get hooked into it. Those people know everything because they've learned the hard way. I found it via a monthly support group, but you may also talk to social workers. That community and the social workers will know what options for elder care exist locally better than almost anyone else. Also look into the Area Agency on Aging, they'll probably have info that will help.

NV Teacher

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We found that our local senior center was a good place to go with questions about local resources as my mother aged and needed additional help.  Help is out there, itís just a matter of connecting with the right people.