You’ve taken the plunge. You’ve had “The Talk.” You’ve identified the documents your parents need to put in place. Now you need some legal help to make it happen. If you don’t already have an attorney well versed in these issues, how do you find one? It’s not a simple as opening up the yellow pages. You’ll need to ask a lot of questions.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask your friends. Ask your co-workers. Ask other lawyers. Even ask your parent’s doctors—especially if they see a gerontologist. Be sure to ask not only why they like the person, but what they don’t like about them.
Ask for Facts
When you first call an attorney’s office, you will usually speak only to a secretary, receptionist, or office manager during the initial call. But no matter who you talk to, they should be able to answer some basic questions, that may determine whether you want to move on to an appointment.
- How long has the attorney been in practice?
- Are they licensed in eldercare or Trust & Estate Law?
- How long have they practiced in this field specifically?
- What percentage of their practice is devoted to this area of the law?
- Is there a fee for the first consultation and, if so, how much is it?
- What should you bring with you to the initial consultation?
Ask for Advice
You (and your parents) will be able to tell a lot just by how comfortable the attorney makes you feel. Do they listen to your concerns? Do they ask questions? Do they answer your questions? Or are they already thinking about their next client? In my view, it doesn’t matter how technically proficient someone is if you feel like a number, not a person. And let’s not forget money. Any reputable attorney should be able to give you a close estimate of how much the process will cost. You need to be comfortable with that number; there is literally no point in having a lawyer you don’t call because it is too expensive.