Questions to Ask When Hiring an Eldercare Attorney
If you might need the help of an Eldercare attorney, but you are not certain about how to select one, a great place to begin your search is this informative article. Additionally, here are some questions you might pose to the lawyers that you are considering:
1. How long have you been practicing elder law?
Just as you might want to know that your heart surgeon has invested many years performing transplants, it is certainly wise to consider an attorney’s level of experience when deciding whom to engage. Glossy marketing aside, look behind that image to determine if an attorney is the best fit for you. When doing your due diligence, do not hesitate to ask how long an attorney has been in practice. If the answer is defensive or deflects in any way, it might be wise to move on.
2. How long have you been practicing Eldercare Law?
Perhaps even more important than years in practice is the level of experience an attorney has in the desired area – Eldercare Law. Since the Great Recession of 2008, more and more attorneys from other practice areas have transitioned into Eldercare Law because of the perception that it is lucrative and recession-proof due to the aging of baby boomers. Thus, it is possible that an attorney who has been practicing twenty or thirty years only transitioned into the niche area of Eldercare Law recently.
3. What percentage of your law practice is elder law?
It might be helpful to verify whether an attorney being considered just dabbles in the world of Eldercare or if they spend their days immersed in its fine points. Whereas most eldercare firms offer a broad menu of services such as probate, estate and trust administration, guardianship, SSA disability, retirement planning, tax planning, business succession planning, and so forth, our firm handles only cases involving Eldercare or Special Needs estate planning.
4. Do you provide a free initial consultation?
It is difficult for a law firm to know whether someone who calls for help actually needs a service that the firm provides. With this in mind, law firms will often offer a no-cost initial “consultation” designed to allow the prospective client to investigate whether the firm offers a good fit … and the firm to determine whether it has the capability to help the prospective client. These consultations can take place either in person or over the telephone. Often misunderstood, initial consultations are generally not intended to provide formal legal advice to the prospective client. Instead, they are more exploratory in nature. It is not unreasonable for you to expect that firms you are considering should make this kind of an investment in the possibility of working with you. Our firm offers free Discovery Calls to those who inquire about working together. During your Discovery Call, we will gather important details about your circumstances and objectives in order to verify whether and how we can help. If it turns out that you need something other than what our firm provides, we will try to help you get to the right place. If the conclusion is that you need our help, we will share the basis for this conclusion and offer information about how our engagements work.
5. What will it cost?
Upon meeting a residential home builder, what would you expect him to say if your first question is “how much will you charge to build a house for me?” It is likely he will reply that a price quotation remains impossible because he does not yet know things like how many bedrooms you want, how many bathrooms you need, or whether you want a finished basement. Similarly, it is impossible for an Eldercare attorney to provide a fee quotation before having an opportunity to evaluate your circumstances, investigate your goals, and discuss your planning preferences. While this is true, our firm provides an approximate fee range following the Discovery Call so that you will have a reasonable expectation about what your fee might be. For those who wish to explore cost comparisons, you might keep in mind that achieving a true comparison will require that you complete a comprehensive consultation with each firm so that a final quotation from each can be compared. Additionally, many other factors will eventually define the quality of your experience and the value received. For some perspective on how our firm’s clients have enjoyed their experience working together, our Google Reviews might be helpful.
6. Will I work with you or someone else in the office?
This is an excellent question if you consider it important that your case be handled by the attorney you hire rather than a team of minions following the initial consultation. Our firm is small such that you can expect that all aspects of your case will be handled personally by Mr. MunstNAELAer.
7. Are you a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)?
NAELA is the premier national trade organization for Elder Law attorneys in the United States. Through NAELA and its vast resources, attorneys are able to build strong peer to peer relationships and stay on top of national trends in the law via conferences, eBulletins, Quarterly journals, a web-based data archive, and an active listserv. Eldercare attorney Dan Munster has been a member of NAELA since 1999.
8. What recognition have you received as an elder law attorney?
There are any number of peer-reviewed organizations which recognize an attorney for skill, expertise, and ability. These represent some of the extensive recognition Mr. Munster has received going back many years:
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers ranked Mr. Munster’s law firm among Georgia’s “Tier 1 – Best Law Firms” in the recently released 10th Edition of their prestigious annual rankings.
The Best Lawyers in America recently recognized Mr. Munster for his work in the categories of both Elder Law (2020) and Trusts & Estates (2019, 2020).
Martindale-Hubbell has awarded Mr. Munster its highest peer review rating (AV Preeminent) every year since 2005.
Atlanta Magazine has named Mr. Munster a Super Lawyer in the category of Elder Law every year since 2007.
Georgia Trend Magazine has recognized Mr. Munster in its annual Legal Elite edition in the category of Elder Law.
Google Reviews provide Mr. Munster with 100% 5-Star Rating
AVVO awards Mr. Munster its highest rating (10.0 Superb)