Understanding Elder Law
Elder law is a relatively unknown segment of law and is often overlooked when seeking legal solutions. But for some seniors and their families an elder law attorney may be exactly what they need. Elder law is very broad and includes things like estate planning, probate, guardianship, real estate, nursing home neglect and a dozen other areas of law that affect the elderly. Typically one lawyer will not have expertise in every area, but will instead work with a network of attorneys who can supplement in specific areas when needed and vice versa. Also, keep in mind just because an individual is elderly does not mean they need an elder law attorney. Elder law is focused on legal problems specific to the elderly. Concerns with other areas of law may best be handled by attorneys dedicated to those areas.
An elder law attorney should be educated and informed on reverse mortgage. It is common for them to receive questions from clients, former clients, and their families about reverse mortgage when establishing estate plans or when they are considering a reverse mortgage for the first time. Although reverse mortgages can be an excellent and safe tool for many homeowners, they are not for everyone and are most effective when used as part of a financial and estate plan. It is highly encouraged to make sure any question receives an adequate answer when considering reverse mortgage – and often elder law attorneys are part of that equation. This can also help with avoiding reverse mortgage scams.
Here are a few questions to ask when seeking out a an elder law attorney:
- How long has the attorney been practicing?
- What percentage of the attorney’s practice is devoted to elder law?
- Does his or her practice emphasize a particular area of elder law? (for instance, guardianship or other specific work)
- How much elder law training has the attorney had, and from what organizations?
- Is the attorney a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys?
- Will the attorney be able to work within your time limitations?
In addition to a legal network, an elder law attorney should be familiar with the “elder network”, a network of public and private community resources to assist seniors in various capacities. This should include a reputable reverse mortgage lender.
Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the North Hollywood, Sunland, Tujunga, Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, Montrose and many more areas of southern California. Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.