Elder law is a special area of the law that deals with many of the legal issues seniors face in our country. Los Angeles elder law attorneys are experienced in handling the complex social and financial issues that seniors often deal with. To be good at their jobs, Los Angeles elder law attorneys need an awareness of the common misconceptions relating to the competency of the elderly and the aging process in general. If you are considering seeking the advice of an elder law attorney in California, here is some basic information to prepare you.
Common examples of the legal issues Los Angeles elder law attorneys handle
Some of the basic legal matters that an elder law attorney is equipped to handle include Medicare issues, Medi-Cal planning for long-term care, general estate planning and trust administration, probate matters, incapacity planning, and the need for conservators.
Estate planning considerations for seniors
When it comes to estate planning, in general, a comprehensive estate plan for seniors will most likely include, among other things, instructions for what to do if you become disabled or incapacitated; life insurance policies, disability income insurance policies, and long-term care insurance policies; retirement planning strategies and business succession planning strategies to be used upon retirement, disability or death.
Be sure to review and modify your plans as you continue to age
After your plan has been created, it must be gone over and updated to address any changes in your family and financial circumstances throughout your life. Also, if you started out with a simple estate plan originally, you can expand that plan later in life, as your needs and goals for your family change.
How clients choose their Los Angeles elder law attorneys
Despite the fact that most Los Angeles elder law attorneys handle the same types of legal issues, not every attorney is comfortable working on every type of legal matter. So, when it comes time to find an elder law attorney to assist you, the first step is to determine which issues are important to you.
Let’s say you have questions about Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage for the long-term care you may need in the future, you should seek an attorney who frequently handles Medi-Cal and Medicare issues. For instance, if your spouse is suffering from a long-term illness, your attorney should understand how Medi-Cal planning works so they can handle any legal issues that may arise in terms of inheritance.
Preparing for the first consultation with Los Angeles elder law attorneys
In addition to finding out whether the attorneys handle the relevant legal issues, you can also ask whether they have been practicing elder law for a while and what percentage of their legal practice is dedicated to that particular specialty.
In most cases, the initial consultation will be free, but there are some other things you should know before your first meeting. For instance, you will likely need to bring certain documents or other information with you to your first appointment. If you have everything you need, then there shouldn’t be a need to reschedule or make another appointment simply to provide the required information.
What do Los Angeles elder law attorneys charge?
Again, most attorneys do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. The fee for any legal services that are provided after that first meeting is usually based on the type of services provided. In fact, some fees for specific types of legal services are established by state statutes. One primary example of that is probate services.
Attorney fee schedule for probate work in California
In California, the fees attorneys are authorized to charge for probate services are established by statute and are based on the gross value of the estate. According to this fee schedule an elder law attorney can charge 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate; 3% of the next $100,000 in assets, 2% of the next $800,000 in assets, 1% of the next $9 million in assets, and 0.5% of the next $15 million. For any amount that exceeds $25 dollars, a reasonable amount will be determined by the court. Additionally, there may be other necessary fees or expenses incurred during the probate process.
If you have questions regarding elder law attorneys, or any other elder law or estate planning needs, please contact the Schomer Law Group for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (310) 337-7696.