When you need an elder law specialist who is concerned with the rights of the elderly, you need to find someone who isn’t just a litigation lawyer. Chicago residents may find someone who is skilled at arguing a case but isn’t familiar with issues facing the elderly if they don’t narrow down their search to skilled attorneys who are also familiar with elder case law and specifics of retirement, elder abuse and other concerns of those over sixty-five. You need someone who is not only experienced in the courtroom and at the negotiating table, but someone who is compassionate, patient, and focused on helping the elderly.

If you need an attorney who specializes in elder law, ask the following questions to ensure you’re finding the right person to help you or your loved ones:

Are You Familiar With Elder Law?

Sometimes the most obvious questions are overlooked. Simply ask any attorney you are considering whether he or she is familiar with the many elder laws for your state. While any law firm can handle elder law issues, not every firm has attorneys on staff who are thoroughly familiar with the complexities of elder law or who specialize in litigating or negotiating elder law issues. Be sure and ask for the names and relative experience of each person in the firm who specializes in this particular type of legal work.

If you’re looking for a guardianship lawyer, Chicago has hundreds of attorneys who will be glad to help you, but not all of them have handled enough guardianship cases to truly make them experts. Ask how many guardianship cases the attorney has handled. Experience is crucial when you’re setting up or contesting a guardianship. Also be sure and ask how much experience the firm’s litigation lawyers have in case your elder law issue turns into a court case. Finding an elder law specialist who keeps up to date with the multitude of constantly changing elder laws in Chicago is crucial if you want results that will protect you and your loved ones.

Does Your Law Firm Handle Every Aspect of Elder Law?

Legal issues surrounding the well-being of the elderly are numerous. Don’t forget to ask any law firm you’re interviewing which areas of elder law they specialize in or are familiar with. While you may need an attorney to draw up a will or create a power of attorney now, you’ll probably need a litigation lawyer or specialist in retirement planning at some point down the road. You don’t want to have to shop around for a new attorney every time your needs change. Find a law firm that handles every aspect of elder law, including estates, trusts, Medicare issues, elder abuse and any other issue that could affect you and your family. If you need a guardianship lawyer, Chicago has dozens, but only a few are knowledgeable enough to handle all aspects of elder law for you.

Ask the attorneys you are interviewing which of these elder law specialties they routinely handle:

Guardianship, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills;

• Medicaid and Medicare;

• Social Security;

• Estate Planning and Management;

• Long-Term Care Arrangements;

• Elder Abuse;

• Pension Issues and Retirement Plans; and

• Mental Health Issues.

What Elder Law Organizations Do You Belong To?

Elder law specialists take pride in their work and support other attorneys and organizations that are involved with protecting the elderly. The finest litigation lawyers who focus on elder issues will belong to organizations that promote elder law reform and understanding. Ask if the attorney is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA or a local branch of the Area Agency on Aging.

Are You One Of The Best Lawyers I Can Find?

There is no one measurement that defines an outstanding attorney, but the “Super Lawyer” designation is one of the most reliable. This designation is determined by fellow attorneys and represents the top 5% of all lawyers. You can rest assured that an attorney is one of the best litigation lawyers or elder care attorneys around if his peers have chosen him for the distinction of being named a “Super Lawyer.”

Do You Help Others Learn About Elder Laws?

The most fervent advocates for the elderly are the ones who don’t stop at handling elder law cases when their work week ends. Look for attorneys who also have speaking engagements or offer seminars to those over 65 regarding elder care issues. Education is central to helping individuals like you understand the complexities of elder law.