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Will My Mother's Elder Law Attorney Take My Needs and Priorities Into Account?

Will My Mother's Elder Law Attorney Take My Needs and Priorities Into Account?
Elder Law
Jason Neufeld
April 20, 2023

As our parents age, many of us find ourselves needing to engage an elder law attorney on their behalf. 

While the attorney is working for our parents, it's natural to wonder if they'll take our needs and priorities into account. 

In this blog post, we'll explore the role of an elder law attorney, discuss whether they consider the needs and priorities of their client's family members, and how to ensure your voice is heard.

Understanding the Role of an Elder Law Attorney

Elder law attorneys are legal professionals who focus on issues that affect older adults, including estate planning, Medicaid planning, and probate.

We are trained to help clients navigate complex legal issues related to aging and are often called upon to provide advice and assistance to families caring for aging parents.

The attorney-client relationship is critical to an elder law attorney's work. Clients should expect their attorney to provide expert advice and guidance, to help them understand their legal options, and to work diligently to protect their interests. 

The Attorney's Duty to Their Client

One of the primary ethical obligations of an elder law attorney is to act in their client's best interest. This means the attorney must prioritize their client's needs and wishes over those of any other party, including family members. 

However, this duty to their client does not mean that an attorney can ignore the needs and priorities of family members. In fact, many elder law issues involve multiple parties, and the attorney must navigate complex family dynamics to achieve the best outcome for the client.

The attorney must balance their duty to their client with their obligation to communicate effectively with all parties involved, including: 

  • Keeping the client informed of all developments in their case
  • Ensuring that the client understands the potential outcomes of any legal action
  • Working with family members to address their concerns and priorities while still acting in the best interest of the client

In some cases, the elder care lawyer may be required to make difficult decisions on behalf of their client, particularly if the client cannot make decisions for themselves. In these situations, the attorney may need to consider the client's expressed wishes and the needs and priorities of family members.

However, especially in the case of Medicaid planning. Our goal is generally to maximize resources available to our client in need of long-term care at home or in a facility.  Priority is given to improving the quality of my client’s life, over, maximizing the inheritance to their children. 

However, Medicaid Planning often has the pleasant side-effect of making it more likely that my client will have more to pass onto their heirs. 

Ultimately, an elder law attorney's duty to their client is complex and nuanced. Effective communication and a deep understanding of the attorney-client relationship are critical to achieving the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

The Importance of Communication

Effective communication is critical when working with an elder law attorney. This includes the attorney's communication with their client and other parties involved in the legal matter.

Effective communication with your mother's elder law attorney can help you in the following ways:

  • Understanding the legal process
  • Managing your expectations
  • Avoiding misunderstandings
  • Addressing concerns and questions
  • Planning for the future

Overall, good communication with your elder law attorney is essential to achieving the best possible outcome in your case. 

How to Ensure Your Mother's Attorney Understands Your Needs and Priorities

When working with an elder law attorney, it's important to ensure that your needs and priorities are taken into account. 

After all, it's your mother who is being represented by the lawyer—not you—so it's essential to communicate your wishes effectively.

So how do you ensure that the attorney understands your needs and priorities? 

  1. Be open and honest with the lawyer about what matters most to you regarding the situation. 
  2. Don't hesitate to ask questions if there's something you don't understand.
  3. Remember that ultimately your mother's attorney will decide how best to represent her interests under the law. 

Therefore, it is important for both you and the lawyer to clearly understand each other's goals from the outset. That way, everyone involved can work together in harmony towards a successful outcome for all parties involved.

Find the right fit for your family — contact us today for a consultation.

Jason Neufeld

Jason Neufeld is the Founder and Managing Partner of Elder Needs Law, a Florida estate planning and elder law firm he created in 2017. With more than 15 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including Medicaid planning, estate planning, elder law, probate, Medicare, and life insurance.

Jason received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami — School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar and the Broward County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Rising Star and Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers and among the Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend in 2024.

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