Choosing a lawyer can be a difficult task.  Lawyers are trained and expected to have reasonable competence in most areas of the law; however, you probably would not want an attorney whose primary practice is estate planning to handle your speeding citation.  Conversely, you would not want a busy criminal lawyer advising you on your parent’s medicare planning.  Prior to beginning a search, you should know lawyer advertising basics.  A Lawyer is allowed to communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law.  A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law; unless the lawyer has been certified as a specialists by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association and the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.

So how do you find an attorney who is able to handle estate planning and elder planning issues? First, you can do a web search with keywords such as “estate planning attorney” or “elder planning attorney.”  Sort through your list to see what the fields of practice of each attorney.  For elder planning attorneys, check the National Association of Elder Planning Attorneys.  Also, check the credentials of the attorney to see whether or not the attorney has additional degrees in a particular area (i.e. LL.M. or Masters in tax, estate, or elder planning).  Finally, contact the attorney and ask what portion of his or her practice is devoted to estate or elder planning.

For more detail on fields of practice and specialization, please see ABA Model Rule 7.4


Leave a Reply