Questions to Ensure You Are Working with a Qualified Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney

1. How can I be certain an attorney is qualified to help me with my Estate Planning or Elder Law needs?

Answer: We advise that seniors and their families work with a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) who actively participates in the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA). CELAs earn this prestigious designation by completing a process that requires years of focused Elder Law and Estate Planning practice, a full-day national Bar-style exam, extensive continuing legal education, and multiple peer references from other expert Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorneys. MassNAELA is the preeminent Elder Law organization in Massachusetts with more than 500 attorneys focused on improving the lives of seniors and disabled individuals

Attorneys Patrick Curley and Lucy Budman are among just two dozen CELAs in the Commonwealth. Patrick has helped lead MassNAELA since 2010 through his service on the Board of Directors. Our attorneys are recognized by their peers for their expertise in this area of law. Patrick Curley has been selected for inclusion in Massachusetts Super Lawyers since 2011, and Attorney Lucy Budman has been selected for inclusion in Massachusetts Super Lawyers as a Rising Star since 2012

2. How can I know if an attorney be available to help me in a crisis?

Answer: Your attorney should have trained professional staff and detailed systems in place to promptly and accurately address your needs in a crisis.

Curley Law Firm offers clients peace of mind with our team of three Elder Law Attorneys and multiple professional Paralegals and Legal Assistants.

3. How can I tell whether the attorney and his staff keep up to date on legal developments?

Answer: Laws change and your Attorney needs to know all your options and opportunities under today's laws. Confirm if your Attorney regularly attends the MassNAELA educational meetings and other continuing legal education events.

Attorney Patrick Curley serves on the MassNAELA Board of Directors and Attorney Lucy Budman helps lead its Publications Committee. Our attorneys and professional staff participate in continuing legal education programs. Our attorneys frequently offer presentations, publish articles, and have been invited to appear on TV to present their expertise on Estate Planning and Elder Law.

4. Is it important that elder law and estate planning are the focus of the attorney's law practice?

Answer: Practicing in too many areas can keep an Attorney from mastering complex laws and regulations. Your attorney should focus most or all of their law practice on Estate Planning and Elder Law to develop and maintain the expertise required in these complex areas of law. Visit the attorney's website to see if their focus is really Elder Law.

Curley Law Firm focuses exclusively on Estate Planning and Elder Law.

5. How do I know that the attorney will protect my personal, confidential information?

Answer: Your attorney must comply with the MA Data Security Law of 2010. Failure to comply with this law risks disclosure of private client information. Compliance requires, among other things, a written data security plan, shredding all confidential information, and encrypted software and computer equipment, and vendor compliance. In addition, detailed background checks performed by licensed providers are necessary to ensure your confidential financial information does not fall into the wrong hands.

Curley Law Firm and its 3rd party vendors comply with the MA Data Security Law. Curley Law Firm performs background checks on all employees.

6. Will the attorney and staff treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of age, special needs, or mental capacity?

Answer: Too many attorneys do not give seniors the respect they deserve. Your attorney should talk directly to clients and treat them with dignity and respect, regardless of age or decisional capacity. If an attorney does not respect you, leave their office and locate a truly Qualified Elder Law attorney using this handout as a guide.

Curley Law Firm prides itself on the service and respect we offer our clients.

7. Should the initial consultation be free?

Answer: As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for....." If you expect a Qualified Elder Law attorney to give your matter the attention it deserves both before and at your Initial Consultation, and to offer you informed analysis of the legal issues at the Consultation, then you should expect to pay for the Consultation.

Curley Law Firm charges a standard Initial Consultation fee.

Contact a lawyer at Curley Law Firm LLP today by calling toll-free (866) 406-8582 or contacting us through our Intake Form.