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I'm looking for an Elder Care Attorney in Southern California to make sure all of mom's trust paperwork is in order, she has advanced Alzheimers. I've seen numerous posts on this site saying "Find an attorney that will give a free consultation".


So, I went to NELF (National Elder Law Foundation) and called all the local EC attorneys and the minimum consult is $425-$750 for an hour.


I would be okay spending the money (mom's) but would prefer a free consult and a recommendation from here would be great!


Fingers crossed someone on this wonderful site has an experienced, trusted EC in So. Cal. to recommend.

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How advanced is mom's dementia? It is her trust, only she can change it. It is up to the attorney to determine whether she is competent to make any changes. Even as DPOA you cannot change these documents. Any attorney that would consider making the changes, if mom is not competent, is unethical and could well stand to lose the license to practice law.
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Reply to gladimhere
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I think the issue is two fold. You say Mum has already prepared her paperwork and has dementia so she cannot change it. Generally a free consult is a way to get a new client and the lawyer makes an income in billing for services provided. The service you are requesting, a document review is a billable service.
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Reply to Tothill
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Kim, www.nelf.org is the best place to find a certified elder law attorney. NEALA is an organization that any attorney can sign up with as an "elder law" attorney with no special qualifications or even experience in the field.

You will not find an attorney that will go over paperwork for free, just is not going to happen. It's more general information and guidance. I found that using a certified elder law attorney was far cheaper because it is what they are doing everyday, they have taken the effort to get certified, so you are not paying for their education.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Hi Alva & Midkid, lots of good information to consider. Mom's original trust needs to be looked over and possibly updated ( I am co-trustee with the right to make changes) and I'm also looking to set up a legal caregiver agreement, both will require a fee so there is money to be made.

The original trust was prepared by an attorney referred to my dad by a fellow Rotary member years ago. I've also always been one to look for a referral when doing business. This can be good and bad as sometimes I procrastinate without having a sure thing.
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Reply to kimberlitas
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AlvaDeer Sep 10, 2020
You will be paying for a Trust and Estate Lawyer to do this work for you. This doesn't fall under "free consult". wishing you the best on a good price.
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Kimberlitas, before the advent of the pandemic, attorneys often gave limited free, very general advice at the Area Agency on Aging caregiver expos.    Those expos were cancelled in my area a few years ago, so then there were just the local Senior Center sponsored caregiver expos.   Attorney presence was more limited, as were the general advice sessions.

An attorney might give general advice and overviews, but I don't think any would agree to review documents prepared by another attorney, especially w/o compensation.

Put yourself in their place:  what's in it for them?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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We all want to save money--but honestly, the $1500 we spent setting up our trust was money well spent. I called and attorney I trusted and was sent all the paperwork to fill out. Then we met with him for an hour and talked in depth about things. The he filled out the actual trust and we met again and made a few changes and signed it. While I did most the 'work' he made it legal and made it make sense and worked it so our kids will inherit or we'll spend it down for care.

We thought we could do this 'alone' but when we got down to the nitty gritty, our attorney had so many ideas and ways we could save our kids grief and such when we pass if we did things a certain way. Ways to avoid inheritance taxes, what we wanted for final wishes, etc. We would never have known.

My son is an attorney, asking him to give an hour of his time for 'advice' is basically denying him his income. He will happily give you 15 minutes, but that's about it. He won't even give me, his MOTHER, more than 15 minutes w/o saying he'll be billing me.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I think you could find an attorney who would give free consult if you were going to MAKE a trust. Then you would be saying what sort of trust, getting an estimate, and being told what you need. But to ask an attorney to, for FREE, look over the work of your Trust done by another attorney? That won't be happening to be frank. And yes, that is the fee you are looking at in So Cal. I would go ahead and present your Trust for a reading and spend the 450.00. This page doesn't really give recommendations. There are ads on the right of the page of page sponsors, but it is on you whether you ever click on one.
You just may get a recommend from someone living in So Cal in your private messages of an attorney one of us used and were happy with.
Good luck, and how great that you are getting everything together so well. As you will read here, so many problems occur because the business wasn't handled and things were no spoken of before the storm hit.
If you have someone you really recommend, you will be in a position to Private Message another with your same question in future if you like, but I am guessing that names and phone numbers are not even allowed in our conversation pages, just because it does SEEM like advertising.
Admins may weigh in as to whether my guess is right or wrong.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Thanks MJ1929. I've had DPOA for 4 years. I'm caring for her along with a caregiver 3 times a week. Looking to set a caregiver agreement.
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Reply to kimberlitas
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HandelontheLaw.com is a referral service you can use to find an attorney in Southern California.

If your mom has advanced Alzheimer's, she's not competent to make any changes, so if you need to make major changes, it'll cost $$$.

Don't expect a free consultation -- that's how attorneys make their living. Just bite the bullet and find one of the less expensive attorneys to go over her paperwork, or you might be able to have a paralegal check it for less.
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