I have been a caregiver for my mom for 3 years, she has dementia, kidney disease and diabetes, I lost my job at my company to take care of her, I am now able to have a part time job since I had to use all of my money and credit cards to take care of the both of us. I am grateful I had that but I am going to turn 60 this year so there is a lot of financial strain. As most of you out there are in the same position. Mom has no assets and her medical bill take all of her ss. I have a house that has a very small equity and want to speak with someone on what option I have so that mom and me can live. The option of selling is not good since I have a small amount of equity in my house and housing rent in Orange County is much higher than my mortgage. In either case who do I speak with, I thought about an elder attorney, but how do you know who is reputable. I don’t expect a handout out just some guidance of where to go and how to get there. I know my situation is not as bad as many other, I need guidance on what to do and who and where. Any information is appreciated. Thank you

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Gautew, first, I hope you're not anywhere near the fires in Orange County.

Second, what I've recommended and what I would do to find a reputable attorney is to research the county and state bar association lists of attorneys, by what's known as "practice area". That indicates the attorneys' specialties, such as med mal, real estate, estate planning, litigation, environmental law, or elder law (plus many more practice areas).

Estate planning was more or less the umbrella Practice Area before elder law became a PA of its own; the fields can overlap though.

My personal preference is a law firm with multiple practice areas, some of which (such as real estate) can complement estate planning and elder law. Review their websites, see how many attorneys there are in each practice area, review their backgrounds and specialties, how long they've been in practice, whether there are associates and partners in each Practice Area, and how long they've been with the firm. You're looking for background information on practice longevity, activities in the community, etc.

Then call, after making a checklist of issues, and ask whether they charge by the hour or by the estate plan. Also ask about procedure - do they meet with you for the first time, draft a plan, meet a second time to discuss options, and then a third time to sign. Or do they prepare a plan from the first meeting? Some attorneys don't offer time for the client to review the documnts; others do.

I find that a mid size firm is better than one of the larger ones, although I would recommend them for other issues. The large firms (200+/- attorneys or so) often cater to "individuals of high net worth." That's not us!

I've never used a financial planner, but our attorney did recommend one. That to me would be the best way, as I know little about the financial planners in the area and don't want to spend time calling a lot of them when we really don't have that many issues or planning to be done that can't be addressed by our estate planning attorney.
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Thank you for the information.
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Your mother should be eligible for Medicaid. Their are programs within that to help with in-home care and others for if Mom needs to go to a care center at some point. An attorney who specializes in Elder Law would be very helpful at this point.
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