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I have seen many case managers, nurses, physical therapists etc in the last few years.
The only good advice was to NOT trust the walker to be stable.
Most “teaching” consists of asking a few questions and making check marks on forms.
Is this NORMAL?

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Jo, really the elder law attorneys are there to help you with complicated legal matters, or legal forms you must get RIGHT in order to function. They can help with Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trustee of Trust, and anything where you might need to seek guardianship over something.
As to Medicaid, they will answer your questions themselves, and if you have SPECIFIC questions, many here can help you walk through things you need to walk through. For instance I am my brother's POA and Trustee of his Trust, and I have dealt with some Social Security issues, and with some IRS issues. Another good site for you to check on is Youtube where people will actually walk you through forms, such as for instance I recently looked up about how to apply for an EIN number after death for someone else, and there was good information there on how to do the online form. Many of us have dealt with situations with DMV and other things. So we can advise as to specific questions at times, and at times you will raise an issue where we might say "Get to an Elder Law Attorney. They are very expensive. We are talking one hundreds of dollars and hour, so you don't want to waste their time. Here people will tell you how many years of "lookback " a particular state has, what forms you need, how to be careful about how you handle finances and the recording of them (be meticulous in that). And etc.
So come to the forum for specific questions and see who can help. Good luck.
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Jo123456 Nov 30, 2019
Thanks. That is what I suspected from other answers, but you have put it very clearly.
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Jo,  you can save yourself some money by doing your own research on nursing homes and other facilities.    Paying an attorney to do those kinds of searches really would NOT be the best use of an attorney's time, or your money.

When I switched from a rehab center we'd use for a few years, I called the Alzheimer's Assn. and asked for their list of rehab centers.  I did the same thing for a hospice facility.

They were very prompt, supplied a good list of homes, then I called with my checklist before going out to see (inspect!) them. 

You might also ask your brother's oncologist; my sister's gave me some good advice at the time on resources; she even asked if my sister needed cleaning, etc. help in her home.
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Jo123456 Nov 30, 2019
Wow, thanks.
Actually my own sister does need cleaning help now that my time is taken with my brother.
Her home health and others that she has had in her home never suggested that, but my husbands grandparents got that help ( back in the day).
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Thanks everyone for your help.
I expect that we might need to consult the attorney regarding Medicaid and possible nursing home situations if at all.
We will continue to care for my brother at home if/as long as possible .
I have learned so much more from this and similar sites than I have from the “experts”. I appreciate everyone’s help in attempting to navigate what to us is a maze.
Thank you.
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DollyMe, I'm not sure what "lesser ranked" attorneys means, but if you're referring to attorneys with practice areas that merely include elder law as well as other practices, I have to disagree with you.  

Law is as specialized as medicine.  PCPs or general practitioners may have a broader knowledge, but when higher level knowledge is involved, it's been my experience that they refer a patient to a specialist.   Law practice is similar.  

I don't know about other states but in Michigan, paralegals had been limited by the State Bar in what they could do.   E.g., I rarely did research b/c I didn't have the training to do it and make conclusions on legal precedents; that's part of law school.   Some paralegals who've worked for estate planning attorneys and learned their practice could do more, but paralegals' work still, absolutely has to be reviewed by an attorney.

If by "estate planner" you mean an attorney in that field, I would agree that they're just as qualified, if not more, b/c their practice includes an area of law broader than just elder law.  

It's not brain surgery, but interpretation of law almost could be, especially after the last legislative changes.
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anonymous912123 Nov 30, 2019
I understand Law, having spent 35 years in the legal arena. Most elder issues are boiler plate, yes, if the issues are hybrid then I would say one needs an Elder Attorney.

Today we are convinced that the more we pay the better the representation will be, this is not fact. As with every field, all do not graduate at the top of their class, I have met many paralegals that can interpret the law better than the attorney can, yet they do not have the license or the expertise to represent one in court, the researchers are the back bone of a legal firm.

At times it boils down to what one can afford, an Estate Planner Attorney can cost a lot less than an Elder Attorney and overall they are much broader based, especially regarding the IRS, this tends to be an area that Elder Attorney's fall short in.

We can agree to disagree, all boils down to food for thought.
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Jo, I think you're stating that few medical practitioners gave good advice, and therefore you're wondering if elder law attorneys perform better?   Or are they a waste of time?

I have to ask what your experience  is that you feel medical advice was so inadequate?   It's not unusual for medical people to offer general advice on the assumption that they're speaking with someone unfamiliar with medicine.   And that's when the patient, relative, caregiver or whoever either asks questions, or explains why he/she needs more detailed answers.  

Some people are confused by more specific advice.   My personal opinion is that generally medical personnel do give  generalized advice; the patient or caregiver has to make it known that he/she wants more detailed information.  Then study the issue so even more detail can be given next time.  

Sometimes people have to work to establish a level of communication that's appropriate for them.

Your profile indicates that you're caring for your brother with cancer as well as other medical issues.   If you're thinking that an elder law attorney is a waste of time and money, assess your brother's situation.   If he has no real property, no assets at all, and nothing for anyone to inherit, then he probably doesn't need an attorney for estate planning, but he probably would need someone to make medical decisions for him if his cancer metastasizes.

I'm not sure what you mean by "teaching" - i.e., who?  the patient?  caregiver?  Check marks on forms to me means completion of medical histories, which isn't teaching; it's data collection of relevant factors.


As to elder attorneys, elder law is their practice area, their specialty, just as doctors have their own specialties.   So they focus on that by attending continuing ed seminars sponsored by legal pros, reading case law in the elder field, etc.   Some include elder law litigation within their practices.   

They wouldn't normally practice law such as real estate, banking, international law, etc.   The law firm I've retained, and one for which I worked several years ago, e-mails newsletter updates and send out letters to clients with significant updates on various fields.  

It's the attorney's  job to assess EACH client's situation and needs, make recommendations that are appropriate for that situation, and prepare documents that he/she feels are necessary, explaining to the client the purpose of each document and why it's necessary.  

Good ones will ask for completion of a questionnaire addressing the client's family, relatives, any desired nonrelatives, special bequests, special conditions or arrangements, assets (and especially the best way to hold and/or transfer them), and more.

The attorney can then make the best recommendations for the types of documents that meet the client's standards.

I have the impression that you've been advised to contact an elder law attorney but don't want to b/c you think the advice won't be worth much.    That will depend as well on the client, the client's knowledge of his/her plans and assets, and the ability to communicate all this information to the attorney, as well as the confidence to deal with a professional.   Some people are afraid of attorneys.

Your profile also indicates that you need information sources. For that, I would suggest Gilda's Club.  It provides a lot of support for caregivers as well as those fighting the cancer battle.

CURE is an excellent magazine on cancer for patients and caregivers.   It used to be a hard cover magazine(and may still be) but it also has a good website.  

https://www.curetoday.com/
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What do "elder law attorneys" actually do? I know my attorney has created a Revocable Trust which can be complex depending on ones assets and how you want them distributed [all at once or over the next 20+ years].... Trustee succession provisions... administration of my Trust should I become incapacity.... Administration of my Trust upon my death.... disposition of tangible personal property... remote contingent distribution.... distributions to underage [such as grandchildren] and incapacitated beneficiaries.... retirement plans and life insurance policies... trust administration... my Trustee's powers, and general provisions.

Create the Last Will and Testament, which include payment of death taxes, claims and expenses.

Create Power of Attorney for both financial and health POA's. Thus powers to fund, sell, buy, invest, manage real property, employee benefits, bank accounts, taxes, yada, yada, yada.

Create an Advance Medical Directive which includes instructions concerning medical evaluations and treatment, if any. Long term care or Hospice care. Living Will.

Memorial instructions, thus my wishes regarding a funeral, if any.

And updating said documents yearly due to changes in tax laws, State laws, etc.

Many years ago I had worked in a law office. Believe me, I would never draw up my own legal agreements. Just way too complicated, with ever changing State Laws. All it takes is one misplaced or missing word to create a land-mine of issues that could takes years to correct.

Oh, an "elder law attorney" is very helpful if one needs to place a parent into "Medicaid" which can become a maze nightmare.
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IMO many legal issues can be handled by a lessor ranked attorney, a paralegal or estate planner. People seem to think it is brain surgery, it is not.

As for the rest mentioned, I find half have no clue whatsoever. I know more than they do, and that is not much. Don't get me started on Neurologists, talk about a total waste of time.

I am sure others have had better experiences, I sure hope so!
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I’m not sure I understand your question. What does an Elder Law Attorney have to do with the stability of a walker and check marks on forms? Perhaps you could elaborate?
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