Elder Law: Preparing to Meet with a Canadian Family Lawyer

It can be a big waste of time for both you and the family lawyer if you are not prepared for your first meeting. Being unprepared may also end up costing you money because it will take longer for the family lawyer you hire to get up to speed on your legal matter.

  • The family lawyer will want to know who you are and how you can be contacted.
  • The family lawyer may also want to know who you represent and whether other persons may be present for the meeting. For example, in many elder law matters, a child visits the family lawyer to seek help for his or her parent.
  • The family lawyer will clearly want to understand your relationship, why you are seeking help for the person, and why the person is unable to seek the family lawyer's help personally. You should be prepared to bring with you any documents that will "prove" your authority, such as a power of attorney.
  • Sometimes, a Canadian family lawyer may also try to facilitate the information gathering process by sending you a questionnaire to fill out in advance. If this happens, be sure to follow the family lawyer's instructions for completing the questionnaire. You may be asked to send it to the lawyer's office before the meeting. Regardless, make sure you bring it with you for the meeting. Also send along or bring copies of any available documents that may be requested in the questionnaire.
  • Written documentation related to the elder law matter at hand is important. Pertinent documents might include powers of attorney, wills, and trusts. If you have applied for benefits of any type, you should bring copies of documents relative to the applications. Thus, even if a family lawyer doesn't ask for documentation beforehand, it is still a good idea to bring a copy of all documents relevant to your situation to the meeting. Spend some time thinking about what you may have on hand. Try to organize the documents in a logical manner before you meet with the family lawyer.

Questions for the Initial Meeting with a Family Lawyer

Prepare a list of questions to take with you to your first meeting with a family lawyer. You have to feel comfortable with your attorney. Remember that your lawyer is working for you. You want someone who is skilled, but you also have to get along with your family lawyer. In theory, no question is too silly to ask. Keep in mind, though, that you do not want to scare a family lawyer out of representing you. Questions you might ask a family lawyer would include:

  • What would the lawyer like to see in order to evaluate your case?
  • What might your other options be?
  • How many similar cases has he or she handled?
  • What percent of the family lawyers practice is in the area of expertise that you need?
  • What problems does the family lawyer foresee with your case?
  • How would the family lawyer go about handling your situation? What is the process?
  • How long will it take to bring the matter to a conclusion?
  • How would the lawyer charge for his or her services?
  • Would the lawyer handle the case personally or would it be passed on to some other lawyer in the firm? If other lawyers or staff may do some of the work, could you meet them?

A great way to start your search for a local Canadian Elder law lawyer is at Canadian-Lawyers.ca. Go to the 'Find a Lawyer' search box that appears on the right hand side of this screen to start your lawyer search. Type in Elder Law or the name of the law firm, the city and the province that you are looking to hire a lawyer from, and click on the 'Search Now' button. This will generate a list of local Canadian Elder law lawyers.

 


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