Older adults often seek help from their relatives and friends about legal matters. Whether it is regarding a living will, power of attorney, or setting up a detailed estate plan, without professional lawyers, you can’t get the correct advice.
That is why it is essential for senior citizens to get in touch with their nearest attorney whenever they want to file a legal paperwork or do anything that relates to the local law.
Hiring Pro Bono Lawyers
Retirement is one of those stages where you have to spend money by calculating every penny. You cannot splurge on anything, especially if you are living alone.
If that is the case, how will you afford the fee of a lawyer? Most law firms will provide unmatched services, but will also charge a lot of money as fees.
That’s when pro bono lawyers come into the picture. There are many community and nonprofit organizations that provide legal services at a low-cost and sometimes even for free.
If you are one of those who can’t afford a lawyer, here are some of the organizations that you can turn to, to get free legal services:
1. Community Legal Services for Seniors
Area Agency on Aging is one of the best community resources from where you can get contacts for pro bono lawyers. In fact, they not only provide free legal services to older adults but also the caregivers.
So, if you or your caregiver need legal help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the local community legal service providers. They usually take down your location and the type of case you want help on. Then, they will connect you to a low-cost or free lawyer.
Here’s what you need to find the nearest pro bono lawyer in your area:
- Visit the Area Agency on Aging or Eldercare locator website.
- They will ask you for your zip code. Enter your zip code on the site.
- You will see a dropdown menu on your computer. Select legal services to proceed.
You can also connect to a representative from the Eldercare Locator by calling their nearest office.
2. Legal Aid
Legal Services Corporation is another nonprofit organization that offers legal services to seniors and caregivers at a very low cost. They fund almost 133 nonprofit legal aid organizations in the US.
These organizations take on pro bono cases of people who are at 125% or below of the poverty guidelines according to the federal law.
If you are in that annual income level, you will become eligible for free legal services by experienced lawyers. However, the cost, if any, for the legal services, may vary depending on the available lawyers, your location, and your average income.
To find the nearest legal aid office near you, search for “legal aid” plus your city and state.
3. Pro Bono Programs
Pro Bono Programs match volunteer lawyers with low-income people so that they can work on their cases for free.
So, you need to visit the website, answer the questions that come on the screen, and in the end, they will give you the contact details of the lawyers who can take your case.
There are two ways how senior citizens and their caregivers can find a pro bono lawyer in their area: they can either visit the website of LawHelp or go to the pro bono directory map from American Bar’s Association. Discuss your case with the lawyer, and he/she will come up with the ideal solution for your legal problem.
4. National Disability Rights Network
This is a nonprofit organization offering legal services to senior citizens with disabilities.
It helps you get your deserved compensation to meet the regular household expenses. The website lists a variety of disability problems that a person may have. If your disability is on that list, you are eligible to receive money.
The lawyer will help you go through the entire documentation process, helping you at every stage.
5. Employer-Sponsored Legal Services
If you were an employee of a larger company, you might have a chance to get free legal help. Many companies provide discounted or free legal services as a part of their Employee Assistance Program.
As an ex-employee in distress, you may enjoy this service at a very low cost or even without paying anything. You may need to get in touch with the human resource department to find the lawyers available to take up your case.
The life of a senior citizen can be a tough one, especially if you always find yourself short of cash. With no close family members around, you need to stay updated with these details about pro bono lawyers and caregivers so that they can come to your rescue during an emergency.
Follow the above steps to find your nearest pro bono lawyer and discuss the case in detail.
Do you know of more resources for free legal help for seniors? Please tell me about them in the comments below!