My elderly father won't talk to a lawyer because of a bad experience he had with a lawyer when his mother died. How do I convince him to address his estate plan?

The reality is that your father may be right.  He may not have been treated well by the lawyer for his mother's estate.  Our attorneys are sensitive to these issues.  We address the natural suspicions of elder clients (and all clients) and set out the expectations clearly.  Although these things should go without saying, the following are some points to consider:

  • When we meet with a parent, the parent is the client and we inform them of this in private.
  • All information provided is kept in complete confidence, unless there is a written authorization in the file to the contrary.
  • The elder client is informed and reassured that no one is trying to take his or her money/home/life savings.
  • No work is performed, unless the elder client authorizes the work.
  • Individuals named in documents in various roles are selected by the elder client and no one else.
  • The elder client should remain in control of all matters, unless he or she instructs otherwise or is incapacitated.
  • Fees are only incurred if authorized by the elder client.
  • All fees and costs are disclosed in advance and in writing
  • All direction is taken by the elder client alone.