YOU ASK THE SENIOR QUESTION
Dear Savvy Senior,
WE FIND THE SAVVY ANSWER Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know where I can get some legal help? I’m a not so savvy 75-year-old, and have a few legal questions about my estate and will and can’t afford to pay a big lawyer’s fee. I also have a sister who has acquired some large medical bills who could use some legal advice too. Can you help us?
Seniors On A Budget
Sure can! There are several great sources out there that offer legal advice and services to senior citizens and caregivers that are either free or discounted.
Each year under the Older Americans Act, the federal government distributes some of your tax dollars to the states to provide various services to seniors, one of which includes legal services for the elderly. How each state goes about providing the legal services will vary depending on funding. Here’s a breakdown of four great legal programs that every senior should know about.
Senior Legal Hotlines
Every state offers some type of legal hotline service, but there are currently 23 states including the District of Columbia that offer a program called "Senior Legal Hotlines," where all seniors over age 60 have access to free legal telephone advice, where you can speak with an attorney about your legal questions or problems.
The Senior Legal hotlines are staffed with attorneys admitted to the bar of that state so all professional standards apply. The hotlines also carry malpractice insurance and the service is limited to phone advice. However some of the hotlines will do brief services such as review a document or write a simple letter on your behalf. Senior hotlines, services will also make referrals to help you get the appropriate assistance you need. For more information on Senior Legal Hotlines and to locate the toll free num-ber in your state visit www. legalhotlines. org. This site also offers a State-by-State Legal Hotline Di-rectory that list’s. all non-profit organizations offer-ing legal advice.
Legal Services for Elderly Coordinated by the Administration on Aging, Legal Services for the Elderly may offer free legal advice, legal assistance or access to legal representation for people over the age of 60. To get more information on what programs are available in your community contact your Area Aging Agency. Call your Eldercare locator at 1-800-677-1116 to get the phone number of your local Aging Agency.
Legal Services Directed by the Legal Services Corporation, Legal Services (also known as Legal Aid) offers free legal assistance to financially eligible people of all ages. Legal service programs are available nationwide, but each community program will differ in the services offered and income qualifications. For more information or to find the legal assistance program in your area visit www. Isc. gov and "click" on - get legal assistance.
AARP Legal Services Network
If you’re a member of AARP, they offer the Legal Services Network (LSN) program This is a service that provides members a free 30 minute legal consultation with an attorney in your community who meets AARP standards. You can also receive some significant member discounts on other legal services you may need. For more information or to locate a lawyer in your area visit wwwaarp.org/lsn or call 1-888-687-2277.
Savvy Tip: The American Bar Association (ABA) has a comprehensive state-by-state resource list on elder law services. Visit www. abanet.orglaging and click on "Find Legal Help in Your State.
Send your senior questions to: Sawy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org.