“So why should I believe you?”

I get this question periodically.  My case manager got it again this week on a phone call of someone calling to see if we can help them.  My case manager gave this lady some basic information about what Medicaid lets you keep and still qualify.  His information was different than the information she got from another attorney.  Therefore, since two attorneys are telling her different information (and I’m assuming this attorney was a long time attorney she had dealt with) then “why should she believe us?”.

It’s difficult to answer that question on the phone.  In my conference room, I have all of my diplomas and my recognition for different qualifications I have to answer such questions.  Our ethical rules do not allow me to compare myself to other attorneys, but I feel that I can distinguish my qualifications from those of a different attorney.

I truly have faith in the designation of being a Certified Elder Law Attorney.  Having been on the board of the National Elder Law Foundation (www.nelf.org), the certifying board for Certified Elder Law Attorneys nationwide, I feel confident that we do a good job of certifying who should carry that designation.  We are constantly under barrage by those who do not pass the test to lower the standards of the test so more people qualify.  I resoundingly refuse to do so.  The test that is given has been verified and I think it does a good job of weeding out the people who truly know the many different areas of elder law and can state that knowledge.  Our goal is to make sure that we can refer a client to another CELA and know that they will get good solid ethical advice about elder law.

I proudly admit that I don’t know much about most areas of the law.  I apparently knew enough to pass the bar, but I do not know those areas now as well as I did back then.  However, the area that I practice, I know that area very well.  All of my continuing legal education is on elder law issues.  My advanced education after law school was in elder law when I received an LL.M in Elder Law from Stetson University in Florida.

So, I am not saying I am better than any attorney.  When someone ask me why they should believe me or my staff when we tell them something, credentials and experience should go a long way.  Elder Law is all we do.  My office has completed more than 3000 Medicaid applications.  I think I know what Medicaid lets you keep and what they will make you spend.  If you have questions, please call us.

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