How to Work With a Special Needs Planning Attorney

Special Needs Planner and Family Members of the Academy of Special Needs Planners all devote a significant part of their practices to working with individuals with special needs and with their families to plan for the future.

They are familiar with the special challenges such individuals and families face as well as the resources available to them in the community. Academy members work together to stay current on legal developments and to share cutting-edge techniques in planning for individuals with special needs.

Advice on Working With An Attorney

Your experience when working with one of our members or any other special needs attorney will be much better if your expectations and the attorney's are in harmony. While no two attorneys and no two clients are alike, here are a few pointers that should improve the chances for a positive experience all around.

What to Expect From Your Attorney

First, you have a right to expect a quick response to your telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and letters from the attorney or his or her staff. This doesn't mean that the attorney will necessarily drop the work he or she is doing for other clients to take your call, but you should get a call back by the end of the following workday. Second, you should expect a high level of legal advice and energetic representation. The attorney cannot always guarantee the result, but she should use all of her expertise, experience and energy on your behalf. Third, you should expect a clear statement of the attorney's fees. They may be flat fee, hourly or contingent. But whatever you and the attorney agree on should be clear to you. If it isn't, don't be afraid to ask questions.

What Not to Expect From Your Attorney

First, don't expect free advice. Much of the value of what the attorney will provide is her advice. While many attorneys, especially in the field of personal injury, offer a free consultation, many special needs attorneys do not. This is because that first meeting can provide you with most of the information that you need. Not to pay for what may save you and your family tens of thousands of dollars shortchanges the attorney (as well as his staff and family). Second, don't expect the attorney to know all of the answers off the top of his head. It's the attorney's job to get you the right answers. This may take some research.

What the Attorney Should Expect From You

  1. The attorney needs accurate and complete information about you and your family and their circumstances in order to competently represent you and give you proper advice.
  2. You need to respond promptly to the attorney or her staff during the course of the representation if they have questions that need to be answered.
  3. The attorney has the right to be paid promptly.
  4. If you have any questions about the work being done for you or the charges for that work, you need to contact the attorney.


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