Legal Assistance and care planning
Washingtonians have several legal tools to help plan for long-term care or health care needs. Preparing documents before you may need them will help make sure your interests and wishes are carried out even if you are not able to make your own decisions.
It’s best to consult an attorney well versed in Elder Law or Special Needs Law, to make sure your care plans follow Washington State law and protect your interests and wishes. Some legal tools do not require an attorney but will need your careful consideration. If you do not already have an attorney, here are some options for finding legal assistance:
- The Washington State Bar Association's Find Legal Help Webpage.
- Many county bar associations offer local lawyer referral services. Contact your county bar for information about legal help near you.
- The American Bar Association maintains a directory of lawyer referral services by state.
- CLEAR is Washington’s toll-free, centralized intake, advice, and referral service operated by the Northwest Justice Project for low-income people seeking free legal assistance with civil legal problems. The web page lists hours and instructions.
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has an online directory of members that are Elder Law and Special Needs Law Attorneys. They also have consumer information about Elder and Special Needs Law, as well as how to choose an attorney.
- Washington Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (WAELA) consists of Washington members of NAELA, who not only practice elder law, but are also especially aware of and concerned with the special issues pertaining to the practice of elder law in Washington State.
- The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) certifies practitioners of Elder Law and Special Needs Law and provides a limited list of certified attorneys by state. NELF's Certified Elder Law Attorney designation is itself certified by the American Bar Association.
Additional information about your legal rights and self-help legal packets, including court forms, can be found online at Washington Law Help
Washington’s Community Living Connections staff are available to help you explore your options to meet your current needs or create a plan for the future.