Get legal help for seniors – free!
As a caregiver, part of the job is to help your older adult take care of legal matters and make sure important documents are complete and up-to-date.
That could include setting up an estate plan or making sure that essential legal documents like a living will and power of attorney are in place.
It might also include figuring out how to pay for long-term care, qualifying for Medicaid, or dealing with housing problems and other disputes that require legal action.
But legal services can be costly, especially for seniors on a fixed income.
Fortunately, there are many nonprofit and community organizations that provide free and low-cost legal services to older adults.
Here, we’ve rounded up 7 sources of free legal help for seniors.
7 sources of free legal services for seniors
1. Legal Aid
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is the nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income Americans. They fund 133 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations across the U.S.
Typically, LSC-funded programs help people who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.
However, income qualifications and available legal services will vary depending on the location.
Find a Legal Aid program in your area
2. Community legal services for seniors
Your county’s Area Agency on Aging provides community resources for seniors and caregivers. They’ll be able to connect you to local organizations that provide free and low-cost legal help for seniors.
To search online for community legal resources in your area:
- Visit the Eldercare Locator
- Enter zip code and click “Search”
- In the drop down menu, select “Legal Services”
To speak with someone at Eldercare Locator, call 1-800-677-1116.
Find your local Area Agency on Aging
3. Pro Bono programs
Pro bono programs match low-income people with volunteer lawyers who agree to take their cases for free.
A legal hotline allows seniors to ask legal questions over the phone. If the question can’t be answered over the phone, the hotline can also help you find the necessary legal aid services in your area.
Find senior legal hotline programs
5. National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
This nonprofit organization provides legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
On this page of their website, NDRN lists a variety of problems that someone with a disability may be facing. This list covers many of issues that seniors commonly face.
If your older adult is going through one of these problems, contact your state’s Protection and Advocacy Agency to get legal help. To find it, click on your state in the list on the right side of the page.
Note: Near the top of this page, there’s also a link to a PDF with the contact list of agencies by state.
Find a Protection and Advocacy Agency in your state
6. Employer-sponsored legal services
Many companies, especially large corporations, offer free or discounted legal services through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Ask the Human Resources department to find out if legal services or legal insurance is provided as a company benefit.
7. Additional low-cost legal services for seniors
If timely help isn’t available from organizations that offer free legal services or your older adult isn’t eligible, you may want to find low-cost or discounted legal help. Here are a few options:
The American Bar Association also offers public-service oriented lawyer referral programs that will speak with you to understand the issue and provide a referral to a lawyer or a community organization that can help.
Find a public-service lawyer referral program
Contact your state or local Bar Association to see if they can refer you to an attorney that charges reduced fees.
Find your state or local Bar Association
Personal legal insurance isn’t well known in the United States, but it’s a legitimate service and can be a more affordable way to get needed legal services.
For a fixed monthly fee, you typically get free phone consultations and certain covered legal services. For legal services that aren’t covered, you may get discounted rates when using attorneys in the company’s network.
Legal insurance is offered by reputable companies like ARAG, LegalShield, and LegalGuard from Nationwide.
See the American Bar Association’s legal insurance recommendations.
Now that you’re ready to start working with an attorney be sure to read this article next: Working With Lawyers Tips, Tricks, Advice, and Beyond
This article is not stated as a legal opinion or as fact but instead is stated as opinion of the author.