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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

When Do I Need A Lawyer?

Who Can I Turn To Besides A Lawyer?

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If you can't get to an affordable lawyer, there are some people who may be able to provide assistance who are not as educated or as expensive as a lawyer. None of these people replace a lawyer. They simply provide assistance for a fee if your problem is in the scope of their experience and authority. Not even paralegals are permitted to practice law, although they can be very helpful in many areas.

Assistance is available through:


In many states, paralegals can assist with document preparation. Paralegals are usually much less expensive than lawyers. There is a national certification program and some states require licensing of paralegals. Two ways to find a paralegal are:

Financial Planners

If a financial issue is involved, even though the subject may involve the legal aspects of a financial issue, an experienced financial planner can help you decide whether it is necessary to speak with a lawyer. To learn more, see: Choosing A Financial Planner.

Benefits Specialists

Sometimes called Benefit Consultants or Benefit Counselors, Benefits Specialists specialize in insurance matters. Benefits Specialists can advocate for you with insurance companies, both with respect to eligibility and claims. This is the case with all types of insurance, including life, health and disability insurance. It is the person's training and experience that qualify him or her. Unfortunately, there is no license, title or central certification process to help you find people who are truly qualified.

Insurance Claims Advocates

These specialists focus on medical insurance claims and help appeal insurance company denials of medical claims. There is a small organization that certifies its members, the Association of Claims Assistance Professionals, ( offsite link). Like benefits specialists, it is a combination of training and experience that counts.

Credit Counselors

See: Credit Counseling.


Many unions provide free or low cost legal advice to members.

Legal Assistance Organizations

There are companies and agencies that provide assistance with helping you handle your own legal matters. While this isn't recommended for more technical issues, sometimes preparation of simple documents and other straight-forward legal issues can be resolved by you directly with their help. One such organization is called "We, the People" ( offsite link). Others may be found in your telephone book or on line.

NOTE: We have never used any of these organizations. If you do, please share your experiences by e mail to Survivorship A to Z.

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