Legal Services for Senior Citizens

The need for legal advice is great in the elderly community. But, for numerous reasons, many seniors do not receive the legal advice they need. Some cannot afford to hire an attorney. Others are physically unable to leave their home, or not willing to accept free or low-cost legal services.

Several alternatives are available for those who can’t afford a private attorney. Legal Service Corporations provide service to those who can’t afford it.

South Dakota has three legal service corporations. They are located in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Mission. There are also branch offices in Eagle Butte, Ft. Thompson, Pierre, Pine Ridge, Sisseton, and Ft. Yates, ND.

Another program designed more specifically for seniors, guarantees legal service to people age 60 and over, regardless of income or resources. The Office of Adult Services and Aging has contracted with the same legal corporations to provide these services.

Each legal service program handles different types of cases. Not all legal problems are accepted. Some of the services that may be available include assistance with landlord/tenant disputes, help with obtaining public benefits, or advice on consumer protection problems. For more information on legal services contact your local Legal Service office.

For residents of Pennington County, an addition program exists to supplement the work of Black Hills Legal Services. The Pennington County Legal Assistance Project consists of a group of private attorneys who provide free legal services to those who qualify. If the Legal Services Office cannot help and you qualify for the program, you will be referred to an attorney who will handle your case.

If you can afford to hire an attorney, find someone who can deal effectively with your problems. Seniors may need an attorney that specializes in estate planning or elder law. For assistance finding a private attorney, contact the State Bar of South Dakota’s Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-952-2333.