As always, the answer is it depends. If your mother is spent down, no transfers were made over the past five years, and it's simply a question of processing the application, you should be fine using a non-lawyer service. But if any planning needs to be done, if your father is still alive and living in the community, or if there's anything unusual about your mother's finances, you need to use an elder law attorney. Even if the attorney helps your mother qualify a month sooner, that will justify her fee. And the attorney may be able to save you much more. The fee may come from funds that would otherwise be paid to the nursing home. In any case, we strongly recommend that you consult with an elder law attorney to determine whether planning is possible and advisable.