What is Elder Law?
Elder law is an area of law that focuses on the legal needs of the elderly may include:
- Asset Protection Planning
- Planning for Long Term Care Costs
- VA Need Based Government Benefits, including Medicaid
- Durable Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Surrogate Designations
- Living Wills or Advance Directives
- Preventing and Correcting Abuse, Exploitation or Neglect of an Elderly Person
- Residential Alternatives
- Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Individuals
- Social Security Benefits
- Tax Issues
- Trusts - Living, Revocable, Inter-vivos
- Pre-Marital Agreements
It is advisable to seek an elder law attorney’s services before illness or incapacity becomes an issue.
Prepare for your first meeting by making a list of any questions you may have and bringing any documents
that are relevant.
The National Elder Law Foundation, provides board certification with requirements of:
- Licensure - Attorney must be licensed to practice law in at least one state or the District of Columbia
- Practice - Attorney must have practiced law during the five years preceding their application and must still be practicing law.
- Integrity/Good Standing - Attorney must be a member in good standing of the bars in all places in which they are licensed.
- Substantial Involvement - Attorney must have spent an average of at least 16 hours per week practicing elder law during the three years preceding their application. In addition, they must have handled at least 60 elder law matters during those three years with a specified distribution among subjects as defined by the Foundation.
- Continuing Legal Education - Attorney must have participated in at least 45 hours of continuing legal education in elder law during the preceding three years.
- Peer Review/Professional References - Attorney must submit the names of five references from attorneys familiar with their competence and qualifications in elder law. These persons must themselves satisfy specified criteria.
- Examination - Attorney must pass a full-day certification examination
NELF's Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) designation is certified by the American Bar Association.