THE RIGHT CHOICE – A CERTIFIED ELDER LAW ATTORNEY *
Attorneys certified in elder law offer you something that other attorneys do not: Professional expertise in the unique needs of older, maturing populations. Certified Elder Law attorneys are not just authorities on legal issues affecting seniors, they are also familiar with other vital resources and services – both public and private – that can meet the needs of senior citizens, including those with disabilities.
By choosing a Certified Elder Law Attorney (also called a “CELA”), you know you will receive expert advice and representation from a lawyer who has demonstrated a serious commitment to helping seniors by becoming certified in elder law.
Elder law attorneys are certified by the Board of Certification of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1993. NELF is dedicated to developing and improving the professional competence of lawyers in the focused area of elder law and special needs.
The certification program identifies those lawyers who have the specialized knowledge, skills, experience and proficiency to resolve issues that affect older people. NELF’s Elder Law Certification Program is the only elder law program accredited by the American Bar Association.
What a Certified Elder Law Attorney Can Do for You….
With professional expertise in the following areas, a CELA is your best choice for important issues facing older Americans, such as:
- Health and long-term care planning.
- Public benefits (such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Veterans’ benefits).
- Conservation, disposition and administration of estates (including Wills, Trusts and Probate).
- Surrogate decision-making (Powers of Attorney and Guardianship)
- Establishment of the legal capacity of an older person.
- Special needs counseling (Trusts, Housing, Employment and Education)
How a Certified Elder Law Attorney is Unique……
A Certified Elder Law Attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in the field of elder law. CELAs are committed, through certification, to maintaining and improving their proficiency with continual practice and continuing legal education. Becoming certified in elder law validates a lawyer’s specialty to handle issues that affect senior citizens.
A CELA is in a unique position to serve the interests of older, maturing populations by having met comprehensive and strict requirements. He or she must:
- Be licensed to practice law in at least one state or the District of Columbia.
- Be actively practicing law and must have practiced law for at least five years prior to applying for certification.
- Be a member in good standing of the bar Associations in all places where he/she is licensed.
- Have spent an average of at least 16 hours a week practicing elder law during the three years preceding the application for certification. The attorney must also have handled at least 60 elder law matters during those three years with a specified distribution among a wide variety of topics.
- Have participated in at least 45 hours of continuing legal education in elder law during the three years preceding the application.
- Be favorably evaluated by five elder law attorney specialists.
- Pass a one-time full-day certification examination.
- Repeat a similar elder law certification process every five years.
* Information provided courtesy of the National Elder Law Foundation