I am pleased, and proud, to let you know that I have recently been accredited as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)* by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). Achieving this designation was not easy, but I knew that by taking part in and completing the rigorous certification process, I would be able to continue to provide you with the best possible counsel on matters impacting your well-being and that of your loved ones.
I don’t like to toot my own horn about personal achievements, so I’ll let the folks at NELF toot the horn for me. Here is how they describe the rigorous accreditation process, and the standards that must be met, to receive certification.
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
An elder law attorney must be fully aware of the applicable tax consequences of any action, or will recommend the need for more sophisticated tax expertise if needed. Attorneys certified in elder law will also readily recognize areas of concern that may arise during counseling and representation relating to the following issues:
- Abuse, neglect or exploitation of an older or disabled person
- Long-term care
It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it. I look forward to meeting your planning needs in the future.
*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.