What is a CELA? (Certified Elder Law Attorney)*
Elder Law involves the counseling and representation of older persons and their families or representatives. This can include health and long-term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision-making, older persons’ legal capacity, the conservation, disposition and administration of older persons’ estates and the implementation of their decisions concerning such matters.
Attorneys certified in Elder Law by the National Elder Law Foundation must be capable of recognizing issues of concern that arise during counseling and representation of older persons or their representatives with respect to abuse, neglect, or exploitation. They must also be highly skilled in dealing with insurance, housing, long-term care, employment, and retirement. The certified Elder Law attorney must be familiar with professional and non-legal resources and services publicly and privately available to meet the needs of the older persons, and be capable of recognizing the professional conduct and ethical issues that arise during representation.
How Do I Know If My Attorney Is Certified?
It is crucial that you check to make sure that your lawyer is certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (www.nelf.org), before you hire an Elder Law Attorney.
The Foundation has developed a certification program for Elder Law attorneys to identify the lawyers who have the enhanced knowledge, skills, experience, and proficiency to be properly identified to the public as Certified Elder Law Attorneys.
Any attorney who is licensed to practice may say that they are competent in “Elder Law”, or that they are an “Elder Law attorney”. Even if they have no special training or experience handling elder law matters, they may still try to obtain your business. It is therefore essential that you do your research and only choose an attorney who is proficient in dealing with your issues.