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Find an Elder Law Attorney:

 Benefit of Hiring a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)

Why Elder Law Certification Is SO Important

Couple meeting with elder law attorney.

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When it comes to dealing with legal issues that affect the elderly, having a lawyer on your side is important. It’s a broad and very important specialty, but anyone can claim to specialize in elder law. A Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), however, has to pass a rigorous series of requirements in order to attain certification. 

Certification Requirements Include:

  • Experience practicing as an attorney for at least five years with a focus on elder law for at least three.
  • Passing a specialized exam with a focus on legal issues that affect the elderly.
  • A peer review from five practicing attorneys.
  • Continuing education to keep up with the latest changes in elder law.

Elder law can cover a wide range of issues, ranging from Medicaid and Medicare claims to trusts and estates, age discrimination, elder abuse and fraud recovery, retirement issues, and issues surrounding assisted living and long-term care.

Many of the issues covered under elder law are financial, and also come under the expertise of financial planners—who receive commissions based on what they sell. An elder law attorney’s advice may be less biased, because their income is not determined by what they sell.

Benefits of Certified Elder Law Attorneys

The biggest benefit of working with a Certified Elder Law Attorney, however, is that their expertise is broad enough to cover a wide range of issues. Financial planners may only understand the financial picture; estate-planning attorneys may only understand their area of expertise. Certified elder law attorneys have knowledge spanning a broad range of issues that affect the elderly, and they can consult on how your financial plans might affect your assisted living situation, Medicaid or Medicare coverage, and other issues.

Choosing an attorney who specializes in elder law and holds a certification often begins with an online search. You can review the lawyer’s biography—be sure to look for a long period of specialization in elder law, with a particular focus appropriate to you if that’s needed.

Your state Bar association website is a good place to start. The Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) (www.texasnaela.com) supports member attorneys throughout the state of Texas who are committed to the practice of elder law.

Hiring an attorney who specializes in elder law can be a challenge. Talk to friends and family members who have been through the process to find recommendations, and be sure to choose someone who’s certified in the state of Texas in the field of elder law. If you do, you’re more likely to find someone who can help you with all your legal issues—not just a few.

Disclaimer: Elder Options of Texas is not rendering any legal or professional advice.  If legal advice is necessary the reader should consult a competent attorney.


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