May is National Elder Law Month
We have been officially celebrating older Americans (those 65 and up) in the month of May since President Kennedy made the official declaration in 1963. Consequently, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys declared May to be National Elder Law month to show its support.
But what exactly is elder law? Elder law can encompasses a variety of issues including estate and trust administration, asset protection, conservatorships, Medicaid planning and application, elder abuse and exploitation as well as special needs planning. Some elder law attorneys will advise on all of these issues, while others will choose to specialize in just one. Even lawyers who limit their practice to elder law may not be experts in all these areas. Therefore, it is important to do your due diligence in finding the elder law attorney that is the right fit for your needs.
Additionally, not all elder law attorneys have the same credentials. You may want to consider finding a certified elder law attorney, frequently referred to as “the gold standard” for elder law. A certified specialist in elder law is an attorney who has received specific training in elder law issues, has practiced in that field for five years, and has been certified as highly qualified in elder law by their State Bar or by another accrediting organization. They will have the CELA (Certified Elder Law Attorney) after their names. The process for achieving this distinction is a rigorous one. In addition to other requirements, CELA applicants must take an extensive, all-day exam. Recent pass rates have been below 50% — and that is of applicants who have already met the experience requirements. There are about 500 certified elder law attorneys in the country and at the time of this article, only 13 in the state of Tennessee.
Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law has specialized in elder law for close to 30 years. Two of the partners hold the highly respected CELA designation.
If you have a question regarding caring for a loved one, how to pay for that care, and/or estate planning and asset protection, please call our office.