Certified Elder Law Attorneys Are a Rare Breed

Elder law a niche legal practice area. Only 39 lawyers in New Jersey have been certified as elder law attorneys by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) of Tucson, Ariz., which is authorized by the American Bar Association to grant the certification. The foundation has certified fewer than 400 elder law attorneys nationwide. Certified elder law attorneys commit to the niche practice by meeting requirements set by the NELF that include a written test and ongoing courses on elder law issues. These lawyers focus on representing older or disabled persons in various matters including financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits, estate planning and administration, trust creation and administration, probate, retirement benefit disputes, estate litigation and guardianships.

Elder Law is the only area of law defined by the clients served rather than the areas of law in which the attorney practices. Elder Law attorneys deal “holistically” with their clients in talking about long-term planning for health care and financial viability, family dynamics, end-of-life decisions, personal values and personal preferences.

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. has been a certified elder law attorney since 1998.