What are Elder Law Attorneys?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2018
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Elder law attorneys are legal counsels that are certified in the practice of law as it relates to protecting the rights of senior citizens. The scope of practice for an elder care lawyer is extremely broad, as the attorney may be called upon to represent a client in situations involving the resolution of issues surrounding pension and other retirement plans, planning for disabled clients, or handling cases involving age discrimination. Virtually any type of legal action can be related to the practice of elder law, as long as the client is considered to be a senior citizen.

Because of the broad field of law that may require the services of elder law attorneys, it is not unusual for find an elder care attorney who will choose to focus on just a few specific areas. For example, a nursing home lawyer may take on cases that involve such issues as appointing a legal guardian for an elderly person who lives in a nursing home and is unable to manage his or her affairs. That same attorney may also handle cases where there is suspicion of elder abuse.


Like the nursing home attorney, a lawyer who specializes in services to the elderly may focus on the matter of finances. In this capacity, elder law attorneys may concentrate on such matters as the settling of estates, the preparation or amendment of wills, or the establishment of trust funds to handle health care or other care giving expenses. Elder law attorneys with this focus work to protect the financial interests of their clients, and make sure their resources are utilized in the most efficient manner while still providing the care and security that the client needs.

In some countries, elder law attorneys are certified through a recognized agency as having special expertise in legal matters pertaining to the elderly. These agencies will usually require that any lawyer applying for this certification be a member in good standing of the bar, and go through a certification process that ensures he or she is well-versed in all laws that pertain to protecting the rights of elderly citizens. Some agencies will require that the attorney present documentation to show past expertise in handling legal cases involving elderly clients. Even after the certification is granted, it is not unusual for the agency to review the standing and status of the attorney from time to time. Should any questions of competence or impropriety arise, the agency may choose to declare the certification null and void.



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