Elder law is the legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long-term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision-making, older person’s legal capacity, the conservation, disposition and administration of older person’s estates and the implementation of their decisions concerning such matters, giving due consideration to the applicable tax consequences of the action, or the need for more sophisticated tax expertise. This includes areas of law such as: estate planning and probate, wills & trusts, estate & gift tax law, asset protection from nursing home costs, Medicaid eligibility for nursing home residents, powers of attorney and living wills. This certification program requires the applicant to pass a one day exam covering all areas of elder law and demonstrate substantial experience in a required number of elder law matters performed for clients in the preceding three years.  In addition, the applicant must be a licensed attorney in good standing, participate in 45 hours of continuing legal education in elder law in the prior three years and submit five references from attorneys.  Unlike many other professional honors and associations, this specialty designation has objective criteria in the form of a test and specific experience requirements.  Thus, certified attorneys must earn their designation. Presently, there are approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys nationwide and 29 in Ohio. The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) is a private organization not affiliated with, or sanctioned by, the State of Ohio or the Federal Government. The NELF certification program is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists to certify lawyers in the specialty area of Elder Law. The certification of attorneys as specialists is provided by NELF and not by the Supreme Court Commission. For more information on the certification process, go to the NELF website   https://nelf.org/?

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