Elder Law Attorneys

Quick Overview to Elder Law Attorneys

Quick Overview to Elder Law Attorneys

Elder law attorneys are legal practitioners who focus on the rights and laws that affect the elderly community in the United States. These attorneys provide advice, support and legal action to their clients as needed.

The field of elder law was formally created with the introduction of the Older Americans Act under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. In addition to federal mandates, the practice of elder law varies from state to state as legislation differs due to the state’s needs and individual constitutions. An elder law lawyer must thus study the law of their particular jurisdiction in order to practice in this field of law. 

When a family member passes away, the execution of the deceased’s will often goes through a process known as probate. Probate law determines who will be the executor of the deceased’s will, how the estate of the deceased will be managed, and who is to receive what items based on the specifications of the deceased’s will. wrongful death attorneys As for attorneys concerned with preventing and prosecuting abuse towards the elderly, they are known as elder abuse attorneys.

These legal practitioners are often approached by the victims of abuse so that the proper legal action can be taken against the perpetrators of the abuse. The abuse can be caused by strangers, family and friends, or institutions, and this abuse ranges from physical to emotional and from institutional to rights abuse. The victims of elder abuse are primarily women, and the victims often know their abusers.

Legislation has been passed for the protection of the senior citizens and for elder law lawyers to provide legal advice and action for the victims of abuse. Such legislation includes the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) and state Abuse Protection Services laws. Elder abuse attorneys often coordinate with local agencies that offer support for the elderly to give their clients the best possible care, services, and opportunities. 

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is one of many organizations that educate the elder law lawyer and the elder citizen alike regarding the state of elder law. NAELA provides brochures and other publications for its members and their clients. The membership of NAELA is comprised of lawyers, judges, law students, law professors and private firms. The primary focus and objective of NAELA is to educate people nationwide about elder law.

NAELA hosts annual conferences, as well as regional events, to reach out to the elderly and people with special needs as well as those in the legal community. NAELA, in its goal of educating others, has partnered with other organizations such as the Medicare program to ensure that those that affected by elder law know their rights and what is available to them.

What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Attorneys

What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Attorneys


Attorneys hired to represent the families of a person or persons who perished in an accident are known as wrongful death attorneys. A wrongful death attorney is trained in wrongful death litigation and can help close relatives of the deceased file claims or grievances against the parties responsible for the accidental death of a loved one.

In these claims, negligence is cited as the most common cause of wrongful death in the United States. Examples of such negligence include automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and construction site incidents. Wrongful death incidents may also be intentional.

Wrongful death law is a part of common law. It should be noted, however, that common law did not recognize wrongful death claims for decades. This was because the lawsuit had to be filed by the injured party; if the injured party died, so did the lawsuit as no one could then receive payment for damages. Throughout the United States, individual states began drafting wrongful death statutes which then allowed loved ones to file suit on behalf of the deceased family member.

The role of the wrongful death attorney subsequently became to assist in determining if a case is valid, how long someone has to file a wrongful death claim, and if the case will appear in court or settle out of court monetarily. When a wrongful death claim is filed, wrongful death attorneys must show proof of fault on behalf of the accused party. This means that the wrongful death attorney must show just cause as to how the defendant was negligent in causing the accidental death.

Wrongful death attorneys, if the claim appears in court, can help to provide evidence supporting the claim, display how the defendant was negligent, and advocate for monies to be issued to the family of the deceased. The decision whether in favor of the plaintiff or defendant is made by the presiding judge. If settled out of court, a wrongful death attorney can negotiate on behalf of the family to receive monies as well.

Any monies received are commensurate with fees for medical care, As each state's wrongful death laws vary from one another's, wrongful death attorneys must familiarize themselves with the legislation of the state in which the case was originated. Legislation in 1946 under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allowed people to file claims and grievances for the accidental loss of life of a family member.

Read This About Elder Abuse Attorneys

Read This About Elder Abuse Attorneys

 Attorneys that specialize in aiding victims of 

         Physical abuse includes any direct harm to the victim.

         Psychological abuse includes humiliation and terrorizing the victim through shouting or ignoring that causes the victim to be fearful.

         Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual activities forced upon the victim.

         Negligence includes ignoring the basic needs of the victim and the intentional restriction of access to those needs.

         Financial abuse includes exploiting the monies and properties of the victim through coercion or theft.

         Rights abuse includes ignoring the constitutional rights of the victim. (State laws have been passed to help prevent this type of abuse to the elderly.)

         Abandonment includes stranding the victim in a place where harm to their personal welfare may befall them.

Another form of abuse that is on the rise is institutional abuse. This abuse comes from organizations, i.e. Elder abuse, perhaps surprisingly, is often caused by those close to the victim. Whether it is a family member or friend, the majority of victims know their abuser and have a relationship with them. This relationship is known as a “relationship of trust”. Some people may deceive and coerce the elderly into trusting them in order to receive monies or be added to the victims will. Statistically, women are the primary victims of elder abuse.

Elder abuse attorneys are able to prosecute and penalize the perpetrators of the abuse. This may come through monies paid to the victim or jail time imposed on the perpetrator. One tool that an elder abuse attorney has in his or her arsenal is the Federal Older Americans Act of 1965. This act makes provisions for the care and support of the elderly in the United States. Under Title VII of this act, funds and guidelines are appropriated for the protection of the elderly and their rights.

Title VII outlines programs to be established, state requirements to be set, and defines the rights the elderly have and what constitutes the violation of those rights. Another tool that an elder abuse attorney can use to aid the victims of elder abuse is Adult Protective Services law (APS). Many states have APS laws to ensure that senior citizens are protected from harm through elder abuse and from those that would manipulate any vulnerabilities that the victim may have.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA, is an organization of lawyers who specialize in the field of elder law. The primary goal of NAELA is to educate the elderly and those with special needs about their rights under United States law. Founded in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is comprised of public and private attorneys, law firms, judges, law students and professors of law nationwide. According to NAELA’s official website, its current membership is 4,400.

In its efforts to promote the education of senior citizens and attorneys alike about Elder Law, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys uses an array of tactics for advocacy for the elderly. NAELA publishes brochures and an online journal to spread information about the academy and keeps members, both present and prospective, informed about new policies, legislation, and issues that concern the elderly and disabled. 

Another initiative the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has created to educate people about elder law is National Elder Law Month. National Elder Law Month is during the month of May and NAELA members are encouraged to educate the elderly and disabled in their community about NAELA efforts and elder law. NAELA has also created an initiative alongside the Medicare program to promote Medicare’s new website for senior citizens and people with special needs and efforts to educate beneficiaries called “Ask Medicare”.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and its efforts are funded by annual membership dues. These funds are designated towards education, advocacy, and advertising local NAELA Elder Law attorneys throughout the United States. NAELA currently has members in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Education and Training Explained

Education and Training Explained

Elder law lawyers become lawyers in the same fashion as other lawyers who specialize in other fields. This is achieved through attending college, law school and passing state requirements in order to practice law. Elder law lawyers choose to specialize in defending the rights of the elderly and creating legislation to ensure those rights are protected.

The choice to become an elder law lawyer is, of course, up to the individual, but the road to becoming an attorney is standard for those who enter that field. Many states, in order for someone to practice, require a degree in law from an accredited school of law as proof of education. These degrees come in several forms: a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.), a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.), and a Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.).

Each of these listed degrees are in order of their succession; for example, a person must have a Bachelor of Laws degree in order to study for a Master of Law degree. While attending law school, the prospective attorney may choose the specific area of law in which they would like to practice, for instance, elder law. When choosing elder law as a field, the prospective elder law lawyer may take courses regarding that field and his or her focus therein, while still learning about the law as a whole in the United States.

After graduating from law school, if intending elder law lawyers or attorneys in another field wish to practice law, they must pass what is known as a bar examination. This exam, typically a two-day process, tests an individual’s knowledge of the law and laws specific to that state. Going back to the purview of elder law, the bar examination is comprised of essays to ensure that the prospective elder law lawyer comprehends the law and is fit to practice in that given state(s).

After “passing the bar”, the elder law lawyer can then either start his or her own firm, or seek employment at law firms in that state where he or she is permitted to practice law. For elder law lawyers (and other attorneys as well) that wish to practice law specifically in Illinois, they may seek a 711 License. This license permits law students in the state of Illinois to practice law in a limited capacity as long as three-fifths of credits need to graduate have been completed.

An elder law lawyer can receive specific training for this field through Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs and through organizations such as the 

What Are Probate Attorneys

What Are Probate Attorneys


Attorneys involved in the executing of the estate of a deceased person based on the Probate law.

Transaction lawyers are hired to help execute the estate of the deceased. This means the lawyer distributes property, funds, and other wishes as dictated in the will of the deceased. The lawyer will inform the heirs and family members of the estate of what they are to receive or to manage.

Probate litigators are brought in by the family members of the deceased to either dispute the appropriation of the estate or to clear up the wording of the will so that it is more comprehensible. These lawyers may also help family members file suit to become the executor of the estate, obtain property, or 

A probate lawyer can also be hired to help someone draft a will. In this capacity, the lawyer creates a legal document which will determine what properties are left to whom, who becomes the executor of the person's estate, who becomes the parental guardian of the person's children if younger than adult age, or other information to be relayed to family members after the person has died. Probate attorneys in the United States create wills in accordance with the Uniform Probate Code of 1964 (UPC).

The UPC was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) to help standardize the process of creating a will and the language to be used within so that it can be understood by the heirs and family of the deceased. Probate law varies from state to state as only 16 states adopted the UPC as originally written in 1964. Before executing a will, many probate attorneys familiarize themselves with the specific probate law in the state of the deceased so as to perform their duties legally and effectively.

The UPC contains eight articles which dictate how a probate attorney is to operate within the scope of the law to properly create wills and execute them. The eight articles are:

         General Provisions, Definitions, and Probate Jurisdiction of Court

         Intestacy, Wills and Donative Transfers

         Probate of Wills and Administration

         Foreign Personal Representatives and Ancillary Administration

         Protection of Persons Under Disability and their Property

         Nonprobate Transfers on Death

         Trust Administration

         Effective Date and Repealer 

The UPC provides definitions and guidelines for probate attorneys, judges, and government agencies to follow in regard to probate law and its application.