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What is an elder law attorney?

The specialty of "elder law" evolved in the 1980s as it became increasingly clear that the complicated legal issues confronting seniors - in particular qualifying for Medicaid coverage of long-term care - were beyond the expertise of general-practice attorneys. In recent years, we've increasingly seen the field described as "elder care law" and the lawyers as "elder care" attorneys.

Elder law or elder care attorneys typically help families:
  • plan for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, and apply for coverage when the time comes;
  • plan and administer an estate;
  • represent guardians and conservators; and
  • create and administer trusts.

Unlike many other areas of the law, elder law is defined by the needs of the client, rather than a particular field of law. Because of this, elder law attorneys are also aware that their clients' needs often extend beyond basic legal services. For this reason, they are linked to a network of professionals in their community who serve the senior population. (This also may have something to do with the change in nomenclature from "elder law" to "elder care law.")

But anyone can call themselves an "elder law" attorney, and today in the U.S. some 10,000 lawyers claim to practice "elder" or "elder care law." How do you know who is truly qualified? One way is to consult ElderLawAnswers' directory of member attorneys.

Who are ElderLawAnswers member attorneys

In order to be considered as a member of ElderLawAnswers, attorneys in our network must have a demonstrated commitment to elder law and a proven track record as an attorney in the field. In addition, our members benefit from the experience and expertise of their fellow member attorneys and from the practice tools they receive as part of their membership.

Through their listing on our site and on their own websites you can learn a lot about each member's background and approach to the practice of law. We encourage you to read up on each of our members who practices near where you live (or where your family member lives) and contact those who seem like a good fit.