Elder Law – 25 Years and Counting

In 1986, a group of attorneys from around the country met at the California Bar Association’s Annual Meeting to discuss the ever increasing senior population and how to deal with the myriad of issues facing them.  The theme of their talks was “How can we help?”  These attorneys came from diverse backgrounds including private practice, social work, legal service groups and the public sector.  Resulting conversations and meetings resulted in a 1988 conference in Tucson which was the first annual meeting for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

NAELA’s attorneys have been a driving force in protecting the rights of the elderly in this country for 25 years.  It has presented numerous conferences across the country which have educated attorneys on how to represent their clients in diverse areas, such as estate and tax planning, public benefits eligibility, litigation and advocacy, housing rights, and establishing protective arrangement, like guardianships and trusts.

Over the past four decades, life expectancy in this country has risen dramatically.  Accompanying this growth has been an increase in the number of individuals and couples who are in a position to pass substantial assets from one generation to the next.  Unfortunately, quality of life does not always keep up with quantity of life, as evidenced by the growing number of long term care facilities that house those with dementia, strokes and other debilitating conditions.  Moreover, government regulations are poised to drain the assets of those with modest means who need long term care, while imposing significant taxation on those who have accumulated a respectable nest egg.

Elder law attorneys can assist their clients in a manner which acknowledges their distinct individual and financial backgrounds.  Everyone needs their financial and personal affairs in order.  In this day and age, an elder law attorney should be consulted to insure that such needs are addressed properly.

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