What are Elder Law and Special Needs Law Attorneys?

"Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys are competent, caring and compassionate professionals," said Craig Reaves, former NAELA President. "They focus on the overall picture of what is best for clients and their families."

Read the NAELA Fact Sheet.

What is Elder and Special Needs Law?
Elder and Special Needs Law are specialized areas of law that involve representing, counseling, and assisting seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from estate planning to long term care issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for the individuals. Typically, Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys address the client’s perspective from a holistic viewpoint by addressing legal, medical, financial, social and family issues.

Demand for Elder and Special Needs Law Is Growing
The number of older individuals in the population is projected to increase to 71.5 million in 2030, representing nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. As a result the need is growing for specialized legal advice about aging-related issues.

What Are the Issues Addressed By Elder and Special Needs Law Attorneys?
Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys advise clients about what they should consider with regard to retirement income, long-term care, lifestyle and housing needs, and preferences. In addition, wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney for property and health and insurance coverage are issues that seniors should discuss with Elder Law attorneys.

Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys are experts in 13 key areas including:

  • Estate Planning and Probate
  • Estate and Gift Tax Planning
  • Guardianship/Conservatorship
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Entitlement Programs
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Age Discrimination
  • Elder Abuse/Neglect
  • Housing
  • Long Term Care Financing
  • Medical Decision Making
  • Disability Planning
  • Insurance

Who Are the Clients of Elder and Special Needs Law Attorneys?
In addition to seniors, Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys deal with the entire life spectrum. From people with disabilities to those facing the end of life, Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys promote planning now for the future.

About the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
Established in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a nonprofit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. Members of NAELA are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has more than 4,000 members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Current Membership in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: 4,300

Aging Trends

  • The number of Baby Boomers in America is estimated to be 78.2 million and the first Baby Boomers will be turning 65 in 2011. By the year 2020, the over-65 population is expected double.

(Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older Americans Update 2006: Key Indicators of Well-Being. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office May 2006).

  • In 2006, there were nearly 500 million people age 65 and older worldwide. By 2030, it is projected to increase to 1 billion or 1 in every 8 of the earth’s residents.

(“Why Population Aging Matters- A Global Perspective,” National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, March 2007).

  • Globally, and for the first time in recorded history, it will soon be the case that older people will outnumber children under age 5.

(“Why Population Aging Matters- A Global Perspective,” National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, March 2007).

Medical/Living Conditions

  • Older men and women are participating in the labor force significantly more than in the past. The labor force participation rates for men age 65 to 69 increased 25 percent in 1993 to 34 percent in 2005. The labor force participation rates for women increased from 14 percent in 1985 to 24 percent in 2005.

(Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older Americans Update 2006: Key Indicators of Well-Being. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office May 2006).

  • A recent AARP survey found that a significant majority of Americans over the age of 50 say that as they retire, they would prefer to “age in place,” by either staying in their current home or moving to one nearby.

(AARP’s “2005 State of 50+ America Survey”)

Caregiving

  • People are living longer and having fewer children. There is a rising concern that people will have less family support as they age.

(Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older Americans Update 2006: Key Indicators of Well-Being. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office May 2006).

  • The value of the services family caregivers provide for “free” is estimated to be $306 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion).

(Arno, Peter S., “Economic Value of Informal Caregiving,” presented at the Care Coordination and the Caregiving Forum, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, NIH, Bethesda, MD, January 25-27, 2006).


 


To arrange an interview with an Elder or Special Needs Law attorney, contact:
Communications Specialist
Abby Matienzo
703-942-5711 #230
Request a NAELA member to speak at your event.
 
Public Relations, Media, and Advertising Inquiries
Director of Communications and Publications 
Nancy Sween
703-942-5711 #225