What is the Experience Registry?

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has developed an Experience Registry to assist the public in finding qualified Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorneys. The attorneys subscribing to the registry have chosen to participate in this member service. Registry participants do not reflect a master list of members of the Academy. Neither is the Experience Registry an exhaustive list of the Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorneys in the United States.

Registry participants include attorneys who have verified with the Academy that they meet or exceed a minimum level of experience in each field of law for which they are listed. The Academy makes no representation as to the skills or qualifications of the listed individuals.

What areas of Law are covered in the Registry?

Participants can select from the following areas of law:

  • Planning for Disability - including durable powers of attorney, inter vivos trusts, living wills, medical powers of attorney and health care proxies
  • Contested Medical Care Decision Making - for incapacitated persons, including right to die
  • Estate Planning - including wills and inter vivos trusts
  • Estate and Gift Tax Planning - including planning, wills, trusts and gifting programs
  • Fiduciary Administration - Inter vivos - including serving as a trustee, serving as a guardian/personal representative, serving as an attorney-in-fact, counsel to trustee/guardian/attorney-in-fact
  • Decedent's Estate Administration - including serving as or giving counsel to an executor/administrator/personal representative
  • Fiduciary Tax Administration - including preparation of estate tax returns and preparation of fiduciary income tax returns for estate of trust
  • Guardianship/Conservatorship (uncontested)
  • Contested and Non-Contested Estate and Planning Matters - including contested wills and trusts, and guardianships/conservatorships
  • Disputed Tax Matters - including estate, gift, and income tax
  • Medicaid - including planning, applications, appeals and compliance
  • Medicare - including coverage issues, appeals, and claims administration
  • Disability Benefit Applications and Appeals - including SSI, social security disability, and private insurance
  • Long-term Care Issues (nursing homes, life care community, board and care, assisted living) - including contract review, admission, discrimination, level of care, transfers and discharges, medication/restraint issues, and other patient rights issues
  • Elder Abuse/Fraud Recovery Cases
  • Civil Commitment Issues
  • State and Federal (HECM) Home Equity Conversion
  • Age Discrimination in Housing - federal and state
  • Age Discrimination in Employment - including ADEA and state actions
  • Retirement Benefits - including government retirement/survivor benefits, private retirement and pension benefits, ERISA, and tax issues
  • Personal Injury on Behalf of Older Persons - including medical/nursing malpractice, negligence of health care providers, and senior safety issues

Each participating attorney's listing indicates the areas of law for which he/she has met our criteria.


Listing in the Experience Registry and/or the NAELA membership directory does not constitute an endorsement, referral, or statement of qualification by NAELA, nor does NAELA screen or evaluate those listed. NAELA is not responsible for the acts or omissions of any Elder Law or Special Needs Law attorney.

What is certification?

Some attorneys have earned the designation Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). These attorneys have the enhanced knowledge, skills, and experience to be properly identified to the public as Certified Elder Law Attorneys. The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) has developed and published rules and regulations regarding certification. NELF, a non-profit organization founded in 1993, is dedicated to the development and improvement of the professional competence of lawyers in the area of Elder Law.

The criteria for certification is as follows:

  1. Licensure - Attorney must be licensed to practice law in at least one state or the District of Columbia
  2. Practice - Attorney must have practiced law during the five years preceding their application and must still be practicing law.
  3. Integrity/Good Standing - Attorney must be a member in good standing of the bars in all places in which they are licensed.
  4. Substantial Involvement - Attorney must have spent an average of at least 16 hours per week practicing Elder Law during the three years preceding their application. In addition, they must have handled at least 60 Elder Law matters during those three years with a specified distribution among subjects as defined by the Foundation.
  5. Continuing Legal Education - Attorney must have participated in at least 45 hours of continuing legal education in Elder Law during the preceding three years.
  6. Peer Review/Professional References - Attorney must submit the names of five references from attorneys familiar with their competence and qualifications in Elder Law. These persons must themselves satisfy specified criteria.
  7. Examination - Attorney must pass a full-day certification examination administered by NELF which is designed to demonstrate their specialized Elder Law knowledge and skills.
For more information about Elder Law certification, please visit the National Elder Law Foundation at www.nelf.org.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
Non-profit association for attorneys specializing in Elder Law and Special Needs Law
Established in 1987
Over 4,500 members nationwide
Mailing Address
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
1577 Spring Hill Rd., Suite 310
Vienna, VA 22182  
General Contact Information
Phone: 703-942-5711*
Fax: 703-563-9504
*Please note NAELA's office staff CANNOT assist the public with their legal needs. If you are seeking legal advice, please click on the “Find an Attorney” button located at the top of this page.