February 22, 2019   
Contact: Abby M. Reitz, Communications Manager
       703-942-5711 #230

NAELA Releases 2nd Edition of Aspirational Standards for the Practice of Elder and Special Needs Law

Washington, DC — When assisting clients with planning or the implementation of plans, elder and special needs law attorneys often represent clients who have diminished or lack of capacity. Family members and other persons with fiduciary responsibilities also may be involved. The attorney-client relationship in elder and special needs law is not always as clear-cut and unambiguous as in other areas of law. Questions relating to end-of-life planning, self-determination, exploitation, abuse, long-term care planning, best interests, substituted judgment, and, fundamentally, “Who is the client?” present issues not regularly faced by attorneys in other fields.

The Second Edition of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Aspirational Standards includes two new sections: “Holistic Approach” and “Engagement Agreements and Drafting Documents.” The Second Edition also brings special needs law into the Standards. This edition delves more deeply into questions surrounding fiduciary representation. You’ll find more commentary and more practical examples to help you in your practice.

While each state’s professional responsibility rules mandate the minimum requirements of conduct for attorneys to maintain their licenses, the Aspirational Standards build upon and supplement those rules.

“The second edition of the Standards is an invaluable aid to attorneys as they navigate the many difficult issues that often arise when representing elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities. The nine accompanying articles make the Aspirational Standards with Commentaries all the more useful. By assisting attorneys to effectively meet the needs of their clients through high-quality counsel, advocacy, and guidance, they indeed will raise the level of professionalism in the practice of elder and special needs law,” said Gregory S. French, CELA, CAP, Fellow, Past Chair of the NAELA Professionalism and Ethics Committee.

Download the Aspirational Standards and the NAELA Journal Symposium Issue on the Aspirational Standards.


Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org, or to locate a NAELA member attorney in your area, visit NAELA.org/findlawyer.

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