As a general rule, when you need the advice and guidance of an attorney it is for a specific reason or legal issue. Therefore, you typically look for an attorney who specializes or focuses on that area of the law. Just as you would not consult with a podiatrist for a problem with your vision, you would not consult with a criminal defense attorney if you are embroiled in a contract dispute. Whether for yourself or for an elderly loved one you may find yourself in need of the services of an elder law attorney at some point in time. Because elder law is a relatively new area of the law, however, you may not have a thorough understanding of what an elder law attorney does.
Although the elderly, and those who care for them, have always needed legal advice and assistance, “elder law” was not really considered a unique area of the law until the last several decades. As the average life expectancy in the United States continues to increase, causing the number of older Americans to swell, concerns of the elderly have finally taken center stage. During the last couple of decades of the 20th century the legal community began to recognize the growing emphasis on legal issues faced by the elderly and their caregivers. In response, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA, was formed.
NAELA provides a variety of resources for attorneys such as a certification program for attorneys who focus on elder law issues. Unlike many other areas of the law that require an in-depth knowledge of a narrow area of the law, elder law requires an attorney to have a more broad knowledge base that encompasses all of the various issues that face the elderly, such as healthcare issues, housing problems, and estate planning issues. An elder law attorney is an attorney who has chosen to focus on all of these issues and on the many concerns that caregivers of the elderly commonly have.
Whether you are looking for an attorney to handle your own elder law issues, or one to assist you as a caregiver of an elderly loved one, it is crucial that you find the right attorney. Legal issues of the elderly are often ongoing, meaning that you will likely have an ongoing relationship with your elder law attorney. Take the time to find the right New York elder law attorney for your needs to ensure that your attorney-client relationship is mutually beneficial.