What is a Dual Certification in Elder Law?

The Supreme Court Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists accredited the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) to certify attorneys as specialists in Elder Law in 2013.  The OSBA announced in August 2014 that Attorney Daniel P. Seink was one of eighteen attorneys that had earned the accreditation as OSBA Certified in Elder Law.

Certification as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation (CELA) is the only certification accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists.  Attorney Daniel P. Seink was first awarded the CELA certification in 2007.  Attorney Seink is one of twenty-four attorneys in Ohio who has earned the accreditation as a CELA.

The purpose of a certification program is to identify those lawyers who have the enhanced knowledge, skills, experience, and proficiency to be properly identified to the public as Certified Specialists. Certified Specialists are committed, through certification, to maintaining and improving their proficiency in Elder Law through continual practice and continuing legal education. 

Elder law is the legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long-term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision-making, legal capacity, and the conservation, disposition and administration of estates, giving due consideration to the tax consequences concerning such matters.

In addition, we as elder law attorneys take a holistic approach to our practice and strive to connect the client and their family with the best community resources, including service providers such as mediators, counselors and geriatric care managers to assist the client, spouse and family cope with their grief and adapt to the changes in their lives; home care providers and accountants to help maintain the client in their homes when possible; independent and assisted living facilities to maintain the optimal independence and dignity of the client; skilled and custodial nursing care that best provides for the specific physical, emotional and mental needs of the individual.

It seems that most attorneys these days list "elder law" as one of the many areas of practice just as Wills and Probate have been for years.  But make no mistake, elder law is a specific area of practice and there can be a very real and drastic difference for the client between a merely adequate job done by an attorney who is new to the field or dabbles in it occasionally, and a thorough job performed by an experienced Certified Specialist in Elder Law.  We at Daniel P. Seink Co. receive many referrals from probate and general practice attorneys when their clients experience specific elder law challenges such as accessing available public benefits, and have also worked with many clients who have come to us to get clear answers and to correct problems caused by other attorneys who were 'in over their heads'.  Place your trust in attorneys who previously have navigated the specific challenges you face for other clients.  Make sure you question how long an attorney has been practicing elder law, or how much of their practice is committed to it, preferably in writing.  Or, just seek out a Certified Specialist in Elder Law, as you can be assured of the answers to these questions, and feel confident in your choice of an experienced advocate and advisor.