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Why You Need a Certified Elder Law Attorney like Chris Berry

Not all estate planning or elder law attorneys are created equal.  When you look for an attorney to help you with a special needs or elder law issue, you should look first at Certified Elder Law Attorneys near you. Why? Because they have demonstrated that they understand your legal problems, and they can help you.

The Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) certification has frequently been referred to as “the gold standard” for elder law and special needs practitioners. This reflects the hard work and proof required before an attorney can proudly proclaim that he or she holds the valued designation.

Preparation for a CELA designation includes several steps and several different types of qualification, all of which are designed to assure that clients receive good legal care. Before being certified, an applicant must:

  1. Have practiced law for at least five years, and have focused at least half of their practice in the special needs/elder law field for at least the last three of those years.
  2. Demonstrate “substantial involvement” in special needs and elder law practice, by demonstrating a minimum number of individual cases, spread across a number of different categories making up the “elder law” definition.
  3. Study for, take and pass a rigorous, day-long written examination. Recent pass rates have been below 50% — and that is of applicants who have already met the experience requirements.
  4. Undergo a review by peers and colleagues, focused on the applicant’s reputation for ethical and competent representation in elder law and special needs planning matters.

There are only a little more than 400 CELAs in the country, so not every community has even one person who has been certified. Your lawyer should be a CELA — it is your surest method of independently confirming that she (or he) is more than just qualified. After all, you deserve the best legal representation available.

Christopher J. Berry, Esq. CELA, was the second youngest attorney to ever pass the CELA exam.  He has offices in Brighton, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Novi to serve clients throughout Oakland, Wayne and Livingston County.

To learn more about his practice visit MichiganEstatePlanning.com or CJBerryGroup.com. Attorney Chris Berry is an author, adjunct professor, attorney, and holistic planner that helps Michigan families plan for their second half of life through innovative legal and financial planning processes.

About Christopher J. Berry, JD., CELA

Christopher J. Berry, JD., CELA is the founder of two interrelated companies that provide financial services and legal services to Michigan families. Chris is the founding President of a law firm that does estate and elder law planning (The Elder Care Firm). The second company is a firm that provides holistic wealth, estate and tax planning for clients using a client-centered best-interest process (The CJ Berry Group). The companies are located in Metro-Detroit. Christopher J. Berry is a nationally-recognized estate and financial planning expert, quoted in publications like Kiplinger's Retirement. Chris Berry is an invited presenter for some of the world’s top financial companies, money managers and industry associations such as Northwestern Mutual, Mass Mutual, John Hancock, Michigan Association of CPA's, Society of Financial Service Professionals, Financial Planning Association and the Institute of Continued Legal Education, to name a few.Nationwide, Merrill Lynch, Transamerica, Jackson National, Morgan Stanley, American Institute of CPAs, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and several Financial Planning Associations. Christopher Berry is the author of The Caregiver's Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved one with Chronic Illness. Additionally, Chris Berry has co-authored two other books Tax-Free Money for Long-term Care and Protect My IRA: Avoid the 5 Common Mistakes.
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