Matecun Thomas & Olson, PLC - August 2019

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H ere’s something you may not know: I am one of 19 certified elder law attorneys in the state of Michigan — a state with over 35,000 practicing attorneys. Certification in elder law is a huge step above passing the state bar and practicing as an attorney. In order to become certified, eligible attorneys are put through a meticulous background check. The certifying organization— in this case,

Elder law changes on a regular basis. There are always new things to keep up with. On top of that, the existing law is nuanced. When you work with an attorney who is certified in a specific area of law, like elder law, you know they are keeping up with the times.

One good example is that our clients get the most up-to-date strategies regarding asset protection when going into a nursing home. We’re well-versed in determining

the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) — consults with your peers and looks at your practice history to see if you’re in good standing. They also look at your experience in elder law and how long you have been in practice. Once they determine your eligibility, and if you are accepted into their certification track, the next step is passing a rigorous exam, which I had to study intensely for. When I arrived on my test day, I had flashbacks to when I was taking the bar exam.

how to take care of the associated expenses, whether it’s restructuring assets or looking for a new source of income.

If a client went to a “regular” attorney who focuses on several areas of law, the client and their family would not get the care and attention they need. We’ve had many clients tell us that they were told by other attorneys that they would lose their house or have to spend every dime of their savings or retirement funds in order to pay for nursing home care. The reality is that this is false. When you understand how the laws work and what is really available to people in terms of strategy, you avoid these types of worst-case scenarios. But more than that, when you work with an attorney who is truly invested in their area of practice — and invested in seniors and their families and family dynamics — the results speak for themselves. I’m glad I pursued certification and really immersed myself in elder law and estate planning. As much as it means to me, it means so much more to the people who rely on us every day: our clients. I’ll be tackling various estate planning and elder law topics in the months ahead, so keep an eye out for more editions of this newsletter. We’ll also have a little fun along the way! I hope you and your family are having a great summer, and we’ll talk again soon. —Glenn Matecun

Ultimately, becoming a Certified Elder Law Attorney means you have significant experience in the areas of law dealing with seniors and their families. For

myself, this has been and will continue to be my core focus. Our section of the firm is dedicated to this part of the law, unlike many other attorneys who have a broader scope.

Those attorneys who try to cover a laundry list of different practice areas (personal injury, DUI, family law, and elder law, for example) — are not fully equipped to handle more specialized cases. That isn’t to say they are necessarily bad; but when one attorney handles many practice areas, you can spread yourself thin. (Remember the old quote “jack of all trades, master of none”?)

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