Smiling elder man

National Elder Law Foundation (NELF)

At Surprenant & Beneski, we are committed to providing exceptional legal services in estate planning, with a particular focus on elder law and special needs law. This commitment is epitomized by our lead attorneys, Daniel Surprenant and Michelle Beneski, who have both achieved the distinguished certification of Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) from the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). This achievement is particularly noteworthy since only about 28 lawyers in Massachusetts have been certified in elder law and special needs law by NELF.

Established in 1993, NELF stands as a beacon of expertise and professionalism in elder law. It is the only organization recognized by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys in this specialized field. NELF’s certification is not just a title; it is a rigorous process that ensures attorneys are thoroughly equipped to handle the complexities of elder law and special needs planning. Located in Tucson, Arizona, NELF has steadily built a reputation for setting the gold standard in elder law certification.

The certification process is meticulous and demanding. To be eligible, an attorney must have practiced law for at least five years and have spent at least 16 hours per week practicing elder law during the 3 years preceding their application. Additionally, they must have handled a wide range of issues in elder law, including estate planning, long-term care planning, and special needs trust management. 

A rigorous examination follows, designed to test the attorney’s depth of knowledge and understanding of elder law. This comprehensive process ensures that a CELA is not only knowledgeable but also has the practical experience necessary to provide top-notch legal services.

At Surprenant & Beneski, our association with NELF goes beyond certifications. Our own Attorney Surprenant has an illustrious background in elder law, having served as president of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) in 2015. 

His involvement with NAELA, an organization committed to improving the quality of legal services provided to older adults and people with disabilities, reflects our firm’s dedication to these critical areas of law. Moreover, Attorney Surprenant’s membership in the Special Needs Alliance, an invitation-only organization, underscores our commitment to providing customized legal services to individuals with special needs and their families.

Our NELF certifications and our active involvement in elder law and special needs law organizations underscore our commitment to excellence in these fields. For our clients, this means access to a level of expertise and dedication that is rare. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of estate planning, addressing long-term care concerns, or managing special needs trusts, our team is equipped with the knowledge, experience, and credentials to provide superior legal guidance and support.

At Surprenant & Beneski, we are not just attorneys; we are dedicated advocates for the elderly and individuals with special needs. Our NELF-certified attorneys demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of legal practice in elder law and special needs law. We take pride in our ability to offer our clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing their legal affairs are in caring, capable hands.