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Elder Law

Attorney Barreira’s main blog, ElderLaw.info, and his secondary blog, MassHealth.info, are two of most accessed blogs on elder law in the United States, with over 315,000 pages visited since they began.

Although Massachusetts does not recognize legal specialties for certification, since 1996 Attorney Barreira has been a Certified Elder Law Attorney.  The certification was conducted by the non-profit National Elder Law Foundation, the only national organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys in elder law. Attorney Barreira has since that time participated in the National Elder Law Foundation through writing examination questions and grading examinations.

The National Elder Law Foundation (www.nelf.org) defines elder law as including, and the national certification examination that Attorney Barreira passed in 1996 covers, all of the following legal issues:

1. Health and Personal Care Planning, including giving advice regarding, and preparing, advance medical directives (medical powers of attorney, living wills, and health care declarations) and counseling older persons, individuals with supplemental/special needs, attorneys-in-fact, and families about life care, medical and life-sustaining choices, and related personal life choices.

2. Pre-Mortem Legal Planning, including giving advice and preparing documents regarding wills, trusts, durable general or financial powers of attorney, real estate, gifting, and the financial and income, estate and gift tax implications of any proposed action.

3. Fiduciary Representation, including seeking the appointment of, giving advice to, representing, or serving as executor, personal representative, attorney-in-fact, trustee, guardian, conservator, representative payee, or other formal or informal fiduciary.

4. Legal Capacity Counseling, including advising how capacity is determined and the level of capacity required for various legal activities, and representing those who are or may be the subject of guardianship/conservatorship proceedings or other protective arrangements.

5. Public Benefits Advice, including planning for and assisting in obtaining Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans benefits and housing and food programs.

6. Special Needs Counseling, including the planning, drafting and administration of special/supplemental needs trusts, housing, employment, education and related issues.

7. Advice on Insurance Matters, including analyzing and explaining the types of insurance available, such as health, life, long term care, home care, COBRA, medigap, long term disability, dread disease, prescription coverage, and burial/funeral policies.

8. Resident Rights Advocacy, including advising patients and residents of hospitals, nursing facilities, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living facilities, adult care facilities, and those cared for in their homes of their rights and appropriate remedies in matters such as admission, transfer and discharge policies, quality of care, and related issues.

9. Housing Counseling, including reviewing the alternatives available and their financing such as: renovation loan programs, life care contracts, home equity conversion, reverse and other mortgage options.

10. Employment and Retirement Advice, including pensions, retiree health benefits, unemployment benefits, and other benefits.

11. Counseling with regard to age and/or disability discrimination in employment, housing and related areas.

12. Litigation and Administrative Advocacy in connection with any of the above matters, including will contests, contested capacity issues, elder abuse (including financial or consumer fraud), fiduciary administration, public benefits, and nursing home torts.