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Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC News

January 2016, Issue 66

 "January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, 

A frost-mailed warrior

Striding a shadowy steed of snow."

-Edgar Fawcett



Mark your calendars! Attorney Kate Coyle will speak on Legal and Financial Issues for Alzheimer ’s disease and Dementia on January 7, 2016 at the Post Falls American Legion, Post 143, 1138 Poleline Avenue, Post Falls. For more information, call (208) 666-2996!

Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2016 for Martin Luther King, Jr. / Human Rights Day.

Check out Wytychak ElderLaw, PLLC on Facebook! “Like” us to stay informed and hear about events in the senior community. Search for Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC.

Share our page with your friends and family so they can also take advantage of the informative articles and information!


                            WHAT IS A CELA, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?


In 2015, attorney Katherine Coyle at Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC became a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). Becoming a CELA is a very rigorous process that Kate worked toward for several years.

Elder law is defined by the National Elder Law Foundation (the certifying organization) as 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, disposition and administration of estates, and the implementation of these decisions concerning such matters, giving due consideration to applicable tax consequences of the action, or the need for more sophisticated tax expertise. A CELA is considered an expert in Elder Law.

In order to become a CELA, an applicant must have practiced law for at least five years. Specifically, the attorney has to have shown “substantial involvement” in Elder Law, proving the amount of time devoted to Elder Law issues, such as health and personal care planning, pre-mortem legal planning, fiduciary representation, legal capacity counseling, public benefits advice, special needs counseling, insurance, residence rights advocacy, housing counseling, employment and retirement advice, counseling with regard to age or disability discrimination, litigation and administrative advocacy, and other senior-related legal areas.  

Additionally, the applicant must prove that he or she participated in at least forty-five hours of continuing legal education in Elder-Law related courses.  The applicant is also subject to a peer review by his or her colleagues, and must provide at least five attorney references.

Finally, the applicant sits for a day-long essay examination which is proctored twice per year.  The CELA examination is notoriously difficult, with recent pass rates as low as 14 to 33 percent.

Currently, only six attorneys practicing in Idaho are certified as CELAs.  Three are in Boise, one is in Twin Falls, and two are in Coeur d’ Alene.  The two CELAs in Coeur d’ Alene are Michael Wytychak, III and Kate Coyle, both of Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC (although as many of you may know, Michael Wytychak III is in the process of retiring from the practice of law). 

In order to maintain her status as a CELA, Kate will have to continue to show substantial involvement in Elder Law, and must take additional Continuing Education Credits in Elder Law each year, on top of her requirements for the Idaho State Bar Association.

What does having a Certified Elder Law Attorney mean for you?  According to, the 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.  There are only a little more than 400 CELAs in the country, so not every community has even one person who has been certified. Having a CELA as your attorney for these very complicated issues relating to planning for end of life is your surest method of independently confirming that she (or he) is more than just qualified. After all, you and your family deserve the best legal representation available. 


“Have a happy new year and a wonderful 2016”

-The Staff at Wytychak Elder Law










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