Message from the President, Joley Steffens

Thank you for visiting the website of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA), a chapter of the National  Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  VAELA is leading the way in special needs and elder law in Virginia!

Founded in 2002, VAELA now has more than 160 members throughout the Commonwealth.  VAELA’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower legal representation of elderly and disabled clients and their families, and to advocate their issues before courts and legislatures.  VAELA recently hired its first executive director, Patricia McSherry.  Ms. McSherry’s background with aging organizations and talent at organizing busy attorneys is enhancing our ability to serve our members and our communities.

VAELA members are dedicated to meeting the legal needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and their families. The elderly and people with disabilities often face a multitude of legal issues.  Our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys can provide the specialized service and advice needed to sort through those issues, from basic powers of attorney and wills to the complex issues involved in obtaining and preserving eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits.

VAELA helps its members hone their skills as elder law attorneys and increase their knowledge base on aging issues and special needs planning.  We sponsor ongoing legal education, including an annual "UnProgram." The UnProgram provides our members with a two-day collegial forum to discuss any issues and questions that are relevant to the practice of elder law, and in-depth discussions of recent changes in the law. The UnProgram also provides an unparalleled opportunity for new elder law attorneys to participate in discussions with the best and brightest of the Virginia elder law field, to better understand such topics as Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, nursing home admissions and discharges, estate planning, guardianship and protective proceedings, fiduciary litigation, and much, much more.

Please contact us if you, or your organization, would like more information on VAELA.  Use our "Find an Attorney" function to contact one of our members qualified to assist you and your family with your specialized legal needs.