Duly Noted

Attorneys affiliated with Grand Rapids firms among first to become certified in Elder Law

Gregory R. Kish, an attorney with Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, and David E. Waterstradt of Warner Norcross & Judd have earned the designation of Certified Elder Law Attorney from the National Elder Law Foundation, two of only 14 attorneys in Michigan to hold this certification.

In order to become a Certified Elder Law Attorney, licensed attorneys must meet elder law involvement and continuing education requirements by having practiced elder law for a certain number of years, handled a specific number of elder law matters, and participated in continuing elder law education for the minimum number of hours. Additionally, attorneys must participate in a peer review process and pass a rigorous certification examination.

 Kish, from Smith Haughey’s Traverse City office, where he practices primarily in the areas of elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, probate, trust administration, special needs planning, and real estate law. His holistic approach to elder law focuses not only on the legal and financial issues of maintaining independence, long-term nursing home or home-based care, assisted living, Medicare, and Medicaid, but also on the need to be mindful of the emotional aspects of these difficult family decisions.

Certification in elder law – one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession – provides a measure of assurance to the public that the attorney has an in-depth working knowledge of the legal issues that impact the elderly. The certification is reserved for lawyers with specialized knowledge, skills, experience and proficiency to resolve issues that affect older people.  This certification program is the only elder law program accredited by the American Bar Association.

Waterstradt concentrates his practice in estate and trust planning, elder law and disability planning. Active professionally and in the community, Waterstradt serves as president of the Muskegon County Bar Association and the Muskegon ARC.  He is the past president of the Lake Michigan Estate Planning Council.  He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, ABA and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  Waterstradt is accredited by the Department of Veteran Affairs to handle claims for veterans’ benefits.  He also serves as the cross-country coach for North Muskegon High School.

Waterstradt holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Grand Valley State University and a doctor of jurisprudence from the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.