Aging In Michigan - November 2020

Meet Joe Weiler: President of the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys

“Elder law is about a lot of things,” says CT Attorney Joe Weiler. “It’s about guardianships, power of attorneys, Medicaid rules, undue influence, to name just a few. But in the end, it’s really about protecting a vulnerable population of older adults.”

“The growth of elder law in recent years coincides with the growing number of people living to advanced age. Not surprisingly, the explosion of people living longer has generated a whole new set of legal issues. And it’s still a very young area of the law, it’s still evolving and taking form,” said Joe.
“This group needs legal representation and advocacy just like any other group.”

“Look at this pandemic, for instance. It seems obvious that there’s been a lot of ageism exposed in how society reacted to a health crisis that was largely targeted at the elderly. Most of the people that died were over 70. And the overwhelmingly aged population of people in long term care have had to face the
fear of dying while at the same time they have been forced to endure being physically isolated from family and friends. Would that have happened if some other population had been getting sick? I don’t
think so. It’s troubling that these rules were so easily implemented. People are starting to talk about it now, and yet I doubt there will ever be an honest assessment of the devastating impact the COVID crisis has had on vulnerable older adults.”

Attorney Weiler is one of only a handful of attorneys in Michigan who have been certified in elder law by the National Elder Law Foundation, and he was recently elected President of the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.

“No surprise there,” said attorney Doug Chalgian. “Joe has established himself as one of the most knowledgeable and respected elder law attorneys in the State. That, and he is a genuinely nice guy, humble and fun to be around, makes him a natural leader.”

“I think this is a fascinating time to be in the aging industry,” says Joe. “Things are going to continue to be dynamic as society moves past the clichés and begins to recognize a population of people who are in their 80’s, 90’s and beyond, as valuable members of society with the same rights as everyone else. Not as
jokes. Not as people who have outlived their usefulness, which is sometimes how they are portrayed.”

“Becoming an elder law attorney has been a blessing to me and my family,” Joe says. “I don’t know of anything else that I could do with my law degree that would give me more pleasure, or with which I could do more to help my clients.”

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