Board Certification

Estate Law Specialist BoardC. Douglas Welty, a full-time trusts & estates attorney, is certified as an Estate Planning Law Specialist by the Estate Law Specialist Board, an autonomous body accredited by the American Bar Association and affiliated with the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. He was the first estate planning attorney in Northern Virginia to earn such certification.

To become and remain board-certified, an attorney must have extensive estate planning experience, pass a comprehensive examination in estate planning and estate & gift tax law, and be recommended and endorsed by peer estate & trust attorneys. To remain board-certified, one must participate in continuing legal education to keep abreast of – and teach others about – new legal and tax developments.

You should know that the Virginia State Bar does not itself certify specialists, nor does the Commonwealth have a procedure for certifying accrediting organizations. And there are some fine trust & estate attorneys who are not board-certified. However, if you are searching for an estate planning attorney, board certification certainly is a good place to start.

Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®) Designation

Doug Welty also holds the multidisciplinary Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) designation, which is conferred by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils upon both estate planning attorneys and highly experienced non-attorney estate planning professionals (such as certified public accountants, financial planners, insurance specialists, and commercial and private trust administrators).

The requirements for the AEP designation are rigorous and comprehensive. Doug Welty is one of only three attorneys in Northern Virginia who hold the AEP designation, which is held by fewer than 500 estate & trust attorneys nationwide.