May 08, 2021
Chris Berry, Esq., CELA | Certified Elder Law Attorney | Castle Wealth Group Legal
A short video introducing Estate and Elder Law Attorney Christopher J. Berry, Esq., CELA. One of the youngest Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the nation when he passed the CELA exam, which is the Gold Standard for estate planning and elder law.
Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via this link or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.
Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.
Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.
With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.
I love Southeast Michigan. I was born and raised here. I remember when my parents would cart me off to soccer games and basketball games in Novi, Brighton, Livonia, South Lyon. And now, living in Brighton, I’m able to do the same thing with my children whether we’re kayaking at Kensington or walking around Main Street, attending one of the festivals, or grabbing frozen yogurt together. That’s what’s great about Southeast Michigan, is that you can spend time with family and friends together and it’s a tight-knit community. And that’s why I chose to open up my practice in Southeast Michigan in Brighton because that’s where my passion is, is to help the families of Southeast Michigan, protect what they have, and preserve their quality of life. Our main office is in Brighton, right on Grand River. And then we have additional offices in Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.
So I did my undergrad at Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids. My undergrad was in finance and psychology. I got into the honors program there. And then from there, I went to Michigan State University College of Law focusing on corporate concentration. I’m one of, I think, 17 certified elder law attorneys in all of Michigan. A certified elder law attorney is the top designation that any estate planning or elder law attorney can reach. It’s one of the few designations where you have to sit down and take an exam and pass that exam, and only 30% of the attorneys that sit down and take the CELA exam actually pass it their first time. And I was the second youngest attorney in the nation to pass the CELA exam.
I’m also an adjunct professor where I teach elder law at Western Cooley Law School. Also, I’ve written a book called The Caregiver’s Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One with Chronic Illness that provides a good how-to guide for caregivers who have a loved one who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, or just the frailties of aging, how to navigate that elder care journey.
Nothing’s more important than family time with me. I’m very protective of that time. Some of the things that my kids, Ryan and Maddie, and I love to do, we love to go downtown to the Sunday night concerts and downtown Brighton or go to the festivals. We just love walking around downtown. We love playing at the Imagination Station in downtown Brighton or walking around the Millpond. My son, Ryan, he loves his piano lessons we’re taking at The Music Man right there on Grand River. The people I work with, they’re all wonderful people where a lot of times, they’ll get to know my children and my family as part of our process.
The reason I’m so passionate about what I do is because I’m just genuinely helping families. I’m not taking anyone to court, I’m not fighting against anyone. I’m just protecting families, protecting their quality of life. Unfortunately, our system’s broken in the sense that the more assets, the more resources you have, the more choice you have and the better quality of life. And it’s my job as a certified elder law attorney to make sure that we protect whatever resources you have and then bring whatever other resources we can, whether it’s from the community or from the government.
Most of my clients, they’re concerned about protecting their assets and the things that they love. And they’ve heard different things from different people, maybe their neighbors said one thing or they went online and found something else out but a lot of that is misinformation. And it’s my job as a certified elder law attorney to help guide clients through this legal long-term care maze, help them plan for what happens if they pass away, and help them plan for what happens if they don’t and they continue to age and face all the issues that go along with it.
A lot of times, clients don’t realize all of the different ways that we can help pay for long-term care, utilizing the little known, VA benefit, which can bring in an additional $1,000 to $2,000 a month to help pay for home care or assisted living, or they think they need to spend all of their money to qualify for Medicaid, and that’s just not the case. A lot of times, families find that if they’ve come into our office one to two years earlier, we could have been bringing in extra $1,000 to $2,000 a month over that time. And just the idea that I know that I’m just doing good helping families, helping great families, helping great local families protect their quality of life, it’s so rewarding. Generally, the best way to get ahold of us is just to pick up the phone and call. We’re always available to answer your questions.