Todd Whatley, JD, LLM - Elder Law, CELA*
*Certified Elder Law Attorney
as recognized by the National Elder Foundation an aba accredited organization. licensed in arkansas and oklahoma
Todd has had a very “circuitous” career to get where he is now. However, looking back, every turn has gotten where he is now and seems to have helped in his current professional career.
Todd was an Emergency Medical Technician working on a local ambulance service the day after he graduated high school.
Todd started his professional career as a Physical Therapist. Like most your PTs, he wanted to work in sports and help athletes. He did get to work with some athletes, on his own time, but he was assigned to work with with seniors doing Home Health. He thought he would hate that job since it was not athletes and he thought it would be boring. (that’s funny in retrospect) However, when one of his first patients thanked him profusely with tears in her eyes saying “he had given her a purpose to live by helping her to get to church and to the beauty shop without relying on others”, he knew he had found his career. Todd worked in home health and nursing homes his entire career as a Physical Therapist helping seniors get as much of their life back as possible, and loved his job. That experience brings a very unique skill to his job as an Elder Law Attorney.
Todd worked for 13 years as a PT and then really on a “streak of boredom” decided to go to law school. He went to law school while still working full time as a PT and with a wife and two small children. He graduated law school and opened a very part time and small office doing general law. He HATED it.
He hated it so much that he almost quit until he got a training brochure in the mail discussing the new field of “Elder Law” where you work with seniors and their very unique legal issues of estate planning, Medicaid and VA benefits. He LOVED seniors so he ordered the information and his life was changed forever.
Todd immediately jumped into this new and emerging field of Elder Law in 2000 in Arkansas. At that time, there were very few attorneys doing this and Todd blazed a trail in the area of Elder Law in Arkansas helping seniors throughout the State. He also forced the Arkansas Medicaid department to change many of their practices because they were not following the rules and not being fair to the seniors of Arkansas.
Todd met Blaine and Jorjana early in 2019 and helped them form OK Senior law.
Elder Law is one of the few areas of the law that the American Bar Association allows the attorneys to be called “specialists”. That specialization is called a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). The ABA authorizes a national non-profit to determine who will meet the requirements to become a CELA. That organization is the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).
There are still very few CELAs in the US (530 as of last count) but there were really not many back in 2000. There was only one in Arkansas and probably about 350 nationally. Todd dedicated his practice, studied and met all of the requirement to become Arkansas’ second CELA in 2005.
Todd attended all of the Elder Law conferences and volunteer for NELF doing whatever he could to help the cause of Elder Law in the country. In 2010, Todd was elected to be on the Board of Directors for NELF which at that time was the crowning moment in Todd’s career. To be on the Board that determines the path of Elder Law in the US was a tremendous honor. Then in 2016, Todd was elected as President of the Board and served for two years as President. That is a huge honor that he does not take for granted and is very honored that the organization saw fit to allow him to assist the cause of Elder Law in such a way.
Personally, Todd has been married to his high school sweetheart for over 30 years now, Patty. He has two grown children, Tyler and Abby. Tyler is a father now giving Todd his first (notice he says “first”) grandchild named after Todd’s grandfather, Theodore McKinnon. He’s pretty proud!
Todd now has a coaching group where he coaches with new young attorneys and older seasoned attorneys who want to start helping seniors and do Elder Law. Todd absolutely loves this job and is helping seniors get the help they need by educating more attorneys on what they need to learn and do to be the best help possible to this segment of society.
Let Todd and the other partners of OK Senior Law help you and your family plan for your later years with peace of mind knowing it’s done and most importantly done right. You don’t want just any attorney navigating these very complex issues. You want attorneys who have done and taught it for years. Get the advice you need by letting Todd and his partners in OK Senior Law help you and your family today.