News

Motions, Mediation and More

Villy Stolper argued a complicated and lengthy summary judgment motion in Forsyth County Superior Court.  He won on all the claims and counterclaims that were the subject of his motion.  The case involves claims of exploitation, trespass and constructive trust. Some weeks later, he represented the same client in a mediated settlement conference to address the parties’ remaining claims and counterclaims, a week before the scheduled jury trial. An experienced certified mediator, Thorns Craven of Mediation, Inc., assisted the parties in reaching a settlement.

Attorney Fred Flynt and Glenn Hudson confer before court.

Glenn Hudson prepared a motion to intervene in a case. Her client and his girlfriend have lived together for twenty years. Unfortunately, she now has Alzheimer’s disease. Glenn’s client wanted to be the guardian for his girlfriend. His adult children, however, filed a court action to be appointed guardian. Glenn gathered medical evidence and affidavits to present to the court. Her client won and now serves as his girlfriend’s guardian. The Elder Law Clinic partnered with the Psychiatry Department’s Geriatric Outreach (GO) Program on this case.

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Righting Some Wrongs

Andrew Dixon’s client moved from one assisted living facility to another.  But the first one kept the money she had in her “resident’s account.”  These funds were from her Social Security income and were protected by federal law from her creditors.  Andrew provided the corporate office the state and federal laws that prohibit this type of “self-help” seizure of a person’s money.  He succeeded in getting his client’s money back.

Kathleen Rose handled myriad financial issues for one of her clients.  She worked with the client to set up a pre-need funeral contract and to change life insurance beneficiaries.  She also helped her client arrange for bank drafts of routine bills and to cash in a life insurance policy.  Kathleen’s careful work helped the client regain control over her income and property.  Previously, the client’s family members had been mishandling both!

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Harmony, Acrimony, Variety

Villy Stolper listens to his client's concerns.

Our students handle a wide variety of cases.  In some, the legal drafting is a challenge. In others, the family dynamics are . . . dynamite!

Danielle Stone, for example, had a lovely 94-year-old client with two sons.  Her client wanted to have her will reviewed and execute a financial power of attorney. The family seemed to communicate well about their concerns.  It all went smoothly.  Another one of Danielle’s clients, however, was facing more challenges.  He and his wife were in a dispute.  Assets had been transferred and allegations about abuse flew back and forth. Danielle also communicated with his physicians (with his consent) to help develop a plan to address his needs.

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Reaching Out


The Elder Law Clinic helps more people by preparing educational materials and presentations.

Scott Villarreal put together a brochure about the rights of assisted living residents.  It covers the state laws that protect residents from unlawful discharge.  Being asked to leave can be very difficult for an older person and their family.  The brochure will help people understand the legal grounds for having to move.  It also explains the process they need to follow to appeal.

Villy Stolper gave a talk to about forty older adults.  The group is in a research study about successful aging, called “Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders” or LIFE.  Villy gave them some useful information about health care programs that pay for long-term care.  The Medicaid and Medicare laws are complicated, but Villy gave a clear explanation of common situations.

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Ins and Outs of Health Laws

Why would someone give his home away?  Joe Jones might do exactly that. Mr. Jones (not his real name) came to the Elder Law Clinic about getting a will and power of attorney done.  He wanted to be sure that just one of his adult daughters will inherit his home.  This daughter has lived with him and provided care to him for years.  Mr. Jones uses a wheelchair and has multiple health issues.

Julia Gravely prepared a will and a power of attorney for Mr. Jones.  She also explained to him that if he has a nursing home stay in the future, the Medicaid program will make a claim against his estate.  Often, these “estate recovery” claims take a person’s entire estate. Julia advised him that he could avoid this type of claim.  Here is one of his options.  Federal law allows a person in his situation to transfer his home to a “caregiver child” who meets certain strict rules.  Julia contacted Mr. Jones’ physician to obtain an affidavit documenting that the daughter met these “caregiver child” rules.  Now the client can assure that his daughter’s right to inherit the home is protected.  Julia’s advice included a recommendation that Mr. Jones keep lifetime rights in the home.

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How to Spot Elder Exploitation

The Elder Law Clinic recently collaborated on a program to train health care providers how to spot elder exploitation.  For more, see the March 2012 Newsletter of the NC Secretary of State.

Muchas Gracias From Their Clients

  • Kat Hauch es muy competente, inteligente, y sabe lo que está hacienda.  Ella es muy simpática y agradable.  La clínica es lo mejor que tiene
    Winston-Salem para ayudar a las personas mayores de edad.  Gracias, muchas gracias.
  • Tim Doolittle was very friendly and wanting to help me.  I just thank you for the help when I didn’t know who or where to go.  Tim was kind and understanding, giving me good guidance.
  • Joe Maye made me feel at ease and explained all options – good work.  Mr. Maye should make a great attorney.  He was informative and helpful.
  • Rich Seeger was very knowledgeable and thorough and his presentation was excellent.
  • Heath Tripp helped me a lot with my care.
  • Trevor Ostbye’s appearance was very professional.  He explained everything in detail and was friendly.

Special Friends

This semester, we were thrilled to have a class taught by Dr. Kate Callahan, a Wake Forest University geriatrician.  Dr. Callahan taught our law students about medical conditions that affect mental capacity, and how these are diagnosed and treated.

Special thanks to Damon Wilson, a law student, who volunteered during the summer in the Elder Law Clinic.  Prior to law school, Damon was in the Navy and then with the Veterans Administration.

Congratulations to Jonathan Williams, a 2011 graduate who works for the elder law firm of Booth Harrington and Johns in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Community Outreach

Rich Seeger gave a talk to senior members at the YWCA and Heath Tripp spoke to a group at St. Peter’s Heritage Place, a subsidized apartment complex for low-income seniors.  They explained the benefits of powers of attorney.  The students also talked about how advance planning for financial and health care surrogates helps to avoid guardianship cases.

 

News of the Managing Attorney

Clinical Law Professor Kate Mewhinney recently:

  • Was a speaker for a national webinar sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA), entitled “Representing Seniors and Their Families:  Pitfalls and Pointers.”
  • Gave a presentation at the National Aging and Law Institute, on the topic: “Employment, Age, and Disability Discrimination.”  Program sponsors include the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the ABA, AARP, and the National Senior Citizens’ Law Center.
  • At the annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, participated in a panel on elder law teaching and moderated
    another session on legislative responses to elder abuse.