News

FREED FROM COURT SUPERVISION

John McCool confers with Professor Mewhinney.

John McCool confers with Professor Mewhinney.

Amanda Perez was appointed to represent someone who had been declared incompetent several years ago, but who felt he was now able to manage his affairs.  The gentleman has some mental health issues, but he has managed to go to college (in his 60s), live in his own house, and get regular mental health treatment.  Amanda gathered medical records, interviewed witnesses, and did a home visit.  Her recommendation that her client be “restored to capacity” was accepted by the court.

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STUDENT REFLECTIONS

  • Brandy Nickoloff reflected on her experience: “This Clinic course opened my eyes to the complexity of aging people and their problems. I feel that I became much more skilled at handling the difficult dynamics of a client’s life and family.”
  • Jasmine Gregory (shown above) said: “I am better prepared to help my parents and grandparents as they age.”
  • Samer Roshdy most enjoyed getting to know each of the clients he worked with on a personal level. He remarked, “I also liked giving a talk on legal issues, at Green Street Methodist Church. The audience asked great questions and seemed to appreciate the information I provided.”
  • Amanda Perez observed, “Each client and their families are different. Some may have great support systems, while others may have nothing to help them as they age. And it’s not like the Clinic is just ‘old people law’ like so many people think. It’s more than just wills. They don’t just have elder issues. They have life issues that we all face.”
  • John McCool writes: “I now feel way more comfortable talking to my clients about tough issues, like death and dying,” he said. “Before, I would beat around the bush. Being upfront on tough issues is important and plays a role in planning for end-of-life care.”

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ALUMNI NEWS

Monica Berry (‘17) writes, I am the newest associate at Ingersoll & Hicks in Winston-Salem. Since starting here I have already drafted several estate plans and am starting on a guardianship.

Tim Lewis (‘16) is now an attorney for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  He writes: The laws here are somewhat different than N.C.  The Cherokee Code does not incorporate N.C. elder protections.  So, I have been working with a few agencies on the tribe (Adult Protective Services, Public Health and Human Services, and nursing homes) to come up with solutions to prevent the abuse and exploitation of elders.

Julia Gravely (‘12) writes from Reston, VA:  My practice area centers on estate planning and administration for clients from northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland.  We handle a variety of elder law cases, working with care managers to assist elderly clients and their families with issues ranging from estate and incapacity planning to more logistical transition issues as clients navigate the challenges of aging.

DM and AK

 

 

 

David McLean (‘99) of Greensboro and Angela Kreinbrink (‘06) of High Point, returned for Career Week to discuss elder law practice.

 

 

 

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VERSATILE AND CARING

Spring 2017 Group Photo - web

 

Spring 2017 Elder Law Clinic

From left:  Sarah Wesley Wheaton, Nan Hu, Noah Garrett, David Swenton,
Allie Vandivier, Monica Berry, Elliott Harry, Dani Liebman and Malcolm Boyd.

  • Noah Garrett did a great job.  He was kind, considerate and all things to make a wonderful lawyer.  Thank you all very much.”
  • David Swenton explained things so I could understand them.  He put me at ease.”
  • Dani Liebman was well-informed and knew what she was talking about.  She was also a very nice person and quite professional.”
  • “I found Elliott Harry to be very helpful.  He explained everything to me and was truly concerned with my problem.”
  • Sarah Wesley Wheaton was genuinely concerned about my family and did a good job in court on my sister’s guardianship case.”
  • “I especially appreciated Allie Vandivier’s honesty and her willingness to listen.”
  • Malcolm Boyd was polite and provided excellent service.  I was pleased.”
  • Nan Hu was friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful.  I felt that she found the best solution for me.  I never felt hurried or pushed.  I am so thankful for what God has done for me.”

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WHAT I’LL REMEMBER

David Swenton explains legal options.

David Swenton explains legal options.

  • Two of my clients stand out. Each came into the Elder Law Clinic with creditor issues – they had more bills than their fixed incomes allowed them to pay. Each client entered our interview room with fear of what would happen to them and their property if their accounts went into default. How amazing it was to give them an explanation of our state’s protections and how their property would be safe if they got sued. One client even began to cry when I told her of these protections and how she could use them. This is truly why I wanted to become a lawyer: to help people when they are at their most anxious or most fearful for their future.
    David Swenton
  •  The most important skills I improved upon and the ones I hoped to improve upon during my time in Clinic, were meeting and interviewing clients, oral advocacy and general public speaking.  I met and interviewed at least five clients within a three-month period.  I gained confidence and became more efficient.  I knew better which questions to ask and how to speak with clients so that they felt comfortable discussing their needs with me.  Finally, handling a court hearing and giving a community program helped me learn to prepare and present complicated information in a way that was appropriate to the different audiences.
    Allie Vandivier

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SAVING A HOME

HouseElliott Harry’s client was tricked into signing his home over to a nephew.  A few months later, the man’s son found out and brought his father to the Elder Law Clinic.  Elliott did some investigation and research into how we could challenge the gift deed.  Once the Clinic got involved, the nephew agreed to deed our client’s home back to him.

Besides getting his home back, the man is now able to get Medicaid coverage again.  Giving the home away had caused him to be denied coverage, due to strict “asset transfer rules.”

Ben Limehouse (‘14) prepared the deed, pro bono, for our client to get his home back.  Limehouse practices elder law and estate planning with Liipfert Law.

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STAND UP FOR THE LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM

Legal Aid GraphicThe President wants to cut all funds for the Legal Services program, which helps low-income people and seniors get legal assistance.  Let’s speak up to stop this!  Go to DefendLegalAid.org.

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HEALTH CARE ADVOCACY

Dr. Edward Shaw and Dani Liebman confer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

                      Dr. Edward Shaw and Dani Liebman                             confer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Dani Liebman’s client received help at home, due to significant disabilities.  The woman, age 70, had received Medicaid home health benefits for almost a year.  She then realized a retirement account from her first job might actually make her ineligible for Medicaid.  Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is only available for people with limited assets.  Dani recommended a “voluntary repayment agreement” so that the woman could continue getting assistance at home.

Sarah Wesley Wheaton’s client had multiple health problems.  She had been getting Medicare home health benefits, which allowed her to stay out of a facility.  Suddenly, she got a notice that her benefits were going to end, with no explanation.  Sarah Wesley helped her appeal this.  The appeal was successful and the client is again receiving benefits.

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STUDENTS IN THE COMMUNITY

As part of our community outreach efforts, Sarah Wesley Wheaton gave a talk to the seniors group of a local church.  Allie Vandivier spoke with a group of tenants in a senior citizens apartment complex.

Sarah Wesley Wheaton explains the benefits of legal planning.

Sarah Wesley Wheaton explains the benefits of legal planning.

Dani Liebman addressed a caregiver support group at the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  She reviewed common legal issues that arise for people with dementia or other cognitive impairments.  The monthly support group is one of several initiatives founded by Edward Shaw, M.D., M.A. and led by Cathy Wilson, LCSW.

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LONDON SUMMER PROGRAM

 

LondonClinical Professor Kate Mewhinney is teaching in London.  Her “Comparative Law and Aging” course touches on countries’ policies on pensions, health care, competency, crime and fraud, caregiver rights and more.  Students in the program will visit the U.K. Court of Protection and meet with aging rights activists.  Internationally-known expert Professor Israel Doron will visit from the University of Haifa, for a class on guardianship law.

The second course is “The History of the Common Law,”examining how our legal system evolved.  The group will visit Parliament and the Inns of Court. They will also see the Magna Carta and travel to Cambridge and Oxford for lectures by renowned professors.  The students in the course are from Wake Forest University and three other law schools.

For information about the law school’s foreign programs, see studyabroad.law.wfu.edu.

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