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2021 Basics of Elder and Special Needs Law

7:45        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:15        Welcome and Introductions

8:20        Ethical Issues Arising in Representation*

Joshua T. Walthall, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Raleigh

Identify and navigate ethical issues that arise when representing elderly clients or clients with disabilities. This presentation walks through the process of identifying the client, working with fiduciaries and family members of a client, exploring the representation of a person with questionable capacity, and other related ethical considerations.

9:20        Break

9:30        Cultural Competence and LGBTQIA+ Communities

Connie J. Vetter, Connie J. Vetter Attorney at Law PLLC, Charlotte

Cross-cultural competency is critically important for elder and special needs law attorneys. Gain insight into what cultural competence is and its components. Then discuss the LGBTQIA+ communities, how the law impacts your clients who identify with these communities and how to better serve them.

10:30      Break

10:40      Introduction to Medicaid Eligibility and Planning Techniques

Brian T. Lawler, The Van Winkle Law Firm, Asheville

The elder and special needs law practitioner often confronts issues related to long-term care planning and Medicaid eligibility. This session is intended to provide you with a general overview of Medicaid eligibility and expose you to some of the basic asset protection techniques often used in both advanced planning and crisis settings.

12:10      Lunch Break

12:55      Using Trusts in Elder and Special Needs Planning

Aimee L. Smith, Craige Jenkins Liipfert & Walker LLP, Winston-Salem

Delve into the basic types of trusts and taxation, including grantor and non-grantor trusts, and the applicable Medicaid rules. Learn how and why trust tax rules drive trust design.

1:55        Break

2:05        Resources and FAQs You Have Been Afraid to Ask

Andrew D. Atherton, McGuire Wood & Bissette PA, Asheville
Kathleen R. Rodberg, McGuire Wood & Bissette PA, Asheville

Elder and special needs law are nuanced and ever-changing fields. Successfully developing solutions for your clients requires not just an understanding of the law, but also of where to find answers. From the mundane to the complex, no question is too trivial for this panel of experienced attorneys.

3:05        Break

3:15        Basics of Guardianship

Mariah D. McKinney, Garlock & McKinney, Black Mountain

Review the process of adjudicating a person incompetent and appointing a guardian, as well as administering a guardianship from a lawyer's perspective.

4:15        Break

4:25        Putting It All Together: Case Studies in Elder Law and Special Needs Planning

John R. Potter, Potter Law Firm, Charlotte

Elder law cases often do not stay in nice, neat boxes. After a day of exploring aspects of elder law from ethics to Medicaid planning and guardianships to trusts, this final session looks at case studies showing how these pieces fit together, how they can awkwardly overlap and how they sometimes just plain complicate each other.

5:25        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


The 2021 Basics of Elder and Special Needs Law program offers a foundational knowledge base for building an elder and special needs law practice.


  • Andrew D. Atherton

    Andrew D. Atherton is the practice group chair of the Estate Planning, Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group with McGuire Wood & Bissette PA. He earned his law degree from Northern Kentucky University. He is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and North Carolina.

    Andrew advocates and drafts legislation for North Carolina Seniors and disabled adults as the current legislative co-chair and past chair of the NCBA Elder & Special Needs Law Section. He is a North Carolina NAELA board member and Treasurer of the MemoryCare board.

    Andrew has been an instructor for the North Carolina Bar Association, Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, National Business Institute, UNC Asheville Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and North Carolina NAELA, in the areas of Special Needs Trusts, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Guardianship, Medicaid and the ABLE Act.

    Click here for more information about Andrew.

  • Marjorie J. Brown

    Marjorie J. Brown is the founding member and partner of Elder Law & Estate Planning Solutions located in Concord. She is certified as a Specialist in Elder Law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Specialization and is also Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation. As one of the few attorneys of color practicing Elder Law in the state of North Carolina, Marjorie has a multitude of experiences, personally and professionally, with cultural competence.

    Marjorie is a 1990 graduate from North Carolina State University and a 1994 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. Marjorie has served on the School of Government Elder Abuse Advisory Committee and is on several Boards and Committees throughout Cabarrus County, including the Cabarrus County Chamber of Commerce, Coltrane LIFE Adult Day Care Center and the Cabarrus County Task Force for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

    Marjorie has been married for 25 years and has two daughters: one a 3L in law school and the other a junior in college.

    Click here for more information about Marjorie.

  • Brian T. Lawler

    Brian T. Lawler is an attorney with the Van Winkle Law Firm in Asheville. He practiced almost entirely in the area of Elder and Special Needs Law, and is a member of the Elder and Special Needs Law Section Council, a member of NAELA, and frequently collaborates on several local and regional aging policy coalitions.

    Prior to embarking on his legal career, Brian worked in social services for nearly a decade serving children, adults, and families throughout Western North Carolina. This experience uniquely positions him to understand the wholistic needs of clients facing capacity limitations. In addition, Brian's background lends well to successfully managing relationships within the public sector to ensure clients have access to the myriad of community resources available to them.

    Brian received his Bachelor's degree from the UNC-CH and his J.D. degree from Campbell University. He is licensed to practice in North Carolina and South Carolina.

    Click here for more information about Brian.

  • Mariah D. McKinney

    Mariah D. McKinney is a partner in the law firm of Garlock & McKinney PC, where she dedicates her practice to the areas of estate planning, estate administration and guardianship law.

    Mariah was admitted to practice law in North Carolina in 2004. In addition to her years in private practice, she worked several years serving in the public sector with the North Carolina Judicial Branch as Associate Legal Counsel to the North Carolina Clerks of Superior Court, and as Assistant Clerk of Court in the Estates Division both in Wake County and Buncombe County. She also provides legal and fiduciary support services with her law partner, Victor C. Garlock, in his roles as the Buncombe County Public Guardian and Founder of Fidelicare, Inc. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and the Buncombe County Bar.

    Mariah earned her B.A. degree at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and she earned her J.D. degree at the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Mariah.

  • John R. Potter

    John R. Potter is an estate planning and elder law attorney in the Charlotte area with offices in Ballantyne and Huntersville.

    John received his B.A. in economics from Davidson College and his law degree from the University of Virginia. John is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Estate Planning and Elder Law Sections of the North Carolina Bar Association, where he serves on the Elder Law Section Council and the Estate Planning Section's Legislative Committee. John also currently serves as Chair of the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Mecklenburg County Bar.

    John is admitted to practice law in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio, and he is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Click here for more information about John.

  • Kathleen R. Rodberg

    Kathleen R. Rodberg is a member of McGuire Wood & Bissette P.A. in Asheville. Kathleen is a board-certified specialist in elder law through the North Carolina Bar and a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) through the National Elder Law Foundation. Her principal areas of practice are trusts, estates, and elder law. Kathleen uses her specialized knowledge to develop creative and successful solutions for her clients.

    Kathleen is the immediate past chair of the North Carolina Bar Association's Elder & Special Needs Law Section and serves on the elder law specialty committee for the North Carolina State Bar.

    Kathleen received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Kathleen.

  • Aimee L. Smith

    Aimee L. Smith is a partner with Craige Jenkins Liipfert & Walker LLP in Winston-Salem. Her principal areas of practice are elder law and estate planning. She is a member of the Elder & Special Needs and Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Sections of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is also a member of the Forsyth County Bar Association and the Forsyth County Women Attorneys.

    Aimee received her B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1995 and her J.D. degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2002.

    Click here for more information about Aimee.

  • Connie J. Vetter

    Connie J. Vetter is the go-to LGBTQ Law attorney in the Charlotte area for over 25 years. Her legal practice focuses on the needs of LGBTQ individuals and couples as well as the larger community. Her practice areas include Estate Planning, Adoption and Surrogacy, Name and Gender Marker Changes, and Adult Guardianship. She is also a mediator for the U.S. Postal Service.

    Connie received the Julius Chambers Diversity Champion Award from the Mecklenburg County Bar and has been honored by the ACLU of North Carolina. In 2020, she received the Person of the Year Award from QNotes newspaper.

    Connie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association.

    Click here for more information about Connie.

  • Joshua T. Walthall

    Joshua T. Walthall is a partner at Boerema Blackton in Raleigh, where he represents attorneys before the North Carolina State Bar and provides attorneys with ethics and trust accounting advice. He also represents other licensed professionals before administrative boards and disciplinary tribunals, including physicians before the North Carolina Medical Board, general contractors before the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, and realtors before the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, among several others.

    Joshua was formerly with Nelson Mullins in Raleigh. Before entering private practice, Josh spent nearly a decade at the North Carolina State Bar prosecuting attorney misconduct and the unauthorized practice of law.

    Joshua received his B.A. degree from the College at Southeastern in 2008 and his J.D. degree from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in 2013.

    Prior to law school, Joshua worked in the land surveying, banking, and construction industries and was a middle school teacher and soccer coach.

    Click here for more information about Joshua.

If you did not attend this program in its entirety, please fill out a partial credit form to ensure that we report your credit accurately.

Please send your completed form to within seven days of this program.

As an attendee of this CLE program your feedback is important.

Click here to fill out the program evaluation.
October 22, 2021
Fri 7:45 AM EDT
North Carolina Bar Center 8000 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27511 919.677.0561

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Duration 9H 40M

No longer available for purchase
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