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Day 1 | 26th Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Symposium


11:55      Welcome and Introductions

12:00      Medicaid Updates and Practice Tips, COVID Impacts, Estate Recovery, Managed Care, and More

Douglas S. Sea, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Charlotte

Hear the very latest on the fast-changing landscape of the NC Medicaid Program and how you can help your clients navigate the challenges and opportunities these changes present.

1:00        Break

1:10        Technology, Security and Best Practices in an Elder Law Practice

Catherine Sanders Reach, North Carolina Bar Association, Cary

Misfired emails. Erroneous attachments. Video conferencing bloopers. The Internet of Things. Improperly applied redaction. Overactive spam filters. Phishing. Exposed metadata. Weak passwords. Lost mobile devices. The list goes on. A lawyer's duties of competence and confidentiality are only two of the reasons to be security aware and competent in the use of technology. In this session, explore common threats to law firm security and how to avoid them. Learn how to avoid end-user error, maintain a security-first stance, guard client confidentiality and protect sensitive data.

2:10        Break

2:20        SECURE Act: How SECURE Do You Feel? Retirement Accounts and Estate Planning Post-SECURE Act

Christina G. Hinkle, McPherson Rocamora Nicholson Wilson & Hinkle PLLC, Durham

The SECURE Act became law on December 20, 2019, making dramatic changes to the required minimum distributions rules for beneficiaries of IRAs and other retirement plans. The Act eliminated the favorable "stretch" IRA option for most beneficiaries. This session provides a brief overview of the new rules, discusses how the Act has changed trust drafting, and reviews estate planning strategies for retirement assets post-SECURE Act.

(Session from 41st Annual Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Program, July 23, 2020)

3:20        Break

3:30        Non-Long Term Care Medicaid Public Benefits Update

Benjamin B. "Bailey" Liipfert III, Liipfert Law Group, Winston-Salem

As with all states, COVID-19 has severely impacted people living in long-term care and those eligible for disability benefits. This session addresses the impact of COVID-19 on benefit programs and transition and housing options post-COVID, with a focus on North Carolina's recently updated Olmstead Plan as a potential model for moving people out of institutional stetting and back to better lives.

4:30        Break

4:40        Rethinking the Guardian ad Litem Role

Kathleen R. Rodberg, McGuire Wood & Bissette, Asheville

Under current North Carolina law, provisions regarding the role and duties of the guardian ad litem are limited. Discuss what the current obligations are and what changes are on the horizon for this role in future guardianship proceedings. Then review a sample guardian ad litem report and hear best practices for this role.

5:40        Adjourn for the Day


8:15        Welcome and Introductions

8:20        Advanced Guardianship and Fiduciary Representation

Steven Wayne Arrington, The Arrington Law Firm, Greensboro
Marjorie J. Brown, Elder Law & Estate Planning Solutions, Concord
Jennifer M. Roden, Craige & Fox PLLC, Wilmington

Listen as elder and special needs law experts walk through case studies surrounding guardianship. Explore common issues and proposed solutions for issues such as asset protection; petitions to sell real property; petitions to gift guardianship assets; and supporting spouses, minors or disabled children of the ward and guardians of the estate when working in the best interest of the ward.

9:50        Break

10:00      Litigation Issues for Elder Law Attorneys

Molly A. Whitlatch, Sharpless McClearn Lester Duffy, Greensboro

Hear tips and strategies for identifying and managing fiduciary and estate litigation issues, including procedural issues and consideration in estate proceedings, appeals of clear matters, discovery and evidentiary issues, recognizing potential conflicts, and much more.

11:00      Break

11:10      "Baby One More Time"

Roberta K. Flowers, Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, FL

Take a deep dive into the Brittany Spears guardianship case and explore how it sparked another look at guardianship reform.

12:40      Lunch Break

1:40        Denied: Medicaid Application Appeal Process

Matthew S. Schrum, Evergreen Estate Planning & Elder Law, Elkin

What do you do when Medicaid authorities issue an adverse decision against your perfect Medicaid client? This session explores the process of seeking corrective action, focusing on practical considerations germane to local hearings, state hearings and judicial review.

2:40        Break

2:50        What's New in Elder and Special Needs Law

Brian T. Lawler, Van Winkle Law Firm, Asheville

Dive into the recent elder and special needs law legislative and case law updates.

3:50        Break

4:00        Ethical Rattlesnakes: How to Avoid Being Bitten When Representing Fiduciaries*

Roberta K. Flowers, Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, FL
A. Frank Johns, Booth Harrington & Johns, Greensboro

Just like the quickness of a rattlesnake, ethical issues when representing fiduciaries can bite you if you do not recognize them. This session provides attendees with the tools needed to avoid these ethical rattlesnakes. Discuss the creation of the representation and the required client education, as well as the possible obligations to the beneficiaries. Then review the ethical duties distinctive to the different types of fiduciaries.

5:00        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit
‡ Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit

Thank you

Thank you for joining us for Day 1 of 26th Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Symposium. We'll see you tomorrow.


The 26th Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Symposium offers insight from respected elder and special needs law practitioners and aging-service professionals from North Carolina and across the country.


  • Steven W. "Steve" Arrington

    Steven W. "Steve" Arrington is a solo practitioner in Greensboro and the owner of The Arrington Law Firm PC. His areas of concentration are elder law, estate planning, guardianship and estate administration.

    Before becoming an attorney, Steve worked as a legal assistant for a number of years. He has worked in the field of law for close to eighteen years, with over twelve years devoted to the specialty of elder law. He has also been invited to speak before various civic and professional groups on the topics of elder law, estate planning and guardianship.

    In addition to serving on local boards, Steve is currently a member of The North Carolina State Bar, The North Carolina Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), The Greensboro Estate Planning Council and the Triad Retirement Living Association (TRLA).

    Steve earned his B.A. in Religious Studies from Guilford College and his J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law. He is currently a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

    Click here for more information about Steve.

  • Marjorie J. Brown

    Marjorie J. Brown is the founding member and partner of Elder Law & Estate Planning Solutions of the Piedmont in Concord. She advises clients on effective asset protection strategies and estate planning to provide the maximum benefit to all concerned. While utilizing asset protection strategies, she also aids clients in qualifying themselves or their loved ones for Medicaid. She also advises clients managing a multitude of concerns surrounding family members with dementia and Alzheimer's.

    Marjorie 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. She has extensive knowledge and experience with estate planning and administration, special needs planning, and issues surrounding guardianships of adults.

    Marjorie has served on the School of Government Elder Abuse Advisory Committee and serves as the Chair of the Cabarrus County Task Force for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. She currently serves on the Council of North Carolina Bar Association -- Elder Law and Special Needs Section. She also serves on the Elder Law Specialty Committee of the North Carolina Bar, and is the Board Member Treasurer of both the NC Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law and the NC Guardianship Association.

    Marjorie is a graduate from North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Marjorie.

  • Roberta K. Flowers

    Roberta K. Flowers is a Professor of Law and Director, Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, FL. Within the Elder Law LL.M. program, she teaches Ethics in an Elder Law Practice. She also teaches Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. While at Stetson, Roberta has successfully coached trial teams, arbitration teams and moot court teams to national championships. She has served as the director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy and as the William Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor in Professionalism. She received the university-level Excellence in Teaching Award, Most Inspirational Teacher Award from the Student Bar Association, and an award from the Student Bar Association for supporting student life. She has also received the university-level Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Dean's Award for Extraordinary Service, and been awarded the Distinguished Service Award four times. In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court awarded Roberta the Faculty Professionalism Award.

    Roberta has lectured worldwide on the topic of ethics. She won a Telly Award for Excellence in Educational Films for having produced a series of educational videos on the ethical issues faced by prosecuting attorneys. Along with Professor Rebecca Morgan, she created a video series used to train and educate attorneys nationwide on the ethical dilemmas faced by elder law attorneys. The Florida Supreme Court awarded Rebecca and Roberta the Florida Supreme Court Professionalism Award for their video productions. Additionally, with Rebecca, Roberta designed the nation's first "elder friendly courtroom," which serves as model for courtrooms of the future.

    Before arriving at Stetson, Roberta worked as a prosecutor in both the state and federal system. She began her career in 1984 as a deputy district attorney for the 18th Judicial District of Colorado, where she served as a trial attorney in the criminal division. In 1989, she was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, where she served in the Appellate Division, the Major Crimes Unit and the Public Corruption Unit.

    Roberta graduated magna cum laude from Baylor University with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She received her J.D. from the University of Colorado, where she was selected to be a member of the Order of the Coif.

    Click here for more information about Roberta.

  • Christina G. Hinkle

    Christina G. Hinkle is a Partner at McPherson Rocamora Nicholson Wilson & Hinkle PLLC in Durham. She focuses her practice in the areas of wills and trusts, estate and gift tax planning, estate and trust administration, and probate law. She has developed a special interest in charitable giving, public and private foundations, multi-generational and blended family planning, and trust modifications, terminations, and decantings. She is also versed in business entity formation and business law.

    Christina is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association (Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law and Business Law Sections), American Bar Association (Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Sections), and the Orange County Bar Association. She serves as Vice President of the Durham/Orange Estate Planning Council, She also serves as a board member of the Child Care Services Association, and the North Carolina State Bar Board of Continuing Legal Education. She has been a Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law since 2008 and has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating.

    Christina, born in Princeton, NJ, spent several years in Geneva, Switzerland before settling in the Durham-Chapel Hill area. She attended Chapel Hill High School, and then Duke University, graduating with a B.S. in Mathematics. She graduated with high honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she served as an Articles Editor of the North Carolina Law Review and was a member of the national legal honorary society, The Order of the Coif. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

    Click here for more information about Christina.

  • A. Frank Johns

    A. Frank Johns is Principal Partner at Booth Harrington & Johns of NC in Greensboro. He was the first North Carolina attorney to earn an LLM, Masters in Law in Elder Law from Stetson University College of Law, and currently also serves on its faculty as an adjunct professor of law.

    Frank is a leader of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, having served on its Board (1992-2002), as President (1999-2000), Charter Chair of the Carolinas Chapter (1993), Charter Chair of the reorganized North Carolina Chapter (2011), Publications Chair (2010-2012), Editor in Chief of the NAELA Journal (2008-2010) and Steering Committee Chair (2006-2007) and current member of NAELA-CAP (Council of Advanced Practitioners). He organized and chaired the North Carolina Bar Association Elder Law Committee (1993), and organized and was the charter chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Elder Law Section Council (1995-1997). Johns also served as a charter member of the North Carolina State Bar Elder Law specialization committee.

    Frank currently serves as President of Senior Resources of Guilford. Along with countless published articles and manuscripts, Johns co-authored Counseling Older Adults (2005), and was a contributing research expert in Why Wills Won't Work (2007).

    Click here for more information about Frank.

  • Brian T. Lawler

    Brian T. Lawler is President at The Forest Law Group in Asheville. He focuses on Elder Law, Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning & Asset Protection, Incapacity Planning & Guardianships, and serving adults and children with disabilities.

    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.

    Brian earned his Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Campbell University. He is licensed to practice in North Carolina and South Carolina.

    Click here for more information about Brian.

  • B. Bailey Liipfert III

    B. Bailey Liipfert III is Director & Shareholder at llman Spry Attorneys at Law in Winston-Salem. His practice focuses on elder law, disability planning, estate planning, and fiduciary administration of special needs trusts. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

    Bailey is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and a frequent speaker at national programs. He is a former president of the North Carolina Chapter of NAELA, and is a former chairman of the North Carolina Elder Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. He frequently is appointed trustee of trusts for persons with severe disabilities in all parts of North Carolina.

    Bailey is active in his local community and currently serves on the board of directors of Commonwealth Community Trust, a nonprofit organization enriching the lives of special needs individuals throughout the United States. He serves as treasurer of Honorbridge (formerly Carolina Donor Services), a federally designated nonprofit saving lives by recovering donated organ tissue. He is a former chair of Beyond Academics, Inc., a post-secondary school education program for people with developmental disabilities. Bailey was also the former board chairman of The Adaptables Inc., a Center for Independent Living, and former chairman of the North Carolina Eye Bank, now known as Miracles in Sight, a non-profit that helps restore sight to people with damaged corneas in North Carolina, the nation, and around the world.

    Bailey Liipfert is a charter member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national, non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

    Bailey earned his B.A. in Russian Language and Soviet Area Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D., cum laude, at the Norman A. Wiggens Law School at Campbell University, then in Buies Creek.

    Click here for more information about Bailey.

  • Catherine Sanders Reach

    Catherine Sanders Reach is Director for the Center for Practice Management at the North Carolina Bar Association, providing practice technology and management assistance to lawyers and legal professionals. Formerly she was Director, Law Practice Management and Technology for the Chicago Bar Association and the Director at the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center.

    Prior to her work at the NCBA, CBA and ABA she worked in library and information science environments for a number of years, working at Ross and Hardies as a librarian. She received a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 1997.

    Catherine's professional activities include articles published in Law Practice magazine, Law Technology News and GPSolo Magazine, as well as numerous other publications. She has given presentations on the use of technology in law firms for national bar conferences, state and local bar associations and organizations such as the National Association of Bar Council and the Association of American Law Schools. In 2011 she was selected to be one of the inaugural Fastcase 50, celebrating fifty innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the field of law and in 2013 became a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She served on the ABA TECHSHOW Board from 2007-2009, 2014-2016 and is co-vice chair in 2019.

    Click here for more information about Catherine. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • Kathleen R. Rodberg

    Kathleen R. Rodberg is a Shareholder at McGuire Wood & Bissette PA in Asheville. Her principal areas of practice are trusts, estates, and elder law. She is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law.

    Kathleen regularly helps clients establish and administer guardianship and special needs trusts, develop comprehensive Medicaid and long-term care plans, and prepare traditional estate planning documents. In addition, she frequently gives presentations on topics like recent developments in elder law, special needs trust taxation, and probate matters.

    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 earned her B.A. in Political Science and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Kathleen.

  • Jennifer M. Roden

    Jennifer M. Roden is a Partner at Craige & Fox PLLC in Wilmington. Her principal areas of practice are elder law, estate planning and fiduciary litigation.

    Jennifer assists the New Hanover County Public Guardian, Lawrence S. Craige, in his capacity as Guardian of the Estate for wards in New Hanover County. She also manages guardianship cases for private clients in New Hanover and surrounding counties.

    Jennifer is Vice-Chair of the Elder & Special Needs Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association as well as a Secretary and council member of the NC chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). She is a past president of the New Hanover County Estate Planning Council. She was a 2012–2013 Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging Fellow.

    Jennifer is a Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law by the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization and a Certified Elder Law Attorney by ABA-accredited National Elder Law Foundation.

    Jennifer earned her B.A. in Political Science the University of Alabama and her J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.

    After graduating from law school, Jennifer was awarded a fellowship from the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging. As a Borchard Fellow, she worked as a staff attorney for the Elder Law Clinic of the University of Alabama School of Law representing older clients in legal matters such as resident's rights, estate planning and Medicaid Long Term Care planning.

    Click here for more information about Jennifer.

  • Matthew S. Schrum

    Matthew S. Schrum is the founder of Evergreen Estate Planning & Elder Law in Elkin. Evergreen Law is a boutique firm centered among rural counties. He takes pride in helping local families protect and preserve their wealth and well-being. His practice focuses on Long Term Care Planning, Medicaid Planning and Medicaid Appeals, Asset Protection, and Trust-Based planning.

    Before finding his calling as an attorney, Matthew began his career as a high school teacher.

    Matthew earned his B.A. in English from UNCW and his J.D. from Charlotte School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Matthew.

  • Douglas S. Sea

    Douglas S. Sea is the Director and Attorney for the Family Support and Health Care Program at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

    Douglas received his B.A. and J.D. degrees, with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked for Legal Services of the Lower Cape Fear in Wilmington from 1981 to 1984 in public benefits and health law. He came to Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy as Benefits Team Leader in 1984 and is responsible for supervising legal work in the Family Support and Health Care Program, covering areas of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Social Security, SSI, Food Stamps, Medicaid, health care access and other benefits. He has participated in most of the class action public benefits litigation in North Carolina and is a recognized expert in benefits and health law and in complex litigation among legal services programs.

    An Ohio native, Douglas became involved in legal aid because of his desire to do public interest/public policy work. He is a member of the Southeastern Public Benefits Training Advisory Group. His passion for this field is driven by the intellectually challenging and rewarding aspects of his work and the chance to impact many in need through systemic advocacy and mentoring young advocates.

    Douglas' interests outside of the office include singing with the Mecklenburg County Bar Revue and Opera Carolina.

    Click here for more information about Douglas.

  • Molly A. Whitlatch

    Molly A. Whitlatch is a partner at Sharpless McClearn Lester Duffy in Greensboro. She also works out of the Graham office. She focuses on estate, trust and fiduciary litigation, including challenges to wills and pre-death transfers of money and property as a result of undue influence or incapacity. She also handles cases involving guardianships and professional fiduciary defense.

    In addition, Molly handles business disputes, including breach of contract actions, shareholder disputes, and the enforcement and defense of non-compete covenants.

    Molly earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Elon College, her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Appalachian State University and her J.D. from Wake Forest University.

    Molly lives in Alamance County and is actively involved in the community as a volunteer and nonprofit board member for a number of different organizations.

    Click here for more information about Molly.


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February 24, 2022
Thu 11:55 AM EST

Duration 5H 45M

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