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2023 Basics of Elder and Special Needs Law

8:25        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        "Who Is the Client?": Ethical Issues Arising in Representation*

Hugh M. Lee, East Carolina University, Greenville

This session addresses the most common ethical issues arising when representing senior clients in the context of advance planning in both the estate planning and Medicaid long-term care planning contexts. These ethical issues are identified and discussed in the context of the fictional case of Dick and Jane Plain, a married couple seeking legal representation concerning their affairs and heavily supported by their daughter, Mary. Issues covered include establishing the attorney-client relationship, identifying conflicts of interest, preserving client autonomy, protecting client confidentiality and more.

10:00      Break

10:10      Introduction to Medicaid Eligibility and Planning Techniques

Brian T. Lawler, The Forest Law Group, 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 and Special Assistance eligibility.

11:10      Break

11:20      Estate Planning Techniques for Future Medicaid and Special Assistance Eligibility

Jennifer Roden, Craige & Fox, Wilmington

This session discusses the various estate planning documents and fact-finding techniques used during the estate planning process that should be utilized to set clients on the proper path for Medicaid and Special Assistance planning and future applications.

12:20      Lunch Break

1:20        "We Need Help NOW!": Medicaid and Special Assistance Crisis Planning

Dori Dixon, Southpoint Estate Planning, Durham

This session covers various planning options when a client needs to qualify for Medicaid immediately or maintain existing Medicaid benefits. Learn how to optimize the community spouse resource allowance, protect the client's home, and obtain Medicaid eligibility without triggering a penalty period.

2:20        Break

2:30        Medicaid and Special Assistance Application and Appeals

Matt Schrum, Evergreen Estate Planning and Elder Law, Elkin

Attendees receive an introduction to the Medicaid application and Medicaid appeals process, including a review of common mistakes and how to avoid them with suggested "best practice" tips.

3:30        Break

3:40        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.

4:40        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


The 2023 Basics of Elder and Special Needs Law program offers a foundational knowledge base for building an elder and special needs law practice.


  • 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.

  • Doris J. "Dori" Dixon

    Doris J. "Dori" Dixon is the founder of Southpoint Estate Planning in Durham. She enjoys helping families navigate important legal issues including: wills, trusts, special needs planning, guardianships, long-term care planning, Medicaid, estate administration, probate, powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and living wills.

    In addition to her time in the office, Dori also enjoys teaching and was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, teaching Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Special Needs Planning.

    Dori served as President of the North Carolina Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Chair of the Elder and Special Needs Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

    Dori earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Appalachian State University and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Dori.

  • 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.

  • Hugh M. Lee

    Hugh M. Lee is a Teaching Professor of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies at the East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine in Greenville. In that position, he lectures on issues related to health systems, health policy, health care financing, and medical ethics. He also teaches upper-level political science courses as part of the Department of Political Science's Pre-Law Concentration. For his teaching, he has been honored as a UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching.

    Prior to accepting his current position, Hugh taught at the University of Alabama School of Law from 1996 to 2015, during which he directed the Elder Law Clinic, and founded and directed both the Civil Clinic and the Foreclosure Relief Clinic programs. For his work at Alabama, Hugh received the Alabama State Bar's Pro Bono and President's Awards, as well as the Clinical Legal Education Association's Annual Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project.

    Hugh is the co-author of Alabama Elder Law, as well as a frequent speaker on issues related to elder law, Medicaid and Medicare, long-term care insurance, and other legal and medical issues affecting seniors.

    Hugh earned his B.A. from Davidson College and his J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law. He is a member of the Alabama State Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association, the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

    Click here for more information about Hugh.

  • John R. Potter

    John R. Potter is an estate planning and elder law attorney at the The Potter Law Firm with offices in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte and in Huntersville. His practice focuses on estate planning law, including planning with Trusts and Wills, and elder law, including special needs trusts, Medicaid planning, and Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits planning.

    John is designated as a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and as a Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law by the North Carolina State Bar. He 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.

    Prior to moving to North Carolina in 2012 and opening The Potter Law Firm, John practiced litigation, including trust and estate litigation at the law firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cincinnati, OH. His experience with the tragedy of estate and trust litigation led him to estate planning to help families put proper planning in place to minimize family disputes. John practiced estate planning and elder law in the northern Kentucky office of his family's law firm beginning in 2008.

    John earned his B.A. in Economics from Davidson College and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He 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.

  • 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.

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October 27, 2023
Fri 8:25 AM EDT
North Carolina Bar Center 8000 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27511 919.677.0561

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Duration 8H 15M

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