With over twenty years’ experience in the legal and trust industries, Neil has held multiple roles including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Fiduciary Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel. Read more... Read less...
Prior to joining Members Trust Company, Neil worked as a teacher, a lawyer, and as a trust officer. Neil is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received his JD at the University of Maryland, and has continued his executive education at Cornell’s Johnson School of Management, and the Wharton and Darden Schools of Business.
Frank R. Acuña is a California State Bar certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. His practice includes estate planning, business and real estate succession planning, special needs trusts, inheritance litigation, and general business and real estate advice. Read more... Read less...
Frank’s estate planning practice ranges from individuals of modest means to large, complex estates. His most satisfying cases involve creating / maintaining eligibility for Medi-Cal and Social Security Disability benefits for special needs children and adults.
He is also a nationally recognized expert in real estate wealth transfers and in succession planning for farms, ranches, and vineyards.With more than 27 years of front-line legal experience in the business, insurance, and banking worlds, professionals and businesses rely on Mr. Acuña as their outside general counsel.
He listens with the ear of a business owner, diagnoses business, and legal issues that arise, and creates teams of professionals to guide and protect his business clients.When otherwise unavoidable, Frank is a well-qualified trial attorney. Where other attorneys push paper through years of litigation, Frank is focused on trial tactics and formulates a strategy to produce the best outcome at settlement or trial. It is the difference between an experienced trial attorney and an ordinary “litigator.”
As a professional advisor, Frank has taught tax seminars for the National Tax Practice Institute, the California Society of Enrolled Agents, the California Society of Tax Professionals, and a number of state and local chapters of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts. He is a featured speaker for the Professional Fiduciary Association of California and the California Association of Public Administrators, Public Conservators, and Public Guardians. He advises tax, fiduciary, and real estate professionals throughout California and was honored by the California Society of Enrolled Agents as its 2010 Booster of the Year.
Ken, a certified public accountant as well as an attorney, focuses his practice on estate planning and administration, wills, trusts, special needs planning, probate, asset protection, powers of attorney, and business succession planning. Ken lectures extensively to both attorneys and consumers and has been published in several journals including the American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association, as well as the Chicago Tribune.
Attorney Blaine Brockman is the Director of Darby Legal Assistance, an Ohio small not for profit corporation that provides access to justice for people in rural areas who cannot afford and attorney. He is Of Counsel with the firm of Hickman & Lowder Co., LPA. Read more... Read less...
Blaine a member of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and is also Co-chair of the NAELA Special Needs Law Steering Committee and Co-chair of the NAELA Federal Advocacy Committee. He is the immediate past Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Elder and Special Needs Law Committee. He also serves as a Governor’s appointment to the Ohio STABLE Account Advisory Board.
Blaine is active in community organizations that support people with disabilities. He is the Chair of the Board of the ARC Ohio. He is Chair of the Board of APSI (Advocacy and Protective Services, Inc.), a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the rights of people with developmental disabilities by providing guardianship and protective services. He is on the Board of Community Housing, a non-profit organization the provides housing for people with disabilities in Franklin County, Ohio.
Blaine had a 30-year career with the State of Ohio ending that career as the Assistant Executive Director of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. In his time with the State of Ohio he was also a human resources administrator and a natural resources law enforcement officer. Blaine received his B.S. from the Ohio State University and his J.D., cum
Joshua L. Brothers is an experienced advocate and attorney in disability and elder law, estate planning, and probate. Read more... Read less...
He is a long-time leader at Brothers & Henderson, P.S. A partner at the firm for over a decade, his practice focuses on litigation and settlement planning; the development, implementation and administration of special needs trusts and other types of trusts; estate planning; guardianship; benefits advocacy; benefits litigation; and probate.
With a strong commitment to the disability and senior communities, Brothers actively serves as a leader and advocate for numerous community organizations. He current serves on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington and on the CLE Committee for the Washington State Association for Justice. He has previously held voluntary positions as the president of the Board of Directors for the Arc of King County as the CLE Co-Chair for the King County Bar Association Guardianship and Elder Law Section and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arc of Washington State, the Professional Advisory Board for the Autism Society of Washington, and the Tyee Sports Council.
Thomas M. Brinker, Jr., CPA/PFS, ChFC®, CGMA, CFE, AEP is Professor of Accounting at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He is currently Executive Director for their MBA program and serves as Director for the MassMutual Center for Special Needs Planning at the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Read more... Read less...
He graduated cum laude from Saint Joseph’s University in Accountancy, and holds master’s degrees in Taxation and Accounting from Widener University. In addition to earning his J.D., Professor Brinker earned an LL.M. in International Taxation from Regent University School of Law, where he received the distinction of “Outstanding Graduate” in his class. Mr. Brinker is also a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants, the International Bar Association, and the Caribbean Bar Association. In addition to presenting nationally and internationally on various tax topics, he has published dozens of articles in numerous journals, including The Journal of Accountancy, The Journal of International Taxation, The Tax Adviser, The CPA Journal, The Journal of Practical Estate Planning, and The Journal of Financial Services Professionals.
In addition to lecturing in the graduate and professional programs of several Philadelphia Universities, Professor Brinker is a Tax Consultant to the financial services industry and local CPA and law firms. He has received awards for teaching excellence, including the PICPA’s Educator of the Year Award and the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. At the undergraduate level, Tom lectures primarily in tax accounting, individual taxation, and taxation for closely held businesses. He also lectures and writes extensively on the financial and tax planning implications encountered by families with individuals having special needs. Prior to joining the faculty of Arcadia University and the American College of Financial Services, Mr. Brinker was founding partner in a local CPA firm and member of both the audit and tax departments of Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Young & Company.
Samuel A. Donaldson [J.D. University of Arizona; LL.M. (Taxation) University of Florida] is a Professor of Law at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Prior to joining the Georgia State faculty in 2012, he was on the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle for 13 years. Read more... Read less...
During his tenure at the University of Washington, he was a five-time recipient of the Philip A. Trautman Professor of the Year award from the School of Law’s Student Bar Association. Professor Donaldson served for two years as Associate Dean for Academic Administration and for six years as the Director of the law school’s Graduate Program in Taxation. He teaches a number of tax and estate planning courses, as well as courses in the areas of property, commercial law and professional responsibility.
Professor Donaldson is an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a member of the Bar in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. Among his scholarly works, he is a co-author of the popular West casebook, Federal Income Tax: A Contemporary Approach, and a co-author of the Price on Contemporary Estate Planning treatise published by Wolters Kluwer. Professor Donaldson has served as the Harry R. Horrow Visiting Professor of International Law at Northwestern University and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
An amateur crossword constructor, his puzzles have been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. A perennial contender for People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honor, Professor Donaldson was recently notified by email of his selection to receive substantial sums of money from high-level Nigerian business officials in exchange for his bank account information.
Michael’s practice emphasizes estate planning, estate administration, guardianships and conservatorships, long-term care planning, and special needs trusts. Read more... Read less...
Prior to attending law school, Michael gained experience working with seniors and people with disabilities while earning a master’s degree in social work. During law school, he added a financial perspective to his background working as a securities broker for Charles Schwab, Inc. Upon graduation, Michael clerked for the Honorable C. Jean Stewart, Judge of the Denver Probate Court. As an attorney, Michael draws on his background, representing seniors, people with disabilities, and their families on a range of planning, administration, and crisis-management issues.
Michael is the author of numerous articles and continuing legal education materials, and he frequently speaks to attorneys, financial professionals, and caregivers on topics of interest to seniors and people with disabilities. Michael is fluent in Spanish and has served as an interpreter in various settings, including Colorado Courts.
For many years, Michael chaired the Agency and Professional Relations Subcommittee of the Oregon State Bar’s Elder Law Section. In that capacity, he advocated for seniors and people with disabilities by fostering dialogue between the legal community and Oregon’s Department of Human Services. From 2005-2008, he served on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently, Michael serves on the Board of Directors for Store to Door, a non-profit organization that supports independent living for seniors and people with disabilities by providing a volunteer-based grocery shopping and delivery service.
Travis D. Finchum received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree and Law Degree from the University of Florida. Mr. Finchum has been Board Certified since 2002 as an Elder Law specialist by the Florida Bar. He is the founder of Special Needs Lawyers, P.A. Read more... Read less...
He is the Chair of the Special Needs Trust Committee of the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section and past chair of the Elder Law Board Certification Committee. He is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys.
Travis has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations that serve the frail, elderly and those with disabilities that focus on advocacy and local services for those with disabilities and mental illness. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Florida’s Voice on Developmental Disabilities, the Arc Tampa Bay Foundation, the Guardian Trust Foundation, Inc., and on the Advisory Board for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Pinellas County Chapter.
Mr. Finchum frequently speaks on the topics of Medicaid qualification, Special Needs Trusts, estate planning, including planning for incapacity and nursing home care, protecting assets from creditors, sheltering assets for family members with disabilities and public assistance programs. His practice also consists of probate, trust administration (particularly special needs trusts), trust reformation and sophisticated estate planning strategies. He sits on the faculty of the Lighting theWay Program providing statewide training on Guardianship and Guardianship Alternatives sponsored by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (www.guardianshiptraining.com).
Mr. Finchum has been a resident of Pinellas County since 1977, where he now lives with his wife Kiersten who is a registered nurse, his son Ethan and daughter Lillian.
Gordon Homes is a Financial Advisor with WestPoint Financial Group. He provides objective and customized insurance and investment strategies to help meet the financial needs of his clients. Read more... Read less...
He aims to help clients achieve lifelong financial freedom by building long-term working relationships based on mutual respect, ongoing education and comprehensive planning.
Prior to joining WestPoint Financial Group, Gordon spent 35 years with MetLife as a Financial Planner, emphasizing his work as a Special Care Planner.
He says, “My passion to serve is born out of my personal journey as a parent of a child with special needs. As a Special Care Planner, I help families who have children or other dependents with special needs address the serious questions concerning their future well-being. I work together with parents or caregivers to help ensure lifetime care and quality of life.” He assists families with a myriad of issues including understanding and accessing public benefits, preserving benefit eligibility through Special Needs Trusts, and Guardianship concerns.
A frequent speaker at parent support group meetings and state conferences, he is nationally recognized in the area of Special Needs planning issues, contributing to articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. He is also active in local communities as a member of over 20 support networks in Indiana and Kentucky.
He is also member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), Estate Planning Council of Indianapolis (EPCI), Lifetime member of Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), and Financial Planning Association (FPA), where he served as President.
Lara founded Cedar Law based on a holistic approach to school law informed by her unique background in education, social work, and the law. Read more... Read less...
She is licensed to practice law in Washington and California. Lara received her JD from the University of Washington School of Law and also holds an MSW in Child and Family Welfare Policy from Columbia University, an MSEd in Special and General Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley. She has experience teaching children from pre-kindergarten through middle school in California, New York, and Louisiana, where she served as the founding special education director for two post-Katrina charter schools in New Orleans.
Prior to forming Cedar Law in 2015, Lara worked at a Seattle litigation firm representing traditional school districts around the State of Washington with day-to-day general counsel advice and provided representation in state and federal litigation and administrative proceedings. She served on the board of the Washington Council of School Attorneys from 2013-2014 and the board of the Washington Women Lawyers from 2014-2016, and Chartwell School in Monterey, CA from 2017-2020. Lara received the 2016 UW School of Law Women Leaders Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Lawyer. She was named a 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Rising Star by Washington Super Lawyers. Lara currently serves on the board of the Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMAs) of Seattle.
Doug Jackson has been dedicated to the field of developmental disabilities for over 20 years and works with a passion to serve people with disabilities and their families through improving the support system and the support staff. Read more... Read less...
Doug Jackson has been dedicated to the field of developmental disabilities for over 20 years and works with a passion to serve people with disabilities and their families through improving the support system and the support staff. Doug’s experience includes managing the services of a direct support agency, executive administration in Ohio’s County Board of DD system, teaching human services classes at Wright State University, and guiding a state-operated developmental center as the Superintendent. Doug joined the Office of the Ohio Treasurer of State to help administer Ohio’s STABLE Accounts, a financial plan for people with disabilities.
Ann founded National Care Advisors in 2008 as a firm dedicated to providing consulting services for attorneys, financial planners and trustees that support individuals with special needs and their families. Read more... Read less...
Prior to the inception of National Care Advisors, Ann’s nursing practice has been dedicated to developing effective disability management solutions for injured and ill workers.
As a result of her work with many national corporations, Ann possesses extensive business knowledge of case management, utilization review, third party payers, workers’ compensation, private insurance companies and government resources.
Ann received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1981 from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. She began her nursing practice as a Public Health Nurse in New York and then continued that practice with the City of Columbus Health Department.
David J. Lillesand is the principal of Lillesand, Wolasky and Waks, P.L., attorneys with offices in Miami, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida. The firm represents disabled children, adults and their families in Social Security/SSI disability claims, Medicaid, Special Needs Trusts, Guardianship and Estate Planning matters. Read more... Read less...
David graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Political Behavior, and the University of Wisconsin Law School and began representing individuals with SSI disability claims in 1974.
David has been Chair of the Special Needs Trust Committee of the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section. Since beginning private practice in 1979, he has been a frequent lecturer on Social Security disability, SSI, special needs trusts, Medicaid, guardianship, and legal and financial planning for disabled children and adults, before organizations such as the American Bar Association, the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives, the national Society of Settlement Planners, the New Jersey Bar Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and numerous Bar association continuing legal education programs. He received the ARC Plotkin Outstanding Legal Service Award for service to persons with intellectual disabilities, is a three-time recipient of the Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award from the South-Miami Kendall Bar Association, and received the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
He has been President of his two local bar associations, chairman of the South Florida Council on Divorce Mediation, and President of Guardianship and Case Management Services, Inc. and is Chair of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section Committee on Social Security/SSI. David is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish and POMS, the Social Security Administration’s policy manual, and is studying Norwegian.
Darryl Lynch has worked with Guardians and Trustees throughout the years. He has recommended best practices for attorneys and guardians across the country. Read more... Read less...
Shortly after earning his MBA from Duke University in Durham, NC he began his over 35 year career in the financial services industry. His experience is unparalleled as he has been a member of the National Guardianship Association (NGA) since 2002 and currently sits on the Center for Guardianship Certification’s (CGC) review board. He was also awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies the designation, Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)®.
Darryl has spent over 30 years at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., where his experience and the fi rm’s resources assist him in making knowledgeable recommendations and providing a high level of client service. Originally growing up in the St. Louis area, he now resides in Kirkland, WA. Darryl is a member of the Illinois Guardianship Association (IGA), the Washington Association of Professional Guardians (WAPG) and Guardian/Conservator Association of Oregon (CGA). He has taught classes and given many presentations for CE for various associations of Professional Guardians, Attorneys and Fiduciaries. He also specializes in working with Special Needs Trusts, High Net Worth investors and charitable organizations. His work demonstrates his commitment to helping invest and protect assets by providing independent financial insights.
Darryl is also a member of the Oppenheimer Executive Council, a prestigious designation awarded to our top Financial Advisors.In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, science and volunteering at various organizations throughout the Northwest.
Special needs parent and mom to Hudsyn, her ten year-old daughter who has complex medical needs, Kacy is a financial advisor in Leawood, Kansas. Read more... Read less...
After six years in the financial services industry as a marketing director, she opened her practice with Northwestern Mutual in 2013 because she had difficulty finding good, sound advice from a variety of financial advisors who could help her develop a solid plan for her daughter. Her purpose in life is to awaken understanding and help others become empathetically aware of people with disabilities. She focuses on helping special needs families with proper financial planning throughout their lifetimes. Her book, “Every Now & Then, I Fall Apart: A Mother’s Memoir of Life After a Traumatic Birth” is scheduled to be published in 2021.
Kacy leads a Northwestern Mutual study group of over 100 advisors in 31 states that focus on learning, professional development and building skills during monthly calls to better serve the special needs communities across the country. She’s a consistent MDRT qualifier, public speaker and volunteer with several organizations including:
- Children’s Mercy Hospital Family Advisory Board Chair, Beacon Complex Care Clinic Patient & Family
- Advisory Board Chair and a variety of other parent mentor positions held since 2014.
- Kansas Governor appointment parent advocate for the Kansas Developmental Disabilities Council and the
- Advisory Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs
- Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired
- Kansas City Special Needs Ministry Network
- Archdiocese of Kansas and Missouri
- National Center on Deaf-Blindness
Her husband, Dan, is a stay-at-home dad who cares for their two children and has a popular YouTube channel documenting the daily life of a special needs dad, called “See the Seitz.”
Kevin Urbatsch is a principal of the special needs and settlement planning law firm, The Urbatsch Law Firm P.C. located in Pleasant Hill, California. Read more... Read less...
Kevin also serves as National Director of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), a national organization of special needs and settlement planning professionals. Kevin is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Kevin is also a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).
Kevin is a frequent lecturer to professionals and consumers on special needs and estate planning. In 2013, Parenting Magazine named Kevin as one of the nation’s Top Child Advocates for his work in fighting for the rights of children with special needs. In May 2011, Kevin was presented the NAELA’s Presidential Recognition Award for his work in special needs planning. In each year from 2010 to 2018, Kevin was named a Northern California Superlawyer. In 2009, Kevin was named KRON-TV’s Best of the Bay estate-planning attorney for Northern California.
Kevin is the author of numerous articles and books on special needs planning including Administering the California Special Needs Trust, Special Needs Trusts: Planning for your Child’s Future; and Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting and Administration.
Olga Villaseñor is a Program Expert at the Center for Disability and Program Support. Read more... Read less...
She has been with the Social Security Administration for 24 years. Olga has 17 years of field office experience, seven of those years as a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claims Specialist. In 2014, she made the transition to the Seattle Regional Office where she works as a Policy and SSI systems subject matter expert. Olga is currently the Regional Trust Lead for the Denver and Seattle Regions.
Jessica Lillesand earned a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from Duke University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, graduating Magna Cum Laude while on academic scholarship. Read more... Read less...
She also has a Masters of Law in Taxation from New York University School of Law, and is a holder of the Certified Financial Planner™ designation. A Managing Principal in our St. Petersburg office, Jessica is a licensed attorney in Florida, and a member of the St. Petersburg Bar Association and the Florida Bar Association, as well as the past-Chair of the Clearwater Bar Association’s Elder Law section. Jessica is a graduate of Leadership Pinellas, and a member of both the Suncoast Estate Planning Council and the Pinellas Estate Planning Council, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the incoming President. As a devoted St. Petersburg resident, Jessica is active in the community through her work on the Finance Committee for CASA, and as a board member and Vice Chair for the Lighthouse of Pinellas. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys outdoor activities and fostering animals for the SPCA.
Nancy Welber is an attorney and a CPA. She has been practicing law since 1982. Nancy concentrates in the areas of estate and retirement planning, both as the primary and consulting attorney, with considerable experience in the area of planning with TIAA-CREF and other 403(b) annuities. Read more... Read less...
She also practices in the area of probate and trust administration.
Nancy is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and has been named by peer review in The Best Lawyers in America®, in Michigan Super Lawyers, and in DBusiness magazine’s Five-Star Wealth Managers and Top Attorneys in Michigan. She is a member of the ACTEC employee benefits committee. Nancy was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 Detroit Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year,”Best Lawyers’ 2016 Troy, Michigan area Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year,” and one of the Michigan Top 50 Women lawyers in Super Lawyers for 2014.
Nancy is the author of a chapter in the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Estate Planning Handbook concerning estate planning with retirement benefits. Nancy is the author of a January, 2013 article published in the Michigan Bar Journal concerning distributions from retirement plans, and the co-author of two prior Michigan Bar Journal articles on the same topic. She is also co-author of two 2009 articles in the American Bar Association Probate and Property Journal, and was the winner with her co-author of the 2009 ABA Real Property & Probate Excellence in Writing Award for the best practical use article in Trust and Estate law. Nancy was a co-presenter in the ACTEC/ALI-CLE national webinar, “Estate Planning with Retirement Benefits and IRAs,” in September, 2015.
Nancy is a frequent lecturer to legal, accounting, business, university and investor groups on the topic of estate planning with retirement benefits and the need for estate planning, in general, including ICLE, the Tax and Elder Law Sections of the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, and the Financial Planning Association of Michigan. She was also a speaker at the 2009 University of Miami Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.
Kelly Piacenti is the Assistant Vice President with MassMutual, based in Somerset, New Jersey. In this role She is responsible for the MassMutual SpecialCareSM program which includes over six hundred Special Care Planners. Read more... Read less...
She also oversees partnerships between MassMutual and the largest special needs nonprofit organizations across the country; including Easterseals, The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Autism Society, National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
Piacenti serves on the National Board of Directors for both The Arc and TASH, national non-profit organizations advocating for people with disabilities.
She also serves on the Advisory Board for The Academy of Special Needs Planners, as well as The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs.
Herb Thomas, CLPF, a California licensed private professional fiduciary (CLPF #86), is the principal fiduciary of Herb Thomas and Associates. Read more... Read less...
Herb has a passion for people. He has extensive experience serving families throughout California with Special Needs Trusts, public benefits counseling and advocacy, Estate/Trust Administration, and Conservatorships.
Additionally Herb is a board member of Behavioral Intervention Association (a non-profit dedicated to providing intervention services to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families). Herb also served on the board for Legal Assistance for Seniors, East Bay.
Before starting Herb Thomas and Associates, Herb served as the developer and coordinator of the Kaiser Permanente (KP), East Bay Community Benefits Advocacy program. The goal of this program was to find innovative methods to subsidize KP’s members’ health care costs through the complex maze of public and private benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medi-Cal, COBRA, HIPPA, etc.). Herb served seven years as taxpayer delinquency investigator with the Internal Revenue Service. In this position he located taxpayers who had not filed federal income tax returns and assisted them with becoming compliant with federal regulations. Herb is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences.
Vincent J. Russo, J.D., LL.M., CELA is the Managing Shareholder of Russo Law Group, P.C., with offices on Long Island and Manhattan, New York. He has championed the rights of seniors and people with special needs since 1985. Read more... Read less...
Vincent is a founding member and Past Chair of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the NYSBA.
He is also a Founding Member, Fellow and Fifth President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). He is also a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of NAELA. Vincent was the founding chair of the NAELA Foundation and is currently a board member.
On behalf of NAELA, he has testified before Congress and was a representative at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
Vincent is a Co-Founder of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and ElderCounsel, LLC.
He is the president of the Nassau Cerebral Palsy Association’s Guardianship Corporation on Long Island.
He is also a Co-Founder of the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation and the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for Children with Special Needs which were established in memory of his daughter, Theresa. The Theresa Foundation has helped thousands of seniors and people with disabilities thru the Theresa Pooled Trust.
Vincent is the creator and co-host of the three-time Telly Award TV Show – Family Comes First.
Mr. Russo is a nationally recognized speaker and noted authority on Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning. He is the Co-Author of New York Elder law and Special Needs Practice.
His distinction in Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning has made him one of the most prominent attorneys in the country.
Richard L. Newman, Esq. is the founder of Newman Elder Law, with an office in Doylestown, PA. Mr. Newman is licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and practices Elder Law and Special Needs Planning. Read more... Read less...
His practice serves clients in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Mr. Newman has more than 30 years of legal experience and is affiliated with the following organizations National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; Pennsylvania Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; Pennsylvania Bar Association; Bucks County Bar Association; Academy of Special Needs Planning. He is also accredited to practice before the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Mr. Newman is an active member of several business and civic organizations including: Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce; Bucks County Estate Planning Council; Bucks County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council; Doylestown Rotary Club (president from 2012-2013). A graduate of Temple University School of Law (1986), Mr. Newman was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Temple University in 1983.
Robert Mascali is an attorney with over forty years’ experience in the nonprofit, government and private sectors. Read more... Read less...
Mr. Mascali is admitted to practice before the courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of New York. He concentrates in the areas of Special Needs Planning for persons with disabilities and their families and care givers, Guardianships, Long-Term Care Planning, and Elder Law and Estate Planning.
Mr. Mascali is also a senior consultant with The Centers which is a national organization that administers special needs trusts and Medicare Set Aside Arrangements throughout the United States. He is a member of Massachusetts NAELA and is the Past President of the New York Chapter of NAELA. Mr. Mascali is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and is a frequent presenter and author on topics dealing with elder and special needs law and planning. He is a member of the Falmouth Commission on Disabilities and the Rotary Club of Falmouth.
Robert P. Mascali is licensed in both Massachusetts and New York. He has considerable expertise and experience in Elder Law, Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trust Administration.
Matt Stagner is a senior special needs financial consultant with Voya Cares®. He provides thought leadership, content and product development, sales strategy, as well as advisor and subject matter expert training. Read more... Read less...
Matt frequently conducts advisor and client consultations and builds comprehensive special needs plans for families — including individuals with disabilities and special needs.
Matt brings more than 17 years of experience as a financial planner, manager and wholesaler. He is passionate about delivering an interactive, client-centric, holistic planning experience that truly helps to improve the lives of all clients. His broad expertise includes:
• Special needs planning including Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts
• Navigating Social Security, Medicare and other government benefits
• IRA rules, ERISA plan and fiduciary rules
• Investment and insurance products
• Retirement and estate planning
Matt holds an MBA from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in personal financial planning from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Additionally, he holds FINRA Series 7, 63 and 24 registrations; Iowa Life, Accident and Health Insurance license; and maintains Certified Financial Planner® (CFP), Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC); Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC); Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor® (CPFA); and Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF) designations.
Emily B. Kile is a graduate of the Northeastern School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado, Boulder and holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from Boston College. Read more... Read less...
She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NEALA), past President of the Arizona Chapter (2008), and a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the Special Needs Alliance. She is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She has been licensed to practice law since 1993. The Supreme Court of Arizona has re-appointed Emily to serve on the Fiduciary Board through December 31, 2020. The Fiduciary Board oversees the approval and discipline of fiduciaries licensed in the State of Arizona by the Supreme Court.
Her practice is focused on elder law and special needs planning and related matters, including Medicaid (ALTCS), VA and long term care planning, guardianship and conservatorship issues, and estate settlement/probate.
Emily’s niece, Marisa, has Down Syndrome; allowing Emily some insight into issues faced by people with special needs and their families.
Jamie Hopkins, Esq., LLM, MBA, CFP®, RICP®, is the Director of Retirement Research at Carson Wealth and a Finance Professor of Practice at Creighton University's Heider School of Business, a former professor of Taxation at The American College, where he helped co-create the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) education program. Read more... Read less...
Jamie is a Finance Professor of Practice at the Heider School of Business at Creighton University. Jamie strives to increase the retirement income security of Americans by delivering practical and trusted retirement research and education.
His most recent book, “Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think About Retirement,” details the behavioral finance issues that hold people back from a more financially secure retirement.
He has been selected by InvestmentNews as one of the top 40 financial service professionals under the age of 40 and was also selected by The American Bar Association as one of the top 40 Young Attorneys in the country. In 2017, Trusts & Estates Journal awarded Professor Hopkins the Distinguished Author Award for his article on the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule. He holds his LLM in Taxation from Temple University School of Law and his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
Jerry Hulick started The Washington Group Special Care Planning Team in 2004, the same year as when he retired as General Agent of The Washington Group of MassMutual. Read more... Read less...
Mr. Hulick is a pioneer and advocate for the special needs community, having spoken across the country at various conferences, forums, radio programs, and panels dealing with issues and planning for the special needs community. He has been active in the financial services industry for over 40 years and was among the first to whom The American College of Financial Services conferred the new Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) designation.
Mr. Hulick graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, Virginia Tech National Campaign Chairman for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Dean’s Roundtable Executive Committee for the College of Science. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, charter member and past president of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club, and was an Elder with Faith Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Hulick is also very active with many local special needs non-profits such as ArtStream and The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia’s Special Needs Department. His activism in the special needs community is also inspired by special needs individuals in his own family.
My advocacy is rooted in two separate events which occurred 30 years apart. First, during the evening of August 23, 1975, I was trapped between two cars as a pedestrian. As a result of the accident, I sustained multiple fractures of the bones in my legs. Read more... Read less...
The first hospital recommended amputation, so I asked to be transferred for a second opinion. Following the accident, both of my legs were in full-leg casts for the first two months, with my right leg in traction for a total of three months. My right leg remained in a full-leg cast for fourteen months, followed by an additional six months in a full-leg brace. Eventually, I traded my wheelchair for a bicycle and, with my right leg still in a full- leg cast, I started rehabbing my left knee by riding my bike. It was at that time, before the Americans with Disabilities Act, while a student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, that I developed an interest in advocacy and better accessibility for disabled students.
Over a time-span of 43 years, I have had 22 surgeries to include bone-grafts from both hips, my right tibia and right fibula re-built twice, four knee replacements (left knee 3x) and right ankle replaced, and the tops of four toes on my right foot amputated. Eventually, with thanks for the support from a dedicated group of surgeons, family and friends, I accomplished my goals of skiing the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and the French-speaking Alps in France and Switzerland. Today, I ride my Trek for therapy and enjoy walks with my son, Harley. He was born on February 8, 2003. Two years later, in 2005, he was diagnosed with autism, 30 years after my accident.
With an understanding for the challenges faced by those with physical disabilities, and then my experience as a parent of a child with autism, I became more deeply committed to advocacy. I am a past president of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin and a member of the Governor’s Council on Autism. I am actively involved in supporting many non-profit organizations that focus a variety of diagnoses. Additionally, my wife and I invented, patented, trademarked and licensed a “buoyant assistive device” for the learn-to-swim market, given our son’s attraction to water and possible danger of drowning. Paddler ® is licensed to Kiefer Aquatics, the internationally recognized innovator of the aquatics industry. Paddler ® is available through Kiefer, Amazon, The Lifeguard Store, All American Swim, and Swim Shops of the Southwest.
Facing challenges has become familiar territory. I am committed to helping families face the challenges of tomorrow by helping them build a financial strategy designed to help meet their needs. I believe that overcoming challenges is best accomplished with a team that shares a common goal and knows what steps are suitable and appropriate to find the right solution. Together, we can find solutions for you and your family.
The founder of the Michigan Law Center, PLLC, Ms. Fuller’s focus during her 20-plus years as a practicing attorney has been on elder law issues, settlement planning and special needs planning. Read more... Read less...
Michele P. Fuller lives at the intersection of her career and her family, which offers an explanation regarding her passion for her clients.
The founder of the Michigan Law Center, PLLC, Ms. Fuller’s focus during her 20-plus years as a practicing attorney has been on elder law issues, settlement planning and special needs planning. She has intimate knowledge in that last area, as Michele is a mother of four, one with special needs. In 2005, Ms. Fuller also established Advocacy, Inc., a non-profit organization which administers complex special needs trusts.
She is a nationally recognized expert on special needs planning. An author or co-author of four books relating to special needs and elder law planning, Michele is currently working on a fifth book on Michigan special needs trust administration. She has co-authored several published articles on the subject and made upwards of 50 speaking engagements and countless webinars across the country in the last five years. During her career, Ms. Fuller has received numerous honors and awards. She was chosen as top special needs advocate by Parenting in 2013, named 10 best elder law attorneys in the US by the American Institute of Legal Counsel 2016-2018, honored by Lawyer’s Monthly annual women-in-law issue in 2016, and named Super Lawyer in 2018. In 2018, Ms. Fuller received the Unsung Hero Award by the State Bar of Michigan, given annually to an attorney who has exhibited the highest standards of practice and commitment for the benefit of others.
Ms. Fuller is a longtime member of the State Bar of Michigan Elder Law and Disability Rights Section, and served as Chair 2016-2017. She has been an active member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners advisory committee since 2012 and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Michigan Chapter since its origination in 2013.