Neil Archibald

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.

Thomas Brinker

He graduated cum laude from Saint Joseph’s University in Accountancy, and holds masters 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. He presents nationally and internationally on various tax topics, and 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.

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He serves as a member on the Continuing Legal Education Committee for the Washington State Association for Justice. He is a former Continuing Legal Education Co-Chair for the King County Bar Association Guardianship and Elder Law Section and a former member of the Board of Directors for the Arc of Washington State and the Professional Advisory Board for the Autism Society of Washington. Mr. Brothers is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education seminars, parent group meetings and other symposiums on issues related to his areas of practice. He was named as a Rising Star by Washington Law & Politics in 2009 and 2010. In 1999, Mr. Brothers was one of 60 cyclists in the Push America Journey of Hope bicycle ride from San Francisco to Washington, DC, raising money and awareness for people with disabilities.

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He has trained over 200,000 professionals in 10 countries on understanding and managing high conflict disputes, including lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others.

As an attorney, Bill was a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics.

Crystal West Edwards

Crystal is highly experienced working with the legal problems of aging individuals and those with disabilities. Crystal counsels seniors, individuals with special needs and their families with issues pertaining to complex estate and tax planning, asset preservation, eligibility for means-tested government benefits, fiduciary appointments and representation and advocacy. She is also a trusted advisor to financial institutions and corporate fiduciaries with judicial and administrative accountings and counseling regarding initial or continued means-tested government benefits eligibility for its trust beneficiaries.

Crystal is a sought after speaker and has authored numerous publications on the topics of elder and disability law, estate planning, special need trusts and government agencies. She is a member of the Board of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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Jessica is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) and served on the Planning Committee for their 2018 National Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is also a member of East Bay Trusts and Estates Lawyers (EBTEL). Jessica has been a member of the California Bar since 2016. She earned her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2015 and undergraduate degree in Politics from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011. As a law student, Jessica won a place on the Moot Court Board, founded and chaired the Estate Planning Society, and worked as an Extern with the Honorable Sandra K. Bean in Alameda Superior Court’s probate division.

Allison Bren Ferris

At Inspire, Allison is responsible for providing fiduciary oversight, risk management, strategic direction, and leadership for the company and oversees the team which provides administration and relationship management for the beneficiaries of settlement accounts. Previously, Allison was the National Director of Wells Fargo’s Special Needs Trust Services. Allison has devoted her career to helping clients achieve financial and personal independence as they travel through the life spectrum. She has authored papers and presentations on numerous topics related to the administration of special needs trusts including appropriate distributions, termination of special needs trusts, choosing an investment vehicle for a personal injury settlement, ABLE accounts, the role of the trustee regarding life care planning, and how language used in special needs trust documents impacts administration.  Allison is a native of Walla Walla, WA and received a B.A. from Vassar College and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. She is a licensed attorney and a member of the Washington State Bar Association, although she is currently not practicing. Allison is a member of the distribution review committee for the critical needs master trust fund administered by Lifetime Advocacy Plus and lives in the Seattle, WA area with her family (including a Whippet named Hopper).

Mercy Hall

Mercy is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. She has been named a “Rising Star” by Superlawyers from 2013 to 2016.

Christopher Henderson

Mr. Henderson’s practice includes preparing planning and end-of-life documents; advising beneficiaries, professional fiduciaries and attorneys regarding settlements and special needs trusts; advising individuals regarding guardianship, state and federal benefits, and special education; and representing clients in related disputes or litigation.

Prior to joining B&H, Henderson focused on academic work in disability rights, and professional work in business and technology – in particular, the use of technology to address the needs of those with disabilities. Mr. Henderson worked at a global law firm’s Seattle office, serving emerging technology businesses as a corporate associate. During this time, he served as outside general counsel to a variety of privately held businesses, regularly guiding his clients in transactions valued at tens of millions of dollars.

Elevating disability rights and disability and elder law has been a clear theme throughout Henderson’s career. While in law school, he was selected as symposium editor for the Washington Law Review. In that capacity, he worked closely with late professor and former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Paul Miller to bring together internationally renowned disability law scholars to study the rights of the disabled on a global scale. The symposium culminated in an edition of the Washington Law Review edited by Mr. Henderson, Framing Legal and Human Rights Strategies for Change: A Case Study of Disability Rights in Asia 83 Wash. Law. Rev. 435 (2008).

Henderson has been invited to speak on guardianship, Medicaid, elder Law, special education and estate planning issues to many groups, including other attorneys and a variety of advocacy organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Western Washington chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and is a member of the End-of-Life Washington and Full Life Care advisor groups. In 2014-2015 he served on the state Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group as the only active attorney appointed to the group by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

A four-time winner of the SuperLawyers Rising Star award (2014-2017), Henderson is a member of the King County Bar Association’s Guardianship and Elder Law Section where he previously served on the executive committee. He is also a member of the Washington Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Washington State Bar Association and its Real Property, Probate and Trust Section and Elder Law Section, and the National Academy for Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

Henderson was admitted to practice in the state of Washington in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law, where he later co-taught the disability law course.

Jerry Hulick

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.

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Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he studied psychology and neuroscience at Amherst College and then earned his teaching certificate from the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Josh began his professional career as a public elementary school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, where he also served as the union representative for his school and as a Board member for the Greater Boston chapter of PFLAG.

Josh later earned a Public Interest Scholarship to Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in the Evening Division while working full-time and raising his son during the day. While at Temple, Josh served as a panelist for the university’s Conduct Board and as a law clerk in the Office of University Counsel, where he helped to revise the university’s Code of Conduct. He also worked as an advocate for the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, helping children and adults with disabilities access and navigate the Medicaid system.

After law school, Josh was as an attorney for the law firm of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads in Philadelphia, where he represented several colleges and universities in litigation and regulatory matters, including Title IX, Title VII, and Cleary Act compliance. In 2009, along with his friend and colleague Dave Frankel, he founded Frankel & Kershenbaum, a boutique law firm representing students and children with special needs in a wide range of legal matters, including: special education, higher education student rights, civil and constitutional rights and student disciplinary issues.

Josh has earned a national reputation as an outspoken leader in the field of education law. He developed and taught a seminar on Special Education Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Temple and has spoken at numerous professional conferences around the country for attorneys, educators, school administrators, teachers, and students. He has been a guest on several programs on National Public Radio, television, and on the popular podcast, Good Law Bad Law.

In 2019, Josh earned certifications in both Negotiation and Mediation at the Harvard Negotiation Institute’s Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He also completed the certification course in Mediation at Good Shepherd Mediation Program in Philadelphia. He is now an independent mediator and conflict resolution consultant for students and professionals in public and private K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

David Lillesand

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.

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Jim’s experience specifically includes: representing clients in front of the IRS and/or Georgia or Tennessee Departments of Revenue during examinations, through appeals and, when necessary, into litigation, crafting tax structures for new business ventures, counseling clients on the tax aspects of business exit strategies and business succession issues, designing tax-effective executive compensation packages, creating appropriate estate plans, and counseling families on wealth planning. Jim began his professional tax career with the “Big 8” public accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. Following law school, he litigated tax cases for the federal government as a member of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.A Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Jim was honored for his work in special needs planning when inducted into the Special Needs Alliance in 2007, and was honored again when Best Lawyers of America named him the 2017 Lawyer of the Year – Litigation and Controversy – Tax for Metropolitan Atlanta.With his wife, Diane, Jim has been active with numerous disability advocacy and support organizations in both Tennessee and Georgia. Jim currently serves on the Board of Advisors for The Arc Georgia.

Mary McDirmid

She takes the title “Mom Boss” seriously, just ask her! Mary understands the emotional and financial aspects of caring for a loved one with special needs because she is the parent of a special needs child herself.  

Mary McDirmid is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC (www.SIPC.org) Supervisory Office 701 Fifth Ave, Suite 1100, Seattle, WA

 

Shelly Meitzler

Her background is business management. Experiencing the need to advocate educationally and medically for her family when their journey began with TSC two decades ago, Shelly realized she wanted to work alongside and empower TSC families by providing resources and support to advocate for themselves and their children to secure the services they are entitled to receive and to realize their full potential—no matter how complex their journeys are to get there.

She has been supporting TSC families and has conducted school meetings and TSC trainings and provides tremendous insight as a parent having walked the TSC journey – twice. Her drive and passion have been fueled by her two children with TSC, Ashlin and Mason, and her daughter, Mikenna.

Shelly completed the Special Education Advocate Training 1.0 through the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and is currently completing the Special Education Advocate Training 2.0 through the Council of Parent and Attorneys and Advocates.

Tim-Nay

He is the founding president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAE), a Fellow of the Academy. He is the past Chair of the NAELA Amicus Brief Committee, member of the NAELA Medicaid Task Force; founding member and past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Oregon State Bar and past President of the Oregon Gerontological Association and the Alzheimer’s Association of Oregon Chapter.

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In addition, Kelly oversees partnerships between MassMutual and the largest special needs nonprofit organizations across the country; including The Arc, Easter Seals United Cerebral Palsy, Autism Society of America, National Down Syndrome Congress and Tuberous Sclerosis. Kelly also serves on the National Board of Directors for both The Arc and TASH, national non-profit organizations advocating for people with disabilities.

Don Ryan

At National Care Advisors, Don is a member of the management team and oversees the firm’s clinical professionals. Additionally, his clinical practice focuses on providing case management services for individuals with complex special needs as well as expert witness services in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation.

Don has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Notre Dame College and a degree in accounting from Central Ohio Technical College. He also completed post-graduate training in the field of life care planning at the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Nursing degree at Western Governors University. Don has been engaged in the practice of nursing for over 25 years and holds licenses as a registered nurse in Ohio, Florida and New York in addition to board certifications in life care planning and case management.

Don resides in Mount Vernon, Ohio with his wife and three children.

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In May 2011, Kevin was presented the NAELA’s Presidential Recognition Award for his work in special needs planning. From 2006 to 2009, Kevin was an Attorney-Editor for CEB (the Continuing Education of the Bar) in its estate planning group. He was responsible for the quality of California’s legal reference guides to other California estate planning attorneys. Special Needs Planners, a national organization of special needs planning professionals.

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She was recently accepted as a Fellow of the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters as a result of her architecting the Flint Water Case settlement. She also holds several leadership positions, including acting as a member of the board of directors of the Michigan NAELA Chapter, a member of the Advisory Committee for ASNP, and is former Chair of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Michele is a highly sought speaker for national and state-wide programs. She is also the co-author of Administering the Michigan Special Needs Trust and Special Needs Trusts: A Guide for Trustees and Those who Advise Them. She has published articles for the American Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys News, NAELA Journal, Journal of the Michigan Association for Justice, the Michigan Bar Journal, Estates and Trusts Magazine, Elder Law Report, and has been quoted in the New York Times. She is also the 2018 recipient of the Unsung Hero Award of 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.

Jessica Lillesand

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

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.

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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

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 Russo

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 Newman

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

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

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 Kile

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

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

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.

Robert Johnston

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.

Michele Fuller

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.