I was tremendously excited to have the opportunity to open my own practice in 1997. I started out as a solo practitioner with one office assistant and have remained one. I have always resisted the addition of staff or attorneys because I am committed to the personal and affordable service I am able to give my clients.
My focus is on providing comprehensive counseling and planning assistance for veterans, retirees, persons with disabilities and their families.
Elder Law: On behalf of an elderly client, I won her the right to move to a more expensive nursing home over the objection of her children who were trying to obtain guardianship over her and prevent her from spending her own money, presumably in order to preserve their inheritance.
Estate Planning: On behalf of an elderly couple where the husband would eventually need 24 hr care at home that his wife would not be able to provide by herself. The couple had modest assets. I helped them plan for the husbands needs by protecting income and assets with a trust. A Medicaid application was then filed on his behalf when the proper time period had elapsed. The application was approved and the happy outcome was that he was able to obtain and benefit from around the clock fully paid care, and, just as important, the couple has been able to secure their financial future so as to comfortably maintain their lifestyle and dignity.
Veterans Benefits: I recently was able to obtain compensation retroactive to more than 20 years for the widow of an Agent Orange Vietnam Veteran who had continually been denied compensation.
300 W Broome St
LaGrange GA 30240
Yes, for estate or Medicaid planning issues only.
The fees for my most commonly provided services are listed on my website. Fees for unique and/or complex situations are provided during the initial consultation. If a new client mentions that they found me on the Nolo website, I reduce the initial consultation visit by $50.
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
When I first opened my practice in 1997, I intended to concentrate on the litigation of tax and estate matters because that had been my focus in the large firms I worked for. After guiding my parents through the aging issues of my grandparents, I decided that I would gain greater personal satisfaction from helping people plan for situations rather than representing them when its time to react to a situation.
I encourage clients to educate themselves about all of the legal issues that affect their lives. That's the reason I spend time volunteering to speak to various groups and distribute general information about elder law issues and veterans benefits issues at local senior centers. When a client makes an appointment to talk to me about a particular issue, I mail them a letter about what to expect at our meeting as well as general literature about the topic they want to discuss. I find this helps them better formulate specific questions and this leads to lower legal costs because ultimately they spend less time with me.
I am not a big proponent of do-it-yourself documents. One of the biggest problems I have is that after reviewing documents with even the most intelligent of clients, I have no control over the way in which my comments may have been interpreted and then incorporated into the do it yourself document after the client leaves my office. We all know drafting errors can lead to disastrous results. That being said, I am willing to review documents that the client has obtained from Nolo because I find those documents as a general rule are more inclusive of the essentials than do it yourself documents published by other sources.
I think there are many times when it is appropriate for a client to represent him- or herself and I always suggest it when it is appropriate. Some particular examples are simple probate and guardianship matters. I am always willing to consult and coach those who want to represent themselves in simple matters and advise them as to when they should not try to represent themselves.
Prior to opening my own office, I practiced with the firm of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy, LLP in Atlanta, GA. That firm recently merged with the international firm of Bryan Cave LLP.
I think every client experience makes me a better lawyer. Each clients' unique issues make me aware of how those issues may impact another client and how I might change or modify strategies to deal with those possibilities. Dealing with the aging and deaths of both sets of my grandparents made me acutely sensitive to the issues of aging and planning for that eventuality. I watched my parents struggle with a myriad of problems they encountered because my grandparents had never planned for their aging or discussed their preferences with their children or any professional advisor. It was probably the single biggest influence on my choice of elder law and estate planning as my areas of practice.
I am constantly reminded of how much the areas of my practice are interconnected; for instance, every estate plan has to take into account estate tax issues, gift tax issues, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and, in most cases, real estate law. If my client is a Veteran, I have to consider the impact of Veterans benefits issues in the estate plan.
I think my understanding of and experience with the substantive law in each of these areas combined with my personal family experiences makes me a much better counselor to the average person- the person who doesn't need to shelter millions of dollars, but instead needs some practical advice and tools that can be used to protect and provide for his or her family.
I'm friendly, personable and informal. I realize it's difficult to come to a stranger to discuss, death, incapacity and financial issues. I work to make those conversations as upbeat and painless as possible.Personal interests:
My passion is writing fictional short stories and travel articles for a variety of media outlets. I also enjoy reading, musical theatre, renovating old homes and spending weekends in our truck camper.
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