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The special needs law practice is unique. It often involves individuals with a health or mental condition requiring special care, attention and protection because the client may have a memory, mobility or other disabling impairment, chronic condition or other illness. While special needs law include traditional estate planning, many times the focus of a special needs representation is the "life needs" of the person whose interests are being promoted in the legal representation. The holistic approach requires the attorney, when appropriate, to address these and other issues in the legal representation. An attorney who practices holistically however still follows the client's wishes and discusses with the client the multitude of ways to accomplish the client’s wishes. Additionally, the attorney recognizes that the client may not be knowledgeable in the variety of issues the client is facing or will be facing as they age. Therefore, the attorney is prepared to address with the client issues the client may not even be aware of that are related to the representation.
A. Frank Johns was the first North Carolina attorney to earn an LLM, masters in law in Elder Law from Stetson University College of Law (2008), and currently serves on its faculty as an adjunct professor of law. Johns is a leader of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, having served on its Board (1992-2002), as President (1999-2000), Charter Chair of the Carolinas Chapter (1993), Charter Chair of the reorganized North Carolina Chapter (2011), Publications Chair (2010-2012), Editor in Chief of the NAELA Journal (2008-2010) and Steering Committee Chair (2006-2007) and current member of NAELA-CAP (Council of Advanced Practitioners). Johns organized and chaired the North Carolina Bar Association Elder Law Committee (1993), and organized and was the charter chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Elder Law Section Council (1995-1997). Johns also served as a charter member of the North Carolina State Bar Elder Law specialization committee.
He currently serves as Vice President of Senior Resources of Guilford and is the immediate past president of the Greensboro Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. Along with countless published articles and manuscripts, Johns co-authored Counseling Older Adults (2005), and was a contributing research expert in Why Wills Won't Work (2007).
Kevin Urbatsch is the National Director for ASNP. He is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. 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.