Accomplishment of the Elder Law and Advocacy Section
The section has devoted considerable attention to training—of attorneys, of other professionals, and of the general public. The section was one of the sponsors of an outstanding three-day conference at Grand Traverse Resort in November, along with the Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the State Office of Services to the Aging, and the Family Independence Agency. Many national experts served as presenters. Sessions were targeted at private attorneys, legal-services attorneys, social workers, prosecutors, and other advocates. The general focus of the conference was on preventing exploitation and abuse of vulnerable adults. Among the topics were:
- Advanced financial investigations
- Using person-centered planning to improve quality of life
- Civil remedies for financial abuse
- Estate planning for long-term care
- Diagnosis: Gray murder
- Overcoming prosecution obstacles
- Least restrictive alternatives in long term care
The section has sponsored a series of brown-bag lunches for attorneys interested in practice areas, initiated by Chair-Elect Jim Schuster. These informal meetings allow attorneys to learn how to create more effective elder law practices.
The section has made available material for the general public in areas such as alternatives to guardianships and specific information in the area of surrogate decision-making. Many of these materials have been uploaded onto the section web page, allowing free downloading.
The program that was originally planned for the last annual meeting had to be deferred due to the events of September 11. Fortunately, the section was able to bring the invited speaker, Patricia Nemore, to Lansing to give her presentation later. Ms. Nemore gave practical information to a standing-room only crowd of 130 on using Medicaid and Medicare for home services.
This fall, the section will present two programs at the annual meeting. One, joint with the Consumer Law section, focuses on predatory lending. The other focuses on the implications of the prudent investor rule for fiduciaries under the control of probate court.
One of the primary benefits of section membership continues to be the listserv. Many members have taken advantage of this opportunity to inform others of significant information about elder law and to post questions of concerns to elder law practice.
Susan Wideman has begun her term as the new editor of the section newsletter.