National Guardianship Association, Inc.
National Guardianship Association, Inc.
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174 Crestview Drive, Bellefonte, PA 16823-8516
Toll Free: 877-326-5992
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Conference Detailed Schedule ** Click heading to expand.
Saturday's conference intensives are not included in the conference fee.  An additional registration fee applies to attend one of these programs. Intensives are marked with an asterisk(*).
Saturday, October 14, 2017
8:15am–11:30am Intensive: Guardianship Clinic Investment Practices*
Wanda Bevington, NCG, LSW, MS, Personal Guardianship Services, Inc.
Karen Buchanan, Colorado Elder Care Solutions/Guardianship Solutions
Jean Krahn, NMG, Kansas Guardianship Program

Back by popular demand! Join your colleagues for a fast-paced discussion of your most pressing issues, get your how-to questions answered by the experienced facilitators and other participants, and learn that you are not alone when making your most difficult decisions, All participants will share solutions to the most common – and most difficult – problems guardians face. Using case studies and participants’ questions, experienced and novice guardians will discuss proven ways to enhance their services.

8:30am–4:00pm Instensive: Legal and Legislative Review*
Steven D. Fields, JD, Tarrant County Probate Court Two
Terry W. Hammond, Terry W. Hammond & Associates
Sally Hurme, JD
Robert A. McLeod, Briggs & Morgan, PA
Ira Salzman, JD, Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin, LLP
Erica Wood, JD, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging

A panel of respected guardianship legal experts will summarize the major reported court decisions and legislation in the United States during the past year that concern guardianship issues relevant to both professional and family guardians and the attorneys who represent them.

11:30am–12:30pm Lunch on Your Own
12:45pm–4:00pm Intensive: Organizing and Managing Your Firm Through Document Management*
Kevin Anderson, Lucion Technologies

You know it’s time to take another step toward streamlining your practice. The problem is knowing what that step is – and having the time to implement it.

In this session, we’ll take on the biggest speed bump for most practices: document management. We’ll demonstrate simple solutions that are easy and inexpensive to implement, but that will make a significant difference in your day-to-day operations. Topics include: sharing files on the network, organization strategies, capturing any kind of document, hassle-free scanning, making better use of PDFs, cloud access, and the best ways to share documents with clients.

4:00pm–5:30pm State Affiliates Meeting (invitation only)
5:30pm–6:30pm Welcome Reception
Sunday, October 15, 2017
6:30am–8:15am Full buffet breakfast in the hotel’s Mountain View Restaurant
(breakfast is included with your conference registration fee)
7:00am–5:00pm Registration area open
7:30am–8:15am New Member Breakfast
8:20am–8:30am Welcome/opening remarks
Lucille Lyon, 2017 Conference Chair
8:30am–10:00am Judges Panel
Judge Amanda Matzke, Brazos County Court at Law #1, Texas
Judge Elizabeth Cutter, Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota
Judge Frances Johnson, Fourth Judicial District, Colorado
Moderated by Terry W. Hammond, Terry W. Hammond Consulting

In this session, a panel of probate judges from Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas will discuss the challenges facing the probate courts today, the opportunities to improve guardianship practice locally and nationally, and best practices guardians and attorneys can use to support their clients. The discussion will include questions from the audience, and probing questions from our moderator to extract insight into the workings of a probate court.

10:00am–10:30am Break with exhibitors
10:30am–11:45am Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) The Right to Fail: Supporting the Decisions of Individuals Under Guardianship to Achieve Their
Heather Raimondo-O’Brien, NCG, Wyoming Guardianship Corporation
Emily Smith, NCG, CSW, Wyoming Guardianship Corporation

Everyone has failed at something. People under guardianship have the right to try and fulfill their goals or desires, even if there is fear from their treatment team that they may fail. The experience of trying to achieve goals is a reward and something everyone deserves.

2) What Guardians Need to Know About 529 College Savings Plans and ABLE Accounts
Ted Ong, Prudent Investors Network

529 plans and ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings plans to encourage saving for college costs and Qualified Disability Expenses. 529 plans, known as “qualified tuition plans,” can be beneficial for fiduciaries who have minors planning on attending college or large estates subject to estate taxes. ABLE accounts offer tax-advantaged accounts for the disabled.

3) Volunteer Guardian Advocate Program
Mindi R. Blanchard, M.Ed., CPG, Guardian Institute

The need is great for guardians willing and able to take the very low income guardianships. The number of individuals who would benefit from a guardian is unknown. This volunteer program takes a provision in Washington State law for lay guardians and makes it user-friendly for volunteers who wish to serve as lay guardians. The program provides additional training, mentoring, and other supports to protect the individual under guardianship, such as a provision for finding another volunteer guardian should a current volunteer no longer be able to serve and the volunteer guardian would not handle the client’s money. This program is designed to address the very low-income individuals who are on SSI, but it can also recruit volunteers for individuals with cultural or religious considerations, or those needing a guardian who is bi-lingual. This program can be easily modified to use in different cultures and communities.

11:45am–1:15pm Lunch and Annual Meeting
1:30pm–2:45pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) Family Victimization: Elder Financial Abuse
David L. Carlson, JD, NCG
John H. Beckfield, JD, M.S., NCG

Family members are often the persons from whom an incapacitated person needs protection. The case of “Richard” illustrates the issues common in investigating elder financial abuse and the resulting application of a strong elder abuse prevention statute.

2) What the #*%@ Is a Reasonable Fee? Taking the Mystery out of Billing in Guardianship Cases
Christopher Marchase, Pikes Peak Probate Services
Catherine Anne Seal, JD, CELA, Kirtland & Seal, LLC

This session will review the various guidelines for fees and talk about how to bill fairly and honestly so your bill can survive a reasonableness review.

3) Overview of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
Scott Bartlett, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is federally mandated to provide advocacy and protection to consumers of long term care services and supports. Ombudsmen investigate complaints and problems on behalf of facility residents and other interested parties. The program also works systemically to create change in policies, statutes, and services for long term care consumers. This session will discuss the mission of the program and how ombudsmen can be utilized by guardians to promote quality of life for their wards in long term care settings. The history and mission of the program will be discussed, as well as when and how to access ombudsmen for advocacy and educational services. This session will also discuss the importance of collaborative efforts and how the local Pikes Peak region ombudsman office works with our local community to improve the lives of vulnerable adults in care facilities.

2:45pm–3:00pm Break with Exhibitors
3:00pm–4:15pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) The Colorado End-of-Life Options Act: Implications for Clients, Caregivers, and Institutions
Chris Ruskey, MD, Interim HealthCare of Southern Colorado

In November 2016, Colorado voters approved the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act. This followed similar legislation passed in Oregon and Washington, and other states over the past 15-20 years. The ethical, moral, and legal implications to individuals, professionals, and institutions are profound. No matter where you stand on the “issue” of medically assisted end of life, this session will prove to be informative, provocative, and transforming.

2) Stressed Out and Fed Up? How to Work With the Difficult Family of a Person Under
J. J. Mesko-Kimmich, M.Ed., LPC, Volunteer Guardian Program of Jewish Family Service
Gizelle Jones, LISW-S, Jewish Family Service

Participants will learn to effectively work with difficult families. This includes an overview of dysfunctional families and the roles of guardians and people under guardianship. The impact of stress on you and your work will be discussed, and techniques to create solutions will be provided.

3) The Changing World of Guardianships: How Independent Review of Court Cases Can Reform
Guardianship Systems, Save Lives, and Preserve Estates
Terry W. Hammond, JD, NCG, Terry W. Hammond Consulting
Jorge Ramirez, Office of Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini
David Slayton, Office of Court Administration

The 84th Texas Legislature provided an appropriation to the Office of Court Administration to fund the Guardianship Compliance Project. The Guardianship Compliance Project (GCP) is a service designed to assist courts with their monitoring of guardianship cases by conducting guardianship file reviews and audits to identify reporting deficiencies while assisting the courts in implementing best practices for monitoring and managing guardianship cases. In addition to the services provided by GCP staff, the project includes the development of an online reporting and monitoring system for guardians to file required reports electronically. The system will enable guardianship data to be tracked from year to year, provide alerts to identify potential reporting issues, prioritize cases to be reviewed by audit staff, and generate reports for judges to assist in monitoring guardianship cases. This session will examine the circumstances that led to creation of the GCP, the hope that the resulting data provides for lasting reform of the Texas guardianship system, and how the GCP can be a template for reform in other jurisdictions.

4:15pm–4:30pm Break with exhibitors
4:30pm–5:30pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) Reefer Madness: Legal and Ethical Implications for Cannabis Use
Carol Manteuffel, JD, RN, Husch Blackwell, LLP

As more states legalize cannabis for medical use, guardians are facing increased legal and ethical questions about facilitating medical and recreational requests. This session will address health benefits and medical developments of cannabis. It will also address how to avoid conflicts of interest when advocating for the least restrictions on a client’s freedom and rights, while maximizing independence and personal needs and preferences

2) Self-Determination in Guardianship: How to Maximize Participation in Decision-Making – A Case
Nicole Jorwic, JD, The Arc
Robin Shaffert, JD, The Arc

Join advocates from The Arc to explore how to promote self-determination and build decisionmaking skills with real life examples. Using case studies, we’ll hone skills to respect preferences, ensure the dignity of risk, and work towards restoration of rights.

3) How to Protect Yourself with Good Court Accounting
Lucille Lyon, MPA, Retired Public Guardian

The court accounting reflects all the financial activities of an estate conservator. Court personnel, as well as other interested parties, review this document to ensure the estate conservator is prudently managing the estate. This discussion will cover how one should double check his or her own accounting and – in the event of being a successor estate conservator – how to review the document.

6:00pm-7:30pm Reception with exhibitors and live auction
Monday, October 16, 2017
6:30am–8:15am Full buffet breakfast in the hotel’s Mountain View Restaurant
(breakfast is included with your conference registration fee)
7:00am–5:00pm Registration area open
8:15am–9:45am It’s Not Just Dementia! What Every Guardian Needs to Know About Mental Health
Steven A. Weisblatt, M.D., FAPA

Everyone would vote for accuracy in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems – unfortunately accuracy isn’t running.

Most often, psychiatric assessment in the elderly and disabled is simply whether or not the person is suffering from dementia or maladaptive behavior, and the “clinician” prescribes drugs to moderate “symptoms”. This usually involves medicines given for complaints of poor sleep, depressed mood, agitation, irritability, etc., without sufficient attention to differentiating the potential causes for the presenting problem. Often, this process places further limitations on already-limited mental and behavioral functions and does not allow elderly and disabled patients to live to their best potential.

Whereas brain damage is generally irreversible, co-morbid mental health symptoms – e.g. from prescribed medications, circadian rhythm dysfunction, hypothyroidism, and inappropriately prescribed psychotropics – can be reversed! To do this requires a very accurate assessment.

The purpose of this presentation is to equip guardians with a method to help maximize the potential of their patient by identifying co-morbid, unrecognized, medical problems or misdiagnosed or mistreated brain chemistry imbalances.

9:45am–10:00am Break with Exhibitors
10:30am–11:15am Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) The Business of Caring for Others: Transforming Long-Term Care into Lifelong Living
David Seaton, LiveOak Living Community

Guardians and providers alike share in the responsibility to advocate and deliver services that optimize the person’s well-being and quality of life in long-term care. This Lifelong Living approach requires the understanding and integration of humanistic and person-centered principles that promote opportunities for the person to thrive, rather than just survive.

2) Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll: Atypical Beneficiary Requests
Megan Brand, Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities
Marco D. Chayet, JD, Chayet & Danzo, LLC
Peter J. Wall, Colorado State Bank & Trust

A panel discussion reviewing uncommon beneficiary requests made to trustees, conservators, guardians and agents, Case law, litigation avoidance, drafting tips, decision making tools, and distribution structures will be discussed with perspective provided from three different professional fiduciaries and counsel.

3) Supported Decision-Making: Practical Tips for Implementation
Morgan K. Whitlatch, JD, National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making Galveston School of Nursing

The NGA has tasked guardians with incorporating supported decision-making principles into their practices to maximize the self-determination of people with disabilities. Through discussion and interactive case studies, this session will provide practical tips on how that goal may be accomplished.

11:15am–11:30am Break with Exhibitors
11:30am–12:45pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) Navigating the Bright and Blurry Lines of Ethics in Guardianship and Care Management
Jennifer S. Gormley, MA, JD, LLM, Law Office of Jennifer S. Gormley

This informative session will focus on NGA’s Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles to reinforce a strong foundation for ethical decision making and professionalism in guardianship and care management. Learn an action plan to confront ethical challenges when presented with high-conflict cases or difficult family dynamics. Navigating the ethical balance between confidentiality, communication, decision-making, and substituted judgment is essential. This session will provide tools to reinforce clear ethical boundaries and standards of conduct.

2) WINGS: State Interdisciplinary Networks Take Flight to Advance Guardianship Goals
Erica Wood, ABA Commission on Law & Aging
Karolina Abuzyarova, Utah Administrative Office of the Courts
Erica Costello, Indiana Office of Court Services
Jill Tilbury, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Learn how state courts are partnering with community stakeholders in collaborative Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) to improve guardianship systems, promote less restrictive options, and prevent and address abuse – and how you can replicate WINGS in your state.

3) Behaviors Related to Brain Injury: Who Is This Person?
Debbie Coleman, The Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation

This session offers an interactive and fun approach to understanding what causes brain injuries, early intervention, behaviors related to brain injury, and more. Participants will also discuss appropriate placement options.

12:45pm–1:45pm Networking lunch in the hotel’s Mountain View Restaurant
2:00pm–3:15pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) Using Social History to Improve Quality of Care
Scott Greenberg, CAEd, ComFor-Care Home Care

An interactive discussion surrounding how to develop a social history, apply it to develop a personalized care plan to ultimately ensure those suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia receive the highest quality of care in order to live the best life possible.

2) Lowering Your Liability When Advising Client Assets
Darryl J. Lynch, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
Kimberly M. Edgar, The Bar Plan Surety and Fidelity Company

Join a discussion on reducing fiduciary liability and standardizing your investment management decision-making process. Learn the importance of proper management of clients’ assets and your responsibility to comply with the Uniform Prudent Investor Act. Understand the ABC’s of bonding, restricting of assets, what underwriters require, the claims process, and techniques for reducing bond costs and exposure to liability. Review the pros and cons of working with an investment advisor.

3) Scams, Fake News, and Hit Lists: Public Attacks on Guardianship Professionals and Methods To
Prevent and Repair Damage
Jennifer S. Gormley, MA, JD, LLM, Law Office of Jennifer S. Gormley
Terry W. Hammond, JD, NCG, Terry W. Hammond Consulting

Guardians and fiduciaries are placed at the highest standard of trust; despite this, some guardians and fiduciaries become exploiters. This reprehensible behavior has caused an outcry for guardianship reform across the country. This panel will discuss legislative changes and reforms, as well as the expanding WINGS program, and how these reforms and programs will provide protection for guardians and people under guardianship. The panel will also explore the trend of hit lists, fake news and scams perpetrated against professionals as tactics to destroy reputations, gain advantages in cases, or to request donations or financial support.

3:15pm–3:45pm Break with exhibitors
3:45pm–5:00pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
1) An Examination of the Models of the Offices of Public Guardian
Shannon Alvey, MS, SSW, NMG, State of Utah Office of Public Guardian
Lucille Lyon, MPA, Retired Public Guardian
Michael Handy, BSC, Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Offices of the Public Guardian play important roles in our communities, and these offices’ staffs have dramatic impacts on the lives of the people they serve. This panel discussion will include: statutory provisions, target populations with eligibility requirements, the internal organization, direct staff who provide the services to persons placed under guardianship (with sample job descriptions, qualifications, and compensation), and funding. Representatives from public guardian offices in Kentucky, Utah, and California will discuss their states’ models, and the current challenges facing these offices.

2) The Apparently Normal Parent: A Case Study
Christopher G. Scholz, JD, Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Seibers, & Duesterhaus LLP

What happens when early signs of Mom’s dementia are not recognized by her or the children until a crisis arises? This hypothetical case study explores a wide range of issues in a contested guardianship proceeding when the parent is apparently normal.

3) Now You Are a Fiduciary. Do You Know Your Obligations and the Rules?
Tamra A. Palmer, JD, Palmer, Goertzel, & Associates P.C.

Fiduciaries are required to prudently take care of money and assets for another person and must use the highest standard of care. In addition to the duty of care, loyalty, and good faith, fiduciaries must carefully follow the powers specifically conferred by the instrument or the court. This program will provide an overview of fiduciary standards and duties, with discussion on developing management plans, establishing budgets, marshalling assets, and having proper documentation. We will explore important topics including: risk assessment, protecting the estate plan, dealing with conflict, liquidating assets, and working with the principal, family, beneficiaries, and professionals.

5:30pm Open evening
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
6:30am–8:15am Full buffet breakfast in the hotel’s Mountain View Restaurant
(breakfast is included with your conference registration fee)
7:00am–11:30am Registration area open
8:15am–9:45am Palliative Care, Part One: What Is It, and Why Does It Matter to My Client?
Chris Ruskey, MD, Interim HealthCare of Southern Colorado

One can hardly pick up a newspaper or journal these days without finding some reference to palliative care. Yet, most of us have only a vague idea about what it is, or how it applies to our roles in clients’ lives. Part one of this two-part session will walk participants through the development of palliative care, its philosophy, and client-centered approach. This session will provide an understanding of why insurers, regulators, hospitals, and other large care institutions – and ultimately our clients – deserve, and are coming to expect, the “palliative approach” to care.

9:45am–10:00am Break
10:00am–11:30am Palliative Care, Part Two: The Palliative Approach – Practical Integration of Palliative Care with Client Services
Chris Ruskey, MD, Interim HealthCare of Southern Colorado

In this session, we will explore ways to apply the lessons learned in the previous session to the care of our clients. We will learn what makes an ideal consultant service, when and how to access palliative care, and how to best work with your palliative consultants. Perhaps most importantly, participants will develop their own palliative skills by working through cases designed to enhance their understanding of medical ethics and interdisciplinary approach for the best possible care of clients and their loved ones.

11:30am Conference Concludes