Annual Joint Councils Event: Navigating Mental Illness and Addiction Issues in Estate Planning and Administration

Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Time: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: Washington Golf & Country Club, 3017 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207
Speaker: Moderator: Madelaine Kramer Katz, Esq., Rifkin Weiner Livingston, LLC. Panelists: Barbara Mardigian, LPC, Deputy Clinical Director, Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program; Elizabeth Gray, Esq, Principal, McCandlish Lillard

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Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness or addiction of varying degrees of severity, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It stands to reason that many of them may be our clients, the beneficiaries of our clients, our colleagues, even ourselves or our families. As estate planning professionals, we are not always adequately prepared to identify, understand or appropriately respond when confronted with the manifestation of a mental illness – whether as a quiet but festering familial conflict, or an outburst of a frustrated beneficiary.

Drafting and administering estate plans for clients or beneficiaries with mental illness can be challenging: we want to plan and administer in such a way that empowers the person and enables them to act as independently as possible, protects them from negative consequences of their illness, and helps them get access to treatment, while taking into consideration their employment and earning prospects, supports that they may need intermittently or constantly throughout their lives, and their family relationships.

Join us to hear the perspectives and advice from a panel of experts, featuring an estate planning attorney, a corporate fiduciary, and a mental health professional, who will guide us in serving our clients in ways that reduce stigma and helps them accomplish their estate planning goals.

Please join us for this presentation/discussion followed by a reception at this annual event of 3 councils:  Northern Virginia Estate Planning Council; Washington, DC, Estate Planning Council; and Estate Planning Council of Montgomery County, MD.

About the Speakers:


Moderator: Madelaine Kramer Katz is an attorney and partner at Rifkin Weiner Livingston in Bethesda, Maryland. She focuses her practice on Complex Civil and Commercial Litigation, representing the interests of businesses, individuals and fiduciaries in disputes involving contracts, property and estate in Virginia, Maryland and DC. She is a member of the NVEPC and its Programs Committee.



Speaker: Elizabeth Gray is an elder Law Attorney, certrified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), and a Principal at McCandlish Lillard in Fairfax and Leesburg, Virginia.  Elizabeth focuses her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, guardianships, and the administration of estates. This includes the drafting of trusts (including special needs trusts, pet trusts, trusts to minimize income taxes and capital gains), wills, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney (also known as advance medical directives), and other succession planning documents. In addition, Elizabeth is a member of the Special Needs Alliance - an inviation-only nationwide attorney organization. 

Speaker: Barbara Mardigian, LPC, has worked in the field of addiction since 1997. She received her Master’s degree from The Medical College of Virginia (MCV/VCU) in Rehabilitation Counseling, specializing in Drug and Alcohol Education in 1997. She became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in 2004. She has worked in a variety of settings including Intensive Outpatient, Residential, private practice and with the first Health Professional Monitoring Program in Virginia as the Director of Intake Services. Most recently as the Executive Director of an Intensive Outpatient treatment facility in Richmond. She worked for the Farley Center from 2010-2016 as a lead clinician in their professionals program, having experience working with lawyers, physicians and CEO’s as well as high ranking military individuals. She has been with Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program since September 2019 as the Deputy Clinical Director.


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