What types of legal matters do you handle?
The focus of my practice is “planning to age well.” I help individuals and families who are in the process of planning for retirement and beyond, as well as those families who have an aging loved one who needs help planning for alternative living arrangements, including long-term care.
Planning to age well can encompass a wide variety of legal needs. From a basic estate plan to ensure peace of mind as one ages, to more advanced estate planning in anticipation of requiring Medicaid coverage for long-term care, to navigating the Medicaid application process, to seeking a guardianship or conservatorship for an incapacitated loved one, planning in our aging years can look quite different from one person to another, depending on what is needed.
I discovered a passion for the aging population while working as a speech-language pathologist in skilled nursing facilities. I treasured the time spent talking with my patients and listening to their stories and wisdom. What I discovered was that many of them and their families were struggling with complicated legal issues and decisions surrounding their care. Seeing this need, I felt called to serve aging individuals and their families as an attorney.
What is your philosophy about estate planning?
My philosophy is that every human being in America needs at least a basic estate plan. Further, a basic estate plan should be considered the start of everybody’s plan to age well. After all, we are all aging!
I resist using the term “elder law” to describe my practice, as I do not think smart planning as we age begins with or is only confined to “elders.” Moreover, the term can carry a stigma for the population I seek to serve. Aging individuals are facing many of the same challenges younger individuals often face. Finally, our firm seeks to avoid any term or method of communication that comes across as “slick” or gimmicky. With our philosophy that estate planning is a lifelong process with no cookie-cutter answers, we seek to serve our clients as the individuals they are by meeting their individual needs. What works for one person won’t always work for the next.
How do you see your role as an attorney?
My role as an attorney is to give honest and practical advice to my clients that will help them achieve their goals. This includes being responsive to their questions, communicating clearly, and empathetically helping them approach the challenges they are facing. I also prioritize the counseling aspect to our profession. While my most obvious role is to serve clients by handling their legal needs, I also strive to take the extra step to help whenever I can, even if it does not directly pertain to the practice of law.
What are your qualifications?
I am intimately familiar with skilled nursing facilities and other alternative living arrangements due to my work in that setting for several years as a speech-language pathologist. Clients with loved ones facing medical challenges often appreciate my ability to guide them through the process of hospitalization, to rehab stay at a skilled nursing facility, to planning for discharge, even though much of this process is not strictly “legal work.”
I practiced for a year at a large Birmingham law firm in its creditors’ rights and bankruptcy group before joining Carney Dye. Over the past year, I have handled cases in the areas of estate planning, probate administration, guardianships/conservatorships, business succession planning, Medicaid applications, and trust drafting and administration.
I received my law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D., 2010) and graduated from Vanderbilt University (B.A., 2007, summa cum laude) with an undergraduate degree in English and Communication Studies. I also have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Maryland.
Tell me more about your background.
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended Mountain Brook High School. I am an Eagle Scout and was a (proud) debate team nerd in high school. My passions include cooking, running, endurance sports, and listening to podcasts. I have completed several marathons and triathlons and am currently training for a Half Ironman in Chattanooga.
I am married to my wife Mattie Coats Gaskin. We attend Highlands United Methodist Church, where I currently serve as the Young Adult group leader. Mattie and I are the proud parents of our cat, Stella.« Back to Attorneys Page