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Attorney Carol J. Wessels has been practicing elder law since 1994. She is currently the owner of Wessels LAw Office LLC in Mequon, Wisconsin
Carol has been recognized as the Milwaukee "Elder Law Attorney of the Year" for 2014 by Best Lawyers publication. She has also been selected as one of the Top 50 Attorneys in Wisconsin and Top 25 Women Attorneys in Wisconsin for 2013 (the current year) by Super Lawyers publication. She was also recognized by the Wisconsin Law Journal as a "Leader in the Law" in 2013. She was also recognized by the Wisconsin Law Journal as a "Leader in the Law" in 2013.
She concentrates her practice on senior citizens and disabled persons, and their legal needs. Her areas of practice include advance directives and powers of attorney, psychiatric advance directives, Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, guardianship and probate. She is accredited by the Veterans Administration to handle cases involving Veterans’ benefits. She also represents victims of elder abuse in court cases to recover money or property that has been taken by a trusted person such as a power of attorney agent or a trustee. She handles contested litigation cases including defense of guardianships and other guardianship issues, appeals and fair hearings in Medicaid and Family Care cases, elder rights, probate, and other court cases.
Carol graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988. Before going into private practice, she served as the Director of the SeniorLAW program at Legal Action of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, providing legal services to Milwaukee residents over 60, and supervising the benefit specialists in Southeastern Wisconsin. Carol also was a staff attorney at the Elder Law Center of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.
Carol lectures frequently on elder and disability law issues to audiences of all types. Carol and her senior dog, Jake, were featured on WISN Channel 12 news in November, 2012 in a segment on Estate Planning for Pets. Click here to watch the segment. She also appeared on The Dr. Phil Show in 2005 as an expert on legal issues involving people with mental illness. (Click here for a link to the segment on this show.) Carol has authored or co-authored publications including The "Independent Living" Eviction in Subsidized Housing, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Quarterly Journal, Summer 2002; Treated with Respect: Enforcing Patient Autonomy by Defending Advance Directives , Spring 2005 Marquette Elder’s Advisor Journal; Senior Citizens and the Law, Center for Public Representation, Inc. (7th edition 1995); Advising Older Clients and Their Families, Housing and Medicaid Chapters, State Bar of Wisconsin (1997); Wisconsin Practice Series Methods of Practice, 4th ed., Guardianship Chapter update, West Publishing (2007), Adding Veterans Benefits to Your Practice, NAELA News, Vol. 22 #5 (2010), Be Careful What You Ask For…Why a Finding that Alzheimer’s is a Mental Illness Would Bring the Probate Courts to a Grinding Halt, Elder Law Journal of Wisconsin, Vol. 21, #4 (2011).
Carol is a former chair of the State Bar of Wisconsin's Elder Law Section Board of Directors and former chair of the Public Interest Law Section. She is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and is a past president of the Wisconsin NAELA Chapter board. She was co-selected as one of two WINAELA Chapter Members of the Year in 2013. She was chosen by her peers as a Super Lawyer in 2006-2012 and recognized in Best Lawyers in America in 2010 - 2012. She has been listed as one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Wisconsin by the Super Lawyer peer review process in 2012, 13 and 14. She was recognized in Super Lawyers as among the Top 50 Attorneys in Wisconsin in 2013 and 2014, and among the Top 25 Attorneys in Milwaukee in 2014. She is a Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.
Carol is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer's Association Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter.
Drafting and enforcing health care powers of attorney, living wills, medical authorizations, financial powers of attorney, and other advance directives.
Wills, trusts, living trusts, non-probate transfers, beneficiary designations, planning for retirement benefits.
ESTATE & GIFT TAX PLANNING
Life insurance and other irrevocable trusts, gifting, charitable gift planning including charitable remainder trusts.
LONG TERM CARE, MEDICAID PLANNING & DISABILITY PLANNING
Medicaid planning (also called “Title 19” or “medical assistance”) including spousal impoverishment; Family Care; special needs trusts and community trusts; Social Security, SSI, Medicare, nursing home and home care issues, estate recovery.
Advice and litigation for victims of financial abuse.
PROBATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION
GUARDIANSHIP, PROTECTIVE PLACEMENT & CONSERVATORSHIP