Age-old desire: Elder law expert seeks justice for seniors


By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Attorney Nancy Nawrocki, of the Nawrocki Center for Elder and Family Law in Brighton, found inspiration for her legal career in a rather unusual way.

"I became concerned with aging in this country while working as a teacher in high school completion programs centered in nursing homes," says Nawrocki, the first woman president of the Presbytery of Detroit in 2005. "Yes, if you go to nursing homes you will see that it's not just old folks living and receiving treatment in nursing homes.

"Resolution of my concerns about aging resulted in my determination to go to law school and serve my clients as they age in place."

Nawrocki, who received her bachelor's degree in history from Oakland University, earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School, and her LL.M in Elder Law from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla. She also helps law students in this area of practice, as a trustee of the Cooley Law School Sixty Plus clinic in Lansing where students, supervised by instructors who are practicing attorneys, meet the legal needs of citizens over the age of 60 who have limited income.

A founding member of the Senior Justice Committee of the State Bar of Michigan, Nawrocki continues to serve as a member of the Elder Law and Advocacy Section, Family Law Section and Probate Law Section; and was the consulting attorney for the Livingston County Older Adult Legal Program from 1988 until its dissolution in 1996.

Nawrocki, who has published articles on Elder Law in the Michigan Bar Journal and Idaho State Bar Advocate, conducts frequent free seminars on elder law at various Livingston County Senior Citizens Centers, and at other sites, and conducts family law seminars for the Women's Resource Center.

As a long-standing member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, she maintains expertise in legal and financial issues that affect older people, such as estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, Medicare and Medicaid planning, nursing home placement and standard of care issues, guardianship and conservatorship, and probate issues. Her practice also encompasses family law, estate planning, trusts, probate, and real estate law.

Nawrocki, who was recognized as a county leader in 1997, and in 2005 was elected to the Michigan Women's Roll of Honor for Livingston County, is active in the community especially in activities related to senior citizens and families.

She served on the board of the Women's Resource Center of Howell, and as co-chair of the Advisory Board of the Livingston County Hospice in Howell from 1996 to 2004. She also has served as an elected trustee of the Cromaine District Library in Hartland.

Nawrocki was the keynote speaker at an educational conference in mid-August for single parents hosted by the Ann Arbor Chapter and the Huron Valley Regional Council of Parents Without Partners (PWP) with chapters in Ann Arbor, Wayne-Westland, Monroe and Flint. In her talk, "Wills and Trusts," she discussed revocable trusts, durable health care power of attorney, and how to protect homes and savings.

A longtime Hartland resident, Nawrocki and her husband Paul have three children and multiple children who are exchange students from around the world; they are hosting an exchange student from Brazil for the coming school year.

As for her hobbies and interests, "I collect Dedham pottery and everyone who knows me knows that I'm a Barry Manilow groupie," she says with a smile.

Published: Fri, Aug 26, 2011