As the aging-adult population continues to rise in New Hanover, Brunswick, and the surrounding counties, so has the need for advocates and trusted guides whose focus is solely on the challenges faced in the second half of life. The questions surrounding aging do not have simple answers, and the needs of seniors often involve legal, ﬁnancial, personal, social, psychological, and medical components.
Elder Law and Life Care Planning attorney, Mrs. Helayne Levy Payne, elevated her level of service to older adults to handle the complexities of aging by pursuing an advanced law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 2010 and graduating with her Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Elder Law in 2012. In 2014, Mrs. Levy Payne founded the Elder Law & Life Care Planning Center, the first in the State of North Carolina to become a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, an organization dedicated to supporting law ﬁrms that practice this innovation in Elder Law called, "Life Care Planning." She and her team are passionate about advocating for aging adults in our community. They “walk the walk,” dedicating their professional and personal lives to furthering causes and efforts that make differences in the lives of aging adults.
Most recently, Helayne Levy Payne has been selected “Super Lawyer” for the second year in a row for years 2020 and 2021, a coveted designation with a rigorous selection process conducted by Thomson Reuters research team, as one out of only eight Elder Law practitioners in the entire State of North Carolina. Super Lawyers is a Thomson Reuters rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.
Happy clients are ultimately what makes a law firm grow fast. Her firm made the impressive “Law Firm 500” list of top-ranking, fasted-growing law practices in the nation for 2020. Mrs. Levy Payne’s firm ranked in the top 24% of fastest growing firms in the nation.
The Elder Law & Life Care Planning Center is a dementia-aware practice. In addition to her other training and experience to better serve those living with dementia and their caregivers, Helayne became a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and Certified Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT) through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP).
Helayne is a certified mediator through the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. Her goal is to guide families away from the expense and stress of adversarial litigation, and, instead, toward a more cost-effective and collaborative approach in which disputing families can reach consensus and unification within the principles and spirit of the more progressive “transformative” style of mediation.
She has been elected by her fellow colleagues to serve on the North Carolina Chapter of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the North Carolina Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Council, and the NAELA North Carolina Chapter’s Advocacy Committee. She is a member of Leading Lawyers on Estate & Long-Term Care Planning. Mrs. Levy Payne has served as a committee member for the Council of Governments Cape Fear Area Agency on Aging Elder Abuse Prevention Network. Wilmington’s Mayor William Saffo appointed Mrs. Levy Payne to serve on the Board of Commissioners for the Wilmington Housing Authority, where she contributed her understanding of the specific issues affecting older adults to advance the affordable housing options available to older adult community members.
Helayne currently serves on the Wealth Counsel North Carolina Forum Board of Directors as Secretary. Her most recent advocacy efforts include serving as a lawyer-participant in North Carolina’s statewide Interdisciplinary Workgroup, Rethinking Guardianship, which is funded by a grant through the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities and focused on the pressing public policy issues as they apply to improving the guardianship process in North Carolina. Helayne is a founding member of the National Alliance of Attorneys for Alzheimer’s Planning (“NA3P”).
Helayne recently authored and adapted two books, You’re Not Alone: Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and You’re Not Alone: Living as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver and is in the process of preparing for the release of her newest book, You’re Not Alone: Living with Dementia. These books are designed to serve as a guide for those recently diagnosed with cognitive impairment, and their caregivers, to better cope, prepare, and protect themselves. These books are designed to be read in under two hours and offer practical advice on exactly what one needs to do when faced with a diagnosis.
Helayne is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She married the love of her life, Col. Wayne James Payne, USMC (Ret.) on June 9, 2018 and lives with her son, Aaron, her daughter, Samantha, their dog-child, Bull, and their cat, Medusa, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her parents, Dr. Benjamin and Linda Levy, die-hard New Yorkers, followed Helayne to North Carolina and now live in Wilmington, as well. Her brother lives in New Jersey with his wife and family.
Helayne Levy Payne is admitted to practice law in both North Carolina and New York.