As the aging-adult population continues to rise in New Hanover, Brunswick, and the surrounding counties, so has the need for experts who concentrate on protecting their rights. The questions surrounding aging do not have simple answers, and the legal needs of seniors often involve legal, ﬁnancial, personal, social, psychological, and medical components.
Elder Law and Life Care Planning attorney, 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, Ms. 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.
Ms. Levy Payne received her Master’s degree from Columbia University and her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from Brooklyn Law School. She then pursued and received a Master of Laws degree in Elder Law from Stetson University’s Center for Excellence in Elder Law, located in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. Stetson University College of Law is a national leader in Elder Law and hosts conferences attended by leading lawyers and experts.
Ms. Levy Payne’s focus on elder rights extends beyond the clients she represents and into the development of the public policies and advocacy efforts affecting seniors’ quality of life. She is committed to her community, clearly illustrated by her service to many organizations focused on Elder Care. Ms. Levy Payne has served on the Board of Directors of Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc., (BSRI), the preeminent provider of services to senior adults in Brunswick County. 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. Ms. 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 Ms. 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. Ms. Levy Payne currently serves as a Board of Directors member for Health Possible Inc. Health Possible is a 3-year-old non-profit providing financial aid and grants to those in need of fitness, mental health, and nutrition but cannot afford it. This is in perfect alignment with our holistic approach to aging in this second half of life and optimizing brain and physical health and our awareness of the importance of overall well-being as we age. She also serves on the Wealth Counsel of North Carolina Forum Board of Directors.
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 guardianship in North Carolina. Ms. Levy Payne is a founding member of the National Alliance of Attorneys for Alzheimer’s Planning (“NA3P”). NA3P is a new non-profit sponsored by Julieann Steinbacher, founder of Leading Lawyers on Estate & Long Term Care Planning attorney master-mind group, of which Ms. Levy Payne is also a member. NA3P is the first organization of its kind and is hyper-focused on bringing much-needed resources and services to the general public; patients afflicted with the disease of Alzheimer’s and related dementias; and their caregivers. NA3P hopes to bring awareness to the research, experience, and exploration into the disease for both patients, family members, and caregivers.
Ms. Levy Payne is a certified mediator through the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. To receive this certification as a mediator, Helayne has met stringent threshold criteria relating to her education and work experience, completed at least 40 hours of mediation training, and completed the requisite number of observations by observing other excellent mediators through District 5 Family Court in New Hanover and Pender counties. She uses this certification to better serve families within her practice avoid costly litigation and instead resolve family disputes through the mediation process, preserving family relationships and money.
As an Elder Law Attorney, Ms. Levy Payne saw the growing need for advanced planning for those facing cognitive decline in southeastern coastal North Carolina and began developing the skills needed to better assist our community. In addition to her other training and experience to better serve those living with dementia and their caregivers, Ms. Levy Payne 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).
She 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. Ms. Levy Payne 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 able to be read or viewed in under two hours and offer practical advice on exactly what one needs to do when faced with a diagnosis.
Ms. Levy Payne married the love of her life, Col. Wayne James Payne, USMC (Ret.) on June 9, 2018. She 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 Ms. Levy Payne to North Carolina and now live in Wilmington as well.
Ms. Levy Payne is admitted to practice law in both North Carolina and New York.
Read more about her personal journey HERE.