Michael R. Couture, President

Michael Couture is a partner of Vidoli Couture, LLP, a law firm in Somerville, Massachusetts, that specializes in elder law, special needs counseling, estate and disability planning, probate, guardianships and conservatorships, and estate and trust administration. Attorney Couture frequently represents claimants before various public agencies, including Social Security, MassHealth, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Department of Mental Health (DMH), and local housing authorities. Michael is also a certified representative with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Couture is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and served on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Chapter (MassNAELA) from 2014 to 2019 and elected as vice president in 2022. He is also a frequent lecturer and speaker at educational seminars and informational workshops on estate planning issues.

He has also been named a Rising Star since 2016 and a Super Lawyer since 2019 as recognized by Boston Magazine. He is a graduate of Arizona State University and received his Juris Doctor degree at Suffolk University Law School. – https://www.vcelderlaw.com/attorney/couture-michael-r/

Abigail V. Poole, Immediate Past President

Abigail V. Poole is an Associate who joined Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC in April 2015. Prior to joining the firm, Attorney Poole practiced in Raynham, Massachusetts at Oalican Law Group, LLC and worked at Fraga Law Office as a paralegal. She received her law degree from New England School of Law and her B.A. cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in psychology.

Attorney Poole focuses her practice in estate planning, probate administration, trust administration, prenuptial agreements, and elder law. She is committed to providing compassionate and individualized estate planning services to her clients ranging from 18 to 96. Attorney Poole is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Women’s Bar Association Massachusetts Chapter, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Erin McBee, President-Elect

Erin McBee is licensed to practice in both Texas and Massachusetts and operates a small firm in Harvard, Massachusetts. Her practiced is focused on holistic estate planning (incorporating long range planning for incapacity, special needs, and long term care), along with probate and trust administration.

Erin earned her Juris Doctor from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating cum laude. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and in Government from the University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Erin is a member of the Boston Estate Planning Council, Massachusetts Bar Association, Worcester County Bar Association, and Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), for which she serves on the Publications Committee and the Board of Directors.

Erin also serves on the Town of Harvard’s Select Board and has served her community on other boards and committees in town over the years.

In her free time, Erin exploring new foods, coffee shops and restaurants with her family.

Gina M. Barry, Vice President

Attorney Gina M. Barry, who is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Connecticut, is a partner with the regional law firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C.  She graduated cum laude from Western New England College School of Law, where she served as the Articles Editor of the Western New England Law Review.  In addition to being a board member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, she is also a board member of Western Massachusetts Elder Care Professionals Association and a member of the Women Business Owners Alliance.  Ms. Barry served as the President of the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County from 2013-2014, and is the current President of The Joy of Jasper, a non-profit horse sanctuary she founded in July of 2007.  Beginning in 2013 and each year to date, she has been named as a Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine, after having been recognized as a Rising Star for several years.  Ms. Barry has also received additional awards and recognition as follows: Distinguished Alumni of Holyoke Community College (2015); Woman of Influence by the Women Business Owners Alliance (2015); Visionary Achievement Award from Western Mass Women’s Magazine (2014); one of the Top Five Business Women in Western Mass by Western Mass Women’s Magazine (2010); one of Forty Under Forty by Business West (2009); Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of America (2008), and Business Woman of the Year by the Women Business Owners Alliance (2005).  Ms. Barry is a frequent lecturer and published author in her field.  Ms. Barry practices in Estate Planning, including Estate Planning for Pets, Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning, Elder Law, Probate and Trust Administration, Guardianships, Conservatorships, and Residential Real Estate.

Steven F. Mann, Treasurer

Steven F. Mann, Esquire,  is in private practice in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he practices in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate and income taxation and probate administration.  Steve is a CPA as well as an attorney.  He is a graduate of Suffolk University School of Law and received his MBA from the Suffolk University School of Management.  He received a BS in Accountancy and a BS in Public Administration, both from Bentley College. He has been a member of NAELA since 1992.

Ashley Y. Aubuchon, Clerk

Attorney Ashley Y. Aubuchon is a partner with Rosenberg, Freedman & Lee’s Estate Planning and Elder and Disability Law Group. Prior to joining Rosenberg, Freedman & Lee, Ashley worked as an attorney at Oalican Law Group and Cohen & Oalican. She received her law degree from New England School of Law and her B.A. cum laude from Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, where she majored in psychology. Ashley has worked in the elder law field since 2009 and focuses her practice on Medicaid planning, estate planning, and estate administration. Ashley is a frequent speaker at nursing homes, councils on aging, and financial institutions, on various topics, including estate planning and asset protection planning.

Paul J. Bella, Director

Paul J. Bella is an associate attorney at the Law Office of Lane, Lane & Kelly in Braintree, MA. Paul works in the firm’s Estate Planning and Probate Practice Group. He received his law degree from Suffolk University Law School, where he gained experience in the health law clinic representing low-income clients who could not afford legal assistance in Guardianship and Social Security matters. Prior to working for Lane, Lane & Kelly, Paul worked in Boston-area law firms focusing primarily on Trust and Estate matters, along with Guardianship and Conservatorship cases. Paul currently focuses his practice on estate planning, Medicaid planning, estate administration, guardianships, and conservatorships. https://llklaw.com/

Faith E. Delaney, Director

Attorney Faith E. Delaney runs her elder law practice in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where she works with individuals and families in the areas of estate planning, Medicaid planning, MassHealth (Medicaid) applications for nursing home placements, guardianships and conservatorships, probate administration, and special needs trusts.

Faith Delaney also serves as trustee of special needs trusts, and as guardian and durable power of attorney for elderly and disabled persons who need assistance and serves as guardian ad litem for various probate matters.

Attorney Faith E. Delaney is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She is a graduate of Northeastern Law School. Faith is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Massachusetts, and is a board member for the New Hampshire Chapter of NAELA, and member of the Massachusetts Bar Association. She also volunteers for the Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport, MA and is secretary of the North Shore Cycling Group. https://www.faithdelaneylaw.com/

Whitney Gagnon, Director

Whitney is a director at the law firm of McLane Middleton in the Trusts & Estates Department. She focuses her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs law, and probate and trust administration. Whitney advises individuals and families and assists in establishing comprehensive estate plans. Whitney’s estate planning practice ranges from preparing foundation estate plans for young families to designing and implementing complex plans that incorporate sophisticated estate, gift, income, and generation skipping transfer tax strategies. Whitney counsels clients in relation to the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Medicaid laws and prepares plans to achieve clients’ estate planning and long-term care planning objectives. She also works with individuals with special needs and their families to develop plans to provide for the individual’s supplemental needs and enhance the individual’s quality of life. Whitney represents clients in probate court matters including estate settlement, trust administration, and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. Whitney received a dual Bachelor of Art in Political Science and Justice Studies, cum laude, from the University of New Hampshire and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from New England Law | Boston. She works primarily in the firm’s Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Woburn, Massachusetts offices.

E. Spencer Ghazey-Bates, Director

Attorney Ghazey-Bates specializes in elder law, often meeting with both the elders and their children, assisting with financial planning and guidance to secure family assets in the event that an individual needs nursing home care.  Attorney Ghazey-Bates guides families through asset preservation strategies, provides guidance as to available care options, and assists in the preparation of benefit applications.  http://www.ggbpc.com/

Kimberly L. Kelly, Director

Kimberly L. Kelly received her law degree from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts and her undergraduate degree from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Upon graduating from law school, she clerked for one year for the Probate and Family Court, serving Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk Counties, and in this role, she worked directly with several of the Judges and became familiar with the policies and procedures of the Probate and Family Court. She maintains an active membership with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Massachusetts Bar Association, and Essex County Bar Association. She is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Attorney Kelly has been practicing law for 19 years, concentrating her practice in Guardianships, Conservatorships, Probate/Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Trust Administration, MassHealth Planning, and Residential Real Estate Services. In 2010 she opened her own solo-law practice in Stoneham, Massachusetts. In 2016 grew her firm by forming a partnership with two other attorneys. www.kimberlykellylaw.com

Alexis Levitt, Director

Attorney Alexis Levitt focuses her practice on four closely related and highly specialized areas of the law: elder law, special needs planning, estate planning and Veterans Benefits. Attorney Levitt has been practicing in these areas for over seventeen years and has owned her own firm for fifteen years. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and her J.D. from Vermont Law School. She is also a VA-accredited attorney. http://www.alexislevitt.com

Paula A. Nedder, Director

Attorney Paula A. Nedder is the founding member of Nedder Law, LLC, with offices located in Milford and Westborough, Massachusetts. Her practice areas include Elder Law, estate planning for all ages, probate, and criminal law. In addition to being licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, Paula is admitted to the Federal Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar.

Paula is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, is on the board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and a recipient of the Chapter’s 2011 Member of the Year Award. Paula is also on the board of MetroWest Legal Services which provides free, civil legal representation to low-income residents and victims of crimes who live in the metro west area and who would otherwise be denied justice.

Paula is a member of the Bar Association of Norfolk County and is a former Assistant District Attorney for Norfolk County, where she was recognized for her service to the Office and the people of Norfolk County for her prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

She is a speaker at assisted living facilities, senior centers and radio programs on topics that concern our elder community.

Debra Silberstein, Director

Debra Silberstein is considered one of the leading experts in family and elder law and has guided inter-generational families through philanthropic planning for over 25 years. Her practice focuses on trusts and estates, family philanthropic planning, tax-related matters and family and elder law.

In philanthropic planning, Debra helps clients and their families enhance and expand their networks, minimize taxes, and align their estate plans with their philanthropic values. Her position in the field is unique, as she specializes in planning for multiple generations within one family, with some clients spanning from grandparents to grandchildren lines.

With a law degree and a doctorate degree in social policy and philanthropy, Debra is a pioneer and advocate in the lives of elders and families – especially those with special needs children. She is a tireless advocate for the elderly and others whose special needs and circumstances are often ignored or overlooked. Her practice involves helping elders and their families plan for their future and for the needs of their children or relatives with disabilities and related challenges. Practices Trusts & Estates Education J.D., Hofstra University School of Law Ph.D., Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis College B.A., Syracuse University Admissions Massachusetts

Debra was instrumental in developing a senior tax voucher program – through her decade-long work on her town’s Council on Aging – which has helped senior citizens “age in place” and stay in their homes over the past 20 years. The program became a model for other municipalities that have since instituted similar “age in place” programs. Debra has co-authored numerous amicus briefs on behalf of varying non-profit organizations to support public policy changes and initiatives on related elder law and health care matters
Prior to joining Burns & Levinson in 2016, Debra was in private practice for more than 25 years. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2018 Powley Elder Law Award given by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and was named a 2022 “Family/Elder Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal.

Outside of attorney commitments, Debra has held numerous board and leadership positions. She served as chair of the Lawrence General Hospital Board of Trustees and was also appointed to the American Hospital Association Board of Governors. She serves on the Board of Visitors at McLean Hospital. Debra currently serves on the Planned Giving Advisory Council for the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia and has served as a consultant to the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at the Heller School at Brandeis University. Debra also serves on the Board of the Anti-Defamation League, New England.

Clarence Darrow Richardson, Jr., Executive Director

Clarence has served as the Executive Director of MassNAELA since 2018. Prior to becoming Executive Director he practiced elder law at the Law Offices of Timothy R. Loff for several years.

When Clarence learned of elder law he knew that he was meant to practice in this area. When he was fourteen his father had a severe stroke and was suddenly left disabled and unable to speak. Clarence’s mother, who had her own health issues, became his father’s primary caregiver overnight. For the next several years he and his mother struggled to care for his father at home, because they did not know what resources were available or how to obtain them.

Clarence is passionate about serving the members of MassNAELA, so that they can assist families like his, and educate the residents of the Commonwealth about the programs and resources available for individuals who are aging, have special needs, or are dealing with other health issues.