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Glenn Erb

OUT-OF-STATE CONCERNS NO PROBLEM FOR AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD LAWYER... I’ve never met a lawyer like Kelly Shovelin. She’s friendly, honest, helpful, and she immediately returns every single one of my calls!

After suffering a stroke, my mother required full-time nursing care. My son, who lives in Wilmington, NC, suggested that I contact Kelly for assistance with getting my mother qualified for Medicaid. Kelly took me by the hand and walked me through everything I needed to do. She outlined the documents I needed to gather; the phone calls I should make; and the people I should contact. My mother’s case was particularly difficult because she had lived and done business in another state. That didn’t stop Kelly; she was able to refer me to lawyers in my mother’s home state of Kentucky who did their share to help. I really appreciated Kelly’s ability to explain exactly what’s going on in laymen’s terms; she helped me to understand my mother’s rights and options so that we could make informed decisions.

Kelly works on a flat fee basis. We paid one price for her services upfront, and she never asked me for another dime. Yet, her line was always open, and she returned every phone call I ever made to her. She even went above and beyond the call of duty, helping in ways I didn’t expect. For example, when my mother’s insurance company refused to pay a benefit for which she was clearly eligible, Kelly stepped in and wrote a letter that quickly righted the situation. That letter alone recovered six weeks of boarding costs during my mother’s rehabilitation treatments.

There’s just one last thing. I said “I’ve never met a lawyer like Kelly”, but the truth is we haven’t actually met in person! My mother and I both live in Greensboro, NC, which is about 200 miles from the Four Pillars Law Firm headquarters in Wilmington, NC. All of my communication with Kelly has been on the telephone and via email. Yet, through every step of the process, it felt like she was right here, “in my corner”.

Betty Ann Myers Cook

THOROUGH, THOUGHTFUL APPROACH SAVED THOUSANDS . . . My brother was working as a college professor in Savannah, GA, when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. While convalescing at our home after surgery and treatments, he hemorrhaged and was rushed to the ICU, where he remained in a coma for a considerable amount of time. Paralyzed from the waist down, he required full-time nursing care from that moment on.

As you can imagine, this was a very stressful time for me and my family. As we dealt with my brother’s physical needs, we were also faced with the task of putting his business and legal affairs in order. My brother did not have a will and had not yet started any form of estate planning. Furthermore, since he was unable to work, he now required independent health insurance.

I attended a meeting where Kelly Shovelin co-presented with another lawyer. I was immediately impressed by Kelly’s presence. I sought her out to help me with my brother’s situation. Thankfully, my brother’s mental abilities had not been affected by his medical trauma, so Kelly went to the nursing home where my brother resided and spent a considerable amount of time getting to know him personally. She seemed completely unrushed and showed a tremendous human compassion toward him. They had a good rapport, and he found Kelly to be “just wonderful”. I couldn’t agree more.

Kelly removed a tremendous burden from my shoulders at a very difficult time. She was so thorough! For example, Kelly took it upon herself to research all of the different insurance programs for which my brother was eligible. She analyzed them and made recommendations on which policies she felt would best suit his needs. Likewise, when we sold my brother’s home in Georgia, she made herself readily available by phone to ensure a smooth and legally correct transaction.

Throughout his illness, my brother was an angel. He never lost his smile or his sense of humor. As for Kelly, I believe that she was also heaven-sent. It is so very refreshing to see someone of her caliber in the legal profession. To me, she represents a good example of what a lawyer should be. She has done an excellent job by my brother and by me. After putting my brother’s estate in order, I enlisted Kelly’s services for my own estate planning and asset protection needs. I have every confidence in Kelly and have enthusiastically recommended her to my friends who have also been pleased with her work. She is a lawyer of great knowledge and integrity, and in my book, she is “the ultimate!”

Steve Hill

FIXED FEES AND FLEXIBLE SERVICE: A WINNING COMBINATION . . . Imagine a lawyer who is so caring, she drives out of her way on a weekend trip to make a “house call” at no extra charge! That’s just one of the extraordinary things Kelly Shovelin did to help me and my mother, who is unable to travel because of her health.

My daughter recommended Kelly when I needed to do some personal estate planning. Kelly immediately impressed me. Not only does she have a vast knowledge of her field, she communicates her expertise in a way that makes perfect sense.

Around the same time that Kelly was helping me plan my own estate, my mother asked me to take over her finances because her health no longer permitted her to handle her affairs independently. I was very concerned to discover that my mother was experiencing a steady and substantial depreciation in her assets while incurring the substantial costs of in-home care.

Kelly conducted a thorough review of my mother’s estate (based on planning my mother had done with another lawyer), and uncovered several ineffective strategies and omissions. For example, we were not aware that as the spouse of a veteran, my mother was eligible for VA benefits. Kelly clearly explained the steps we needed to take to apply for benefits that would defray the cost of an at-home caregiver. This assistance alone has more than paid for Kelly’s services. In fact, at this writing, my mother has received benefits three times greater than the flat-fee invoice from Four Pillars Law Firm.

I really appreciated Kelly’s willingness to communicate directly with my mother’s other professional advisors. Knowing that Kelly was overseeing the people responsible for moving assets and performing other financial transactions freed me and my family to focus on what was truly important…my mother’s wellbeing.
When Mom needed to review and sign documents necessary for the VA application, Kelly made special arrangements for an in-house visit since my mother’s health does not permit her to travel. Kelly had regularly amazed me with her prompt communication and her excellent written and verbal skills, but this generous act topped everything!

I cannot say enough about my appreciation for Kelly; her advice and guidance have been invaluable to me and my family. Kelly took what seemed like a million pieces to an unsolvable puzzle, and put them together in a way that creates a complete picture. What I see is an exceptional professional and a kind individual with our best interests as her priority!

Emily Hill

SPENDING DOWN AND LOOKING UP: KEEPING MEDICAID BENEFITS AND PERSONAL ASSETS . . . My 89-year-old mother and I assumed responsibility for the care of my first cousin following a death in our family. Years prior, my cousin had suffered a stroke, leaving him with disabilities that required full-time nursing care. My cousin had been a long-time Medicaid recipient, but was at risk of losing his benefits due to his inheritance. The rules and requirements surrounding Medicaid coverage are a complex maze we were not equipped to navigate alone.

We turned to Kelly Shovelin, based on the recommendation of an attorney-friend who knew of her expertise in this field. Kelly reviewed my cousin’s personal situation and made recommendations that were critical to protecting his interests and reducing the amount of time he would be ineligible for Medicaid. For example, Kelly explained the “spend-down process”, recommending that we pre-pay for our cousin’s funeral so that this need could be met before his assets were completely liquidated due to his Medicaid ineligibility.

Because Kelly understands the intricacies of elder law, she acted as a liaison between Medicaid and our family, relieving us of a tremendous burden. Furthermore, she advised us on how to take measures that were at once beneficial to my cousin and appropriate to the legal and ethical constructs of the Medicaid system.

Most importantly, Kelly was sensitive to our family and its relationships, treating all of us with dignity and respect. Her kindness and patience with my cousin, who has difficulty communicating due to his stroke, still moves me to tears.

Thanks to Kelly’s expertise in her field, her strong communication skills, and her personal sensitivity, I will use her services again and recommend her to anyone faced with similar circumstances.

Graylynn Thrift

A FAMILY AFFAIR: NAVIGATING LEGAL ISSUES AND FAMILY DYNAMICS . . . My parents have reached that unwelcomed stage in life where health issues have compromised their personal safety. When our family made the difficult decision to admit our mother to a nursing home for ‘round-the-clock care, we knew that we would need the assistance of an attorney to wade through the complicated paperwork and procedures.

My father, my brother, and I initially met with Kelly Shovelin who earned our complete confidence, both professionally and personally. Kelly led us through the arduous process of getting my mother qualified for Medicaid and admitted to a nursing facility. She also worked with our family estate planning attorney and financial advisor to ensure that all parties were “on the same page” regarding my mother’s asset protection plan and that the powers of attorney provided proper authority for my brother and I to act in my parents’ best interests regarding health, financial and legal matters. Currently, Kelly is helping us navigate through the process of revoking my father’s driving license to protect his safety and the safety of others.

As an out-of-state resident who has spent a considerable amount of time traveling between my home and my parents’ home during this recent time of crisis, I am especially grateful for Kelly’s responsive and empathetic communication. She is warm and personable, and she always makes herself readily available to me and my family. In fact, Kelly is the kind of person I would like to have as a friend; and--believe me--that level of comfort is paramount when simultaneously handling delicate family dynamics and complicated legal matters.

Kelly Shovelin replaced our feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty as to how to safeguard our parents’ wellbeing with peace of mind and confidence that we have taken every necessary precaution to ensure their comfort and safety.

Peter Saffo

STATISTICS SAY A HAPPY CUSTOMER WILL TELL 3 OTHER PEOPLE, BUT WE’VE TOLD DOZENS! . . . When my mother-in-law fell sick and required full-time nursing care, my wife (an only child) and I stepped in to help manage her estate. Our attorney, David Sneeden, recommended Kelly Shovelin for her expertise in elder law and long-term care planning. Kelly impressed us from the start— she was professional, sincere, and dedicated to protecting the assets and the interests of my wife’s mother. Kelly met with us at the nursing home and reviewed her recommendations with my mother-in-law. Just like a great doctor, Kelly’s bedside manner was impeccable; she listened attentively, explained clearly, and demonstrated genuine empathy and concern.

Whereas other attorneys charge a percentage on monies saved or recovered, Four Pillars Law Firm operates on a flat fee. The cost of services was fair, and we saw that money (and more) back as a result of Kelly’s efforts. A few years have passed since Kelly helped us with Medicaid planning and my mother-in-law’s estate administration, yet just recently I needed to call her to ask a follow-up question regarding the estate. Kelly answered my call promptly and took the same time and care addressing my concerns as if I were an active client.

I recommend Kelly Shovelin to others whenever I get the chance. To date, several people I know have engaged her services based on my endorsement. In fact, just the other day I saw one of the people I had referred to Kelly, and she thanked me profusely for such a great recommendation!

Bobby Ray Moore

FOUR PILLARS SAVED MY FARM . . . While attending a high school reunion, a trusted friend pulled me aside. “Bobby Ray”, he began, “I know you’re going through a tough time right now, and I want to tell you about someone who has helped my wife and me. I think she can help you too.” That’s how I learned about Kelly Shovelin. I had worked with my high school buddy at the same paper mill for more than 43 years. I trust and respect him, so I knew every good word he spoke about Kelly had to be true.
You see, my wife had been in and out of nursing homes for the past twelve years due to a series of health problems. I had worked hard my entire life to be self-sufficient and save enough for a modest retirement, but all of those steep health care bills had wiped out my savings. I had even cashed out a life insurance policy to pay for my wife’s residential care. Now, I was at risk of losing my farm, and I didn’t know what to do.
My daddy was a farmer. He bought a piece of land and started with nothing. He stumped it, grubbed it up, bought a tractor, and planted tobacco when I was a boy. I grew up farming and I taught my own boys to farm. In fact, one of my sons now farms the property that belonged to my father. I never learned to hunt, fish, or play golf, and I don’t travel. Farming has always been and still is my entire life. After losing my wife to a nursing home, and losing my life savings to long-term health care, I couldn’t imagine losing the farm too.
I contacted Kelly and she guided me through the steps I could take to save my property. She also acted as a mediator between me and Social Services, assisting with the Medicaid planning process and getting my wife qualified for benefits. I’ve had a tough time of it, but I’m thankful I still have my health, I still have my farm, and I have an ally in Kelly Shovelin. She has been an invaluable advisor and a blessing to me, helping me to navigate through terrain that was muddier than a Georgia pig farm.

Bette Parrett

FOUR PILLARS SUCCESSFULLY LED OUR BATTLE FOR VETERANS BENEFITS . . . When my father experienced a series of health problems that required hospitalization and short-term nursing care, my parents struggled with the burden of mounting healthcare costs. I asked several social workers at his medical facilities if there were resources to assist them with the financial strain the healthcare bills created. Every social worker I spoke to told me there was no help available.

Because my father’s illness impacted my parents’ financial outlook, we decided to do some planning. A distant relative highly recommended Kelly Shovelin and Four Pillars Law Firm. At the initial meeting with my mother and me, one of the very first questions Kelly asked was: “Is your father a veteran?” Yes. Her next question was: “Did he go to war?” My father served in the army on the front line during the Korean War. “Then he’s eligible for Veteran’s Benefits”, explained Kelly. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe that not a single social worker or healthcare representative had made us aware of this.

Kelly navigated us through the entire application process, and thank goodness she did. I can’t imagine how a senior citizen would ever make it through such an incredibly arduous process on his own! Even with Kelly’s expert guidance, it took seven months to get my father approved as a qualified veteran. Kelly knew to take every necessary precaution, and we were grateful for her foresight and thoroughness. She kept copies of every single document, always sending them via certified and registered mail, so she would be at the ready when the government asked us to fill out the same forms time and time again (and they did!).

My father now receives a monthly disability pension of (about two thousand dollars) per month to help defray the cost of his medical expenses. My parents’ relief in knowing they won’t be financially crippled by his ongoing medical costs—well, that’s priceless. I can’t imagine where they would be today if it weren’t for Kelly’s expertise. Although the application and approval process for Veteran’s Benefits is trying at best, Kelly was steadfast in her work. A patient, compassionate advocate for my father, she calmly and skillfully held the front line throughout a long administrative battle. My Dad says she deserves her own medal!

Frank G. Ahern

FOUR PILLARS RESPECTS FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP . . . I have the great fortune of being a part of a tight-knit family. My mother and her sister were very, very close. My aunt, who had no children of her own, has always held a prominent and special role in my life. Even after I relocated to the Wilmington area from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1996, we remained extremely close.
Six years ago, I accepted responsibility for my aunt’s legal and financial affairs when her husband died. Extremely organized, my aunt had received good legal counsel in Pennsylvania and had kept all of her documents current: a Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney, etc. My aunt has always been a strong, independent woman; she even resumed driving, after having not driven for 26 years, in order to do her shopping and get to doctors appointments. But, eventually a mini stroke created healthcare problems that made it unsafe for her to live on her own.
I was delighted when my aunt, currently 95 years “young,” took my suggestion to move from her lifelong home in Philadelphia to an assisted living facility here in Wilmington so that I would be close by and better able to help her. Concerned that her legal papers from Pennsylvania might not be valid for residency in North Carolina, I contacted the NC Bar Association with a request for a referral. They referred me to Kelly Shovelin, Esq. of Four Pillars Law Firm, a dedicated elder law expert.
I was immediately taken with Kelly’s communication skills and extensive knowledge of elder law. Kelly reviewed the documents drafted in Pennsylvania and made recommendations to me as to how I could best protect my aunt and myself while caring for her here in NC. When the new documents were prepared, Kelly offered to come to my aunt’s residence, a gesture I appreciated but assured her would not be required. Instead, I brought my aunt to the Four Pillars Law Firm office to meet Kelly and sign the paperwork. Kelly was marvelous, patiently discussing every document with her. My aunt, who is still very much “on top of it,” especially when it comes to important matters, was just as impressed by Kelly as I had been.
Throughout the process, I enjoyed a wonderful, personable dialogue with Kelly which grew into a friendship. I’ve dealt with many lawyers in the past and have never found it easy to “cozy up” to one before. But Kelly’s warm personality and sense of humor shine through. Not only did I find a trusted lawyer to protect a beloved family member, I also made a new friend in Kelly Shovelin.

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