Atlanta Partner Jim McCarten Appointed to Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council

Firm News

Atlanta, Georgia, Dec. 19, 2018 - The law firm of Burr & Forman, LLP announces the appointment of its Atlanta-based partner, James M. McCarten, to the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities ("DBHDD") Advisory Council for Region 6. Expressly required by Georgia law, the responsibilities of this DBHDD Advisory Council include promoting public awareness of local needs for mental health, developmental/intellectual disabilities and addictive disease resources and services as well as advocating with DBHDD and other public officials on behalf of local individuals and families who daily face the challenge of overcoming hurdles and roadblocks which mental health, developmental/intellectual disabilities and addictive diseases place in the way of such individuals being able to live independent, productive and meaningful lives in their communities.

DBHDD Region 6 is comprised of 31 Georgia counties located primarily south and west of Atlanta. The service area includes the Metropolitan Atlanta communities of McDonough, Fayetteville, Griffin, as well as Peachtree City, extends down I-85 and I-185 to Newnan, LaGrange, West Point and Columbus, further south to Bluffton and Fort Gaines, east to Plains and Americas, then to Fort Valley, Perry and Warner-Robbins and back up to Thomaston and Barnesville.

The father of an adult daughter with autism, James "Jim" and his wife Diane have long been active with disability-related organizations in Tennessee and Georgia. A resident of the Town of Woolsey in Fayette County, Georgia, Jim commits time and financial support to, among other organizations, The Arc Georgia, serving as the President of its Advisory Council, to ExceptionalOPS in Fayetteville, and to the Exceptional Children's Services (ECS) of the Fayette County Schools. He is also an active member of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce where he serves as the Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee.

An estate planning and traditional tax lawyer for nearly 35 years, a significant portion of Jim's practice includes special needs planning for individuals with special needs where he assists parents, siblings and other extended family members to ensure the financial security and physical safety of their family member with a disability. Many of the planning issues he covers with clients goes well beyond the guardianship, conservatorship and trust planning typically handled by attorneys in this area of the law. Because he is also a parent, he makes sure the legal and practical concerns associated with employment, aging parents or other caregivers, independent residential options and the services needed to sustain independence, and the basics necessary to assist a family member with a disability to live with dignity and respect are covered. Over the years, Jim has been honored by his peers in the areas of special needs and estate planning by being included as a member of the Special Needs Alliance ("SNA"), a national, invitation only association of attorneys engaged in special needs planning, and as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel ("ACTEC"). Jim is also regularly asked to speak at regional and national programs on special needs planning and independent living options for attorneys, accountants and other financial professionals, as well as for the National Alliance on Mental Illness ("NAMI"), the Arc US, the Autism Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He has likewise authored numerous articles on special needs planning and related topics in professional journals and family support publications. Jim was especially honored this year when he was recognized by his peers and Best Lawyers as the 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in Nonprofit/Charities Law for the Atlanta region.

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