Contact: Brandon J. Vogel
Media Writer, Dept. of Media Services & Public Affairs

May 6, 2008


Decision Making Day 2008 will focus on helping the elderly with legal planning

To assist New Yorkers with the task of getting their legal documents current and in order, the New York State Bar Association's Elder Law Section is focusing its 2008 Mitchell Rabbino Decision Making Day programs on helping elderly New Yorkers answer the question, "Is Your Legal House in Order?"

During May and June, volunteer attorneys will speak at workshops held at more than 100 sites throughout the state, including senior centers, community centers, libraries, nursing homes, hospitals, and houses of worship. Free presentations will be given explaining legal procedures and documents to help people make better, more informed health care and financial decisions.

Subject areas that will be discussed in this year's sessions include:

  • New York's Health Care Proxy;
  • Living Wills;
  • Do Not Resuscitate Orders;
  • New York's General Durable Power of Attorney and its uses;
  • Organ and Tissue Donation; and
  • Probate

According to Frances M. Pantaleo of Purchase (Walsh & Amicucci LLP), chair of the Mitchell Rabbino Decision Making Day program, a health care proxy and an appropriate durable power of attorney are tools that can avoid costly and time-consuming court proceedings for a guardianship. "A major advantage of both the power of attorney and health care proxy is that they allow individuals to select whom they want to make financial and health care decisions for them if they become unable to make them on their own," said Pantaleo.

Since its inception 14 years ago, the Mitchell Rabbino Decision Making Day program has offered valuable consumer information and assistance, and provided participants with the resources necessary to make informed legal decisions. The workshops continue to provide an opportunity for practicing lawyers to assist to the public with important legal procedures, such as creating advance directives to plan for the possibility of incapacity and making a will to ensure the appropriate distribution of assets at death.

Organ and tissue donation will be examined again this year. More than 99,000 men, women, and children now wait for a transplant to replace a failing kidney, heart, liver, lung or pancreas, based on Organ and Transplantation Network data as of May 5, 2008. Approximately 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

For details on sites and dates in your area, please visit: or contacting Kathy Plog at the State Bar Center, 518-487-5681 or

The program is named in honor of the late Mitchell Rabbino, an elder law attorney from Accord, New York, who was slated to serve as chair of the Elder Law Section at the time of his death.

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.