Michele P. (Fuller) Urbatsch is the founder of Michigan Law Center, P.L.L.C, and President of Advocacy, Inc., a non-profit organization. Her law practice focuses on advocacy, protection, and asset preservation for persons with disabilities, including working in the following areas of law: elder law, special needs planning, special needs trust administration, and settlement planning.
Michele was recently appointed Special Assistant Attorney General to assist in settlement planning for the Flint Water cases. She is the former Chair of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section (ELDRS) of the State Bar of Michigan and has leadership positions in several national organizations: Advisory Board Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) and Michigan Chapter of NAELA Board of Directors. She is also active in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Michigan Association for Justice, and a regular contributor for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE).
Michele and her award-winning special needs attorney and spouse, Kevin Urbatsch, frequently write together. Their publications include: Administering the Michigan Special Needs Trust; the 2nd and 3rd editions of Administering the California Special Needs Trust; and Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future, 6th and 7th Editions, NOLO Press. She is also the author of Saving Grace, an elder law client’s experience, and Finding Peace: a guide for caregivers, to be published in 2020.
Michele and Kevin have also co-authored several nationally published articles, including Traps for the Unwary During Special Needs Trust Administration, in Estates and Trusts Magazine, the Future of Planning for Persons with Disabilities which was published in the Fall 2013 edition of the NAELA Journal, and Pooled Trusts: An Approach to Special Needs Planning for Families of Modest Means, published in the May-June 2013 edition of BiFocal, a Journal of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. Michele has also contributed to Michigan Bar Journal, Planning for a Person with Disabilities, Considerations when Settling a Lawsuit for an Individual Lacking Capacity or a Minor, and Divorce and Disability: Identifying and Resolving the Unique Issues of a Spouse with Disabilities. In addition to the Michigan State Bar Journal, Michele has contributed to the MAJ Journal, Elder Law Answers, NAELA news, and other publications.
Michele is a frequent presenter for various national and statewide organizations such as ElderCounsel, MassMutual, the American Bar Association, American Association for Justice, Michigan Association for Justice, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan Brain Injury Association of Michigan and the Michigan Guardianship Association, among others. She is of council for several non-profit organizations, national and statewide, which administers pooled special needs trusts.
Michele graduated with Honors as a member of the James Madison College at Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. Michele then attended American University International Law Master’s program and obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Awards and Recognitions
Michele is honored to have received the 2018 State Bar of Michigan Unsung Hero Award, given annually to an attorney demonstrating dedication in their practice for the betterment of others. She has also been nominated to the Super Lawyers list for the last several years. Other awards she has received include: American Institute of Legal Counsel 10 Best Elder Law Attorneys 2016-2019, and Distinguished Lawyers 2016-2019 by The Expert Network, given to the top 3% of attorneys in the nation. She was also named the Women-in-Law Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorney of the Year by Lawyer’s Monthly Magazine in 2016. Parenting Magazine also named Michele the Top Special Needs Child Advocate in 2013.
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, Michigan,
Michigan State University B.A., Bachelor of Arts, with Honors
Honors: Member of the James Madison College
Major: International Relations
American University International Law Masters program
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
-Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ), Member
-State Bar of Michigan, Elder Law and Disability Rights Section (ELDRS), Secretary – Present
-National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Member
-Michigan Chapter, Board of Directors
-Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), Advisory Board Member
-Elder Law and Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Chair, 2016 – 2017
-Advisory Board, Academy of Special Needs Planners