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2020 NMGA Symposium 

Presenter Profiles




Sally Balch Hurme, JD is an elder law attorney who retired from AARP after 23 years. While at AARP she worked on a wide variety of issues including surrogate decision making and financial exploitation. Hurme has long been involved in facilitating national and international guardianship policy including the Third and upcoming Fourth National Guardianship Summits and the five World Congresses on Guardianship. She helped draft the two most recent uniform guardianship laws. Ms. Hurme’s most recent release in the award-winning ABA/AARP Checklist series is Wise Moves: Checklist for Where to Live, What to Consider, and Whether to Stay or Go. Hurme also released in 2020 the Great Course lecture series on Getting Your Legal House in Order. She received her law degree cum laude from the Washington College of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Tulane University. Hurme has served multiple terms on the boards of the National Guardianship Association and the Center for Guardianship Certification. Relevant to today’s topic, she served on the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission of the Certified Financial Planners Board.



Ellen Leitzer, JD graduated from the Emory University School of Law in 1974 and began her career as an ACLU of Georgia staff attorney. Subsequently she joined ACLU’s national staff as coordinator of its Reproductive Freedom Project. Ellen moved to New Mexico in 1978 to join the staff of the National Indian Youth Council and litigated religious freedom cases with NIYC’s other staff attorney, Susan Tomita. In 1983 Ellen co-founded and, for the next 22 years, served as managing director of the Senior Citizens’ Law Office, Inc. (SCLO).  In 2005 Ellen moved to Washington, D.C. where she directed a Medicare project for Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization.  Subsequently Ellen worked on health and human rights issues in Nepal and Cambodia, and taught business English to senior government officials in Burundi. In 2011 Ellen returned to New Mexico and opened a private practice that focused on elder law issues. On June 1, 2013 Ellen returned to SCLO as Executive Director. Ellen has provided legal services, education and systemic advocacy to thousands of New Mexico seniors. She has also authored several New Mexico laws that benefit seniors and other vulnerable populations.



Bennett Blum, MD is an internationally acclaimed physician specializing in forensic and geriatric psychiatry.  His interest is in the detection and impact of psychological manipulation tactics used to exploit vulnerable adults and the elderly.  As an expert witness and litigation consultant, Dr. Blum has consulted on these matters throughout the United States and other countries.  Dr. Blum’s pioneering assessment techniques are taught throughout much of the Western Hemisphere and have been promoted many organizations, including the UN/ICTY, US State Department, American Bar Association, and National Guardianship Association.  Dr. Blum is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.



Greg W. MacKenzie, JD, is an attorney with Hurley Toevs Styles Hamblin & Panter PA.  Greg was admitted to practice before the New Mexico courts in 1993 and has been working as a litigation lawyer since that time. Since 1997, Greg has devoted virtually all f his practice to representing clients in estate and trust litigation including representing clients who are contesting or defending the validity of wills, trusts and other estate planning documents and those who are involved in litigation over the administration of estates and trusts. His cases frequently involve allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and the construction of controlling instruments such as wills and trusts. Greg also frequently handles litigation in contested complex guardianships and conservatorships. He has been appointed by judges in several of New Mexico's judicial districts to serve as guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults involved in those types of proceedings. Greg is a board member of the National Guardianship Association and the New Mexico Guardianship Association.



Tim Gardner, JD, is the legal director at Disability Rights New Mexico, a private non-profit civil rights agency for people with disabilities.  As one of its core services, DRNM works on behalf of guardianship respondents, pre- and post-adjudication.  DRNM has limited dozens of guardianships, and avoided and terminated many more.  Tim also spends his pandemics running the homeschool for the youngest three of his five children still at home (all the time, with no breaks, ever).



Laurie A. Hedrich, JD is a shareholder with Hedrich Law, P.A., in Albuquerque, New Mexico.   Her law practice concentrates on estate planning, probate, post-mortem and trust administration, guardianships and conservatorships and general business planning.  Laurie earned her B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and her J.D. degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She has participated in public service workshops and presented at seminars on wills, trusts, post mortem administration, ethics and advance health care directives, and has spoken before professional and civic groups on various aspects of estate planning, probate, post mortem and trust administration and litigation. Additionally, Ms. Hedrich has served on the board of the Elder Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico and the New Mexico Guardianship Association.  When not working, Laurie can usually be found knitting, fly fishing or watching a baseball game.



Susan Stuart, BUS, CMC, NMG has over thirty years of experience working with the elderly and disabled populations. She is a Nationally Certified Master Guardian and a Nationally Certified Long Term Care Manager. She was a co-founder and past board member of the New Mexico Guardianship Association.  She is an instructor for the CNM Ethics and Fundamentals of Guardianship and Conservatorship Series.  She is a trained mediator through the UNM Law School. Susan founded Decisions in Care, LLC in 2001, an organization which provides services such as power of attorney and court visitor. She has also served as a surrogate decision-maker for her family members.



Rex M. Swanda, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who is board-certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology. He completed his Doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of Arizona, with specialty training in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Yale-West Haven VA. He directed the Neuropsychology Consultation Service at Bellevue Hospital in New York City from 1985 to 1991, while teaching advanced coursework in Clinical Neuropsychology at the New School for Social Research. After moving to New Mexico, he worked from 1992 to 2017 at the New Mexico Veterans Health Care System as Director of the Neuropsychology Consultation Service and Post-Doctoral Training in Clinical Neuropsychology until retiring in May 2017. He currently works as a private practice Clinical Neuropsychologist, with specialties in assessment of decisional capacity, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and trauma. 



Marcy G. Baysinger, JD, is a partner of the law firm of Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Her law practice concentrates on elder law, disability planning, guardianship and conservatorships, estate planning, probate and fiduciary litigation.  The law practice of the firm concentrates on taxation, estate planning, probate, business succession, disability planning, elder law, business consulting, life care planning and fiduciary litigation.  Marcy graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Elementary Education in 1980 and earned a Master of Arts in Special Education in 1983. She worked as a special education teacher in the Albuquerque Public Schools and the Cherry Creek District in Denver from 1981 until 1989.  With her background in special education, Marcy is well suited to understand the needs of disabled clients.  Marcy graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1988.  She was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1989 and to the New Mexico Bar in 1994.  Marcy has served on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s Association New Mexico chapter and the New Mexico Guardianship Association.  She has a Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rating. Marcy is married to Al Baysinger, who is a history teacher. They have two grown children and two dogs which keep them very busy.



Judge Nancy J. Franchini, District Court Judge, Second Judicial District, was appointed to the bench in August, 2014 and won her election in November, 2014.  She handles a civil docket with over 1200 cases. She is in charge of the committee for the Elder and Disability Initiative at the Second Judicial District Court.  The New Mexico Supreme Court appointed Judge Franchini to the New Mexico Adult Guardianship Study Commission, which met from April to December, 2017.  The New Mexico Supreme Court also appointed her to the Ad Hoc Guardianship and Conservatorship Rules and Forms Committee and to the Guardianship Reform Implementation Steering Committee, of which she is the chair. 



Mary Galvez MA, CMC, NMG, CSA is a Nationally Certified Master Guardian (NMG), Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Certified Manager of Care (CMC), Mary has been providing guardianship and care management services in New Mexico for 20 years. She has extensive professional experience serving the elderly and disabled population in New Mexico. She owns and operates Guardianship and Care Management Services LLC, a local agency which serves as Guardian, Court Visitor, Care Manager, and Healthcare Power of Attorney. Mary is also a trained mediator. Mary serves on the boards of the New Mexico Guardianship Association and the Alzheimer’s Association. She is the New Mexico Affiliate Representative to the National Guardianship Association and also serves on the NM Supreme Court Ad Hoc Guardianship Rules and Forms Committee. She was recently appointed as a Board Trustee for the Center for Guardianship Certification. Mary co-chairs the Brown Bag Guardianship Discussion Group and the Corporate Roundtable Discussion Group. She is the recipient of The Center for Guardianship Certification’s 2019 National Master Guardian Star Award.



Nancy J. Oriola, LCSW, NMG, CMC, CFP, As Founder and CEO of Decades, LLC in 2001, Nancy has dedicated her career to the care and protection of aging and disabled adults. Certified that same year (2001), she has been a proponent of NGA best practices. She advocated for certification and training of professional guardians/conservators and believes the recent changes and evolution of our work will benefit those we serve. When President of the NM Guardianship Association, her commitment to developing thoughtful, well trained guardians led her to create the Annual Symposium here in New Mexico. She has mentored and trained many new guardians and conservators. She has presented on topics related to Financial Capacity, Conservatorships and Standards of Practice and welcomes the movement toward a greater use and understanding of limited appointments.



Kevin Hammar, JD graduated from University of New Mexico School of Law in  1984. Prior to law school he served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Navy where he was a Surface Warfare Officer and a Deep Sea Diving Officer. He retired from the Navy Reserve as a Captain. His law practice focuses on credit union representation, real estate, creditors' rights, guardianships and conservatorships, wills, trusts and probate. He has extensive litigation experience in New Mexico state courts, including the appellate courts and the Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court.

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