As a principal at The Van Winkle Law Firm, Heather Whitaker Goldstein focuses on incapacity planning, client advocacy and litigation in a wide variety of situations where an elderly person is vulnerable to exploitation. She assists clients with drafting powers of attorney, incompetency and guardianship proceedings, will contests, trust modifications, estate-related litigation, and claims by and against individuals who are serving as executor, trustee, or agent under a power of attorney. She also assists clients with creating estate plans and planning for long-term care public benefits, and she advises executors, trustees, and guardians on the administration of estates.

From 2003 - 2012 Heather served as the Executive Director of the Asheville Jewish Community Center, where she worked closely with staff and volunteers to create and strengthen programs and services to support community members during all phases of life. Heather was part of the team that worked to establish Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina, a now-independent nonprofit organization providing elder respite care, mental health counseling, and social work case management.

Before joining our firm, Heather completed a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Welton Curtis Sewell, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Western and Middle Districts of North Carolina, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Districts, as well as all North Carolina state courts. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, attending her four boys’ soccer games, and early morning CrossFit training.

 

Presentations & Papers

Community Presentations

  • Preventing and Curing Elder Financial Exploitation
    • Professionals’ Lunch-n-Learn, Community Foundation of WNC, October 23, 2019
    • Parsec Longevity Forum, Keynote Speaker, September 17, 2019
    • North Carolina Aging Professionals Association Annual Meeting, March 14, 2019
  • Charting Your Own Course: Taking Charge of Living Longer, Better Lives
    • Successful Aging Conference, Council on Aging of Buncombe County, June 2018 & June 2019
  • Planning for Incapacity
    • Osher Life Long Learning Institute, UNC Asheville, August 1, 2018
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Living Longer, But Were Afraid to Ask
    • Dementia Education Symposium, Alzheimer’s Association, April 25, 2018
  • Legal and Financial Matters, Dementia Education
    • Alzheimer’s Association, March 20, 2018
  • Wage and Hour Law for Nonprofits
    • Duke Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program, October 13, 2015
  • Employment Law for Nonprofits
    • WNC Nonprofit Pathways Compliance Update, April 2015
  • Best Practices for Nonprofits
    • Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, August 13, 2013

Continuing Legal Education

  • Litigating Exploitation Cases in an Elder Law Practice
    • North Carolina Chapter, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, September 2019
  • Strategies for Lawyers Facing the Elder Financial Abuse Crisis
    • N.C. Bar Association Elder & Special Needs Law Section Meeting, February 22, 2019
    • Land of the Sky Estate Planning Council Meeting, April 25, 2019
    • Henderson County Bar, August 23, 2019
  • Caveat Proceedings and Probate in Solemn Form (Co-Author with Stephen J. Grabenstein)
    • North Carolina Fiduciary Litigation Manual, N.C. Bar Association Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, 2019
  • Medicaid Lookback Period and Qualifying Asset Transfers Rule
    • National Business Institute, December 4, 2018
  • The New N.C. Uniform Power of Attorney Act
    • Buncombe County Bar, February 14, 2018
    • Henderson County Bar, October 12, 2018
  • Getting Real with E-Discovery
    • Buncombe County Bar, October 30, 2015
  • North Carolina Wage and Hour Law Update
    • Lorman Education Services, March 30, 2000

Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers 2020, Asheville Area –
    • Elder Law
  • Outstanding Service Award, Pisgah Legal Services
  • William J. Griffith University Service Award, Duke University
  • Outstanding Service Award, Buncombe County Bar Young Lawyer Division
  • TWIN Award nominee, YWCA of Asheville, Tribute to Women of Influence
  • Senior Articles Editor, The George Washington Law Review
  • Executive Committee, The George Washington Moot Court Board
  • Younger Lawyer Pro Bono Service Award, North Carolina Bar Association

Education

  • The George Washington University, J.D. with honors – 1997
  • Duke University, B.A. English – 1993
 

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Elder & Special Needs Law Section
    • Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section
    • Member of the Litigation Section
  • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • Harry C. Martin Inns of Court
  • Buncombe County Aging Coordinating Consortium
  • National Association of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Land of Sky Estate Planning Council

Community Involvement

  • Asheville’s Affiliates, Former Board Member
  • Asheville Community Theatre, Former Board Member
  • Asheville Jewish Business Forum
  • Asheville Jewish Community Center, Capital Campaign Cabinet
  • Buncombe County’s Distinguished Young Woman (Junior Miss) Scholarship Program, Former Chair
  • Congregation Beth Israel
  • Duke University, Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee
  • Ira B. Jones Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, Former Fundraising Chair
  • JCC Association Executive Seminars, Former Cohort Chair
  • Junior League of Asheville, Sustaining Member
  • Maccabi Academy of Asheville, Former Advisory Board Member
  • Morehead-Cain Foundation, Regional Selection Committee, Former Member
  • Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, Former Board Member
  • Pisgah Legal Services, Development Council
  • UNC Asheville Center for Diversity Education, Former Board Member
  • UNC Asheville Center for Jewish Studies, Former Advisory Board Member
  • United Way of Asheville-Buncombe, Board Member and 2017 Campaign Chair

 

Outside of the office, Heather is very busy with her husband, Jeremy, raising their four boys and attending "a lot" of soccer games. At 5 a.m., when her family is still asleep, she can be found enjoying CrossFit training.

  • Favorite Food: "Almond Brothers" Smoothie from Green Sage Cafe
  • Favorite Book: "Pride and Prejudice"
  • Favorite Asheville Experience: Outdoor summer Shakespeare with the Montford Park Players