Panel of Experts Address End-of-Life Issue “Will My Final Wishes Be Known and Honored?” at November 1st Seminar for Legal and Health Care Professionals

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Keynote speaker Carole Cukell Neff, attorney, will be joined by panelists Deena Gerber, LCSW, BACS and Arian Elfant, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist for an in depth discussion on “Will My Final Wishes Be Known and Honored?” Social work CEU's will be offered.

Assisting families and service providers with end of life challenges is our goal. - Stephen L. Sontheimer

Addressing best practices in handling end of life decisions, Keynote speaker Carole Cukell Neff, attorney, will be joined by panelists Deena Gerber, LCSW, BACS and Arian Elfant, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist for an in depth discussion on “Will My Final Wishes Be Known and Honored?”

Co-sponsored by Home Care Solutions and Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home, the seminar will be held on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 from 4:30-6:30PM in the Community Room of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans. CEU credits* (1.5 hours) will be offered for the field of social work. Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged. An RSVP is required by October 18, 2017 and may be made at RSVP(at)

The seminar’s Keynote Speaker will be Carole Cukell Neff, Attorney, Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist, Certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. A partner at the New Orleans law firm of Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel, L.L.C., Neff heads the Estate Planning and Estate Administration Department. Additionally, Neff is an Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, and has co-authored a definitive 3-volumne treatise on the subjects with Max Nathan, Jr. entitled “Louisiana Estate Planning, Will Drafting and Estate Administration” (Lexis Law Publishing, 2d ed. 2000). Carole is a graduate of Tulane Law School where she served on the Board of Editors of the Tulane Law Review and as a member of the academic honor society, the Order of the Coif. Following law school graduation, she clerked for Louisiana Supreme Court Justice John A. Dixon, Jr.

As a well-known, respected expert in Estate Planning and Estate Administration and Special Needs Planning, Carole is a frequently sought-after speaker who has spoken at numerous professional meetings, conventions and estate planning seminars, and has appeared on several local radio and television programs.

Following the keynote address, a panel discussion will include local experts Deena Gerber, LCSW, BACS and Arian S. Elfant, Ph.D.

Deena Gerber, LCSW, BACS, was born in New Orleans. She earned a BA from Boston University and worked briefly in New York before returning to earn her MSW from Tulane University. Working for the Jewish Family Service in New Orleans for over thirty years, she served as executive director from 1994–2013. She co-authored “Caring for the Elderly: A Workbook for Caregivers” in 1992, and has taught at both Tulane University’s School of Social Work and Loyola University of New Orleans’ Department of Governmental Studies. In the wake of Katrina, she organized Jewish Family Service to help distribute funds, gift cards, and much-needed counseling to hurricane survivors, often asking, “What’s your plan du jour?” to take the pressure off survivors struggling to find workable solutions amidst the chaos. In December 2011 President Obama honored her with the Champion of Change Award for the work the Jewish Family Service had done under her leadership to aid the community after Hurricane Katrina.

Arian S. Elfant, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who has been in private practice in New Orleans since 2003. Her experience in end-of-life care began when she moved to New Orleans volunteering her clinical services at the Tulane Cancer Center. At the Cancer Center, she saw patients who were in need of therapeutic support and co-led a group for survivors of brain tumors. Dr. Elfant also had the opportunity to facilitate the Schwartz Center Rounds at the Tulane Medical Center. These experiences earned her a faculty appointment at Tulane. In 2015, Dr. Elfant developed and hosted a bimonthly podcast series on the subject of death, airing on

The welcome, introductions and panel moderation will be provided by Stephen L. Sontheimer and Dianne C. McGraw, LCSW, CMC. Sontheimer is a funeral director/consultant at Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home which has been serving families of all faiths at all cemeteries since 1916. McGraw is owner of Home Care Solutions, an elder care company providing aging life care management and caregiver services to greater New Orleans since 1991.

*This program is approved for 1.5 General contact hours of continuing education credit by Southern University at New Orleans School of Social Work as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners.

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