Our Staff

Terri Winegarden

Attorney Terri Winegarden established Winegarden Elder Law, PLLC, after having previously worked as an associate attorney for the Ternes Elder Law Firm, PLLC, from 2011 until Mr. Ternes passed away in 2014. Sharing the late Mr. Ternes’s passion for serving the elderly, Ms. Winegarden’s practice focuses on elder law and disability matters, particularly Medicaid planning, estate planning, special-needs planning, guardianship and conservatorship petitions, probate and trust administration, and Veteran Administration benefits claims.

Ms. Winegarden grew up in Petoskey and graduated from Petoskey High School in 1982. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1986, and, thereafter, graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2001. While at Toledo, Ms. Winegarden participated in the College’s London program and, to this day, takes advantage of every opportunity to return to London.

Ms. Winegarden is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and its Elder and Disability Law and Probate and Estate Planning Sections. In 2018, she was elected to the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section Council by her peers. Ms. Winegarden is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Estate Planning Council of Northern Michigan. She holds a Certificate of Completion in the areas of probate and estate planning, issued by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), and the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified VA-accredited attorney-advisor by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, Ms. Winegarden also represents veterans and their families with VA benefits claims.

Having graduated from the University of Michigan in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Archeology and History, Ms. Winegarden, for several years, participated in archeological excavations in England, Israel, and the Southwestern United States. After graduating law school, she worked as an attorney for seven years at the Center of Civil Justice in Saginaw, Michigan, representing low-income clients. While in Saginaw, Ms. Winegarden also served on the board of the University of Michigan Flint’s Women’s Education Center and the Saginaw Community Action Agency.

Currently, Ms. Winegarden sits on the board of the Petoskey Friendship Center, Mid-Michigan Child Care Agency in Freeland, Michigan, and is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Petoskey.

Abigail "Abbie" Hawley

A native of Northern Michigan, Associate Attorney Abigail (“Abbie”) Hawley joined us in 2018. Previously, Ms. Hawley served as Law Clerk to the Honorable George J. Mertz and the Honorable Colin G. Hunter of the 46th Circuit Court, serving Crawford, Kalkaska, and Otsego Counties, for whom she researched and drafted legal memoranda and proposed opinions.

Ms. Hawley was graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 from where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Studies. Ms. Hawley was a James B. Agnell Scholar, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity, and a co-founder of Students Promoting Financial Literacy. After graduating from Michigan in 2013, Ms. Hawley matriculated at the Michigan State University College of Law as a Dean Charles H. King Scholar.

While at MSU, Ms. Hawley was a Student Ambassador and was on the International Law Review, the latter for which she served as associate editor for one year. After participating in an intense two-year trial practice institute and serving as a summer law clerk intern at the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 2013 and the Charlevoix County Circuit Court in 2015, Ms. Hawley graduated from MSU Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 2017.

Currently, Ms. Hawley serves on the City Commission in her hometown of East Jordan. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Administrative & Regulatory Law Section, the Elder Law & Disability Rights Section, the Real Property Law Section, the Solo & Small Firm Section, and the Young Lawyers Section. Ms. Hawley completed the comprehensive Elder Law Certificate Program through the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in 2018.

Ms. Hawley focuses her practice on Medicaid-planning, estate planning, probate and trust administration, and family cottage planning and company formation.

Bridget Brown-Powers

Raised in Northern Michigan and Central Florida, Attorney Bridget Brown Powers is the principal of Brown Powers, PLLC, and is of counsel to Winegarden Elder Law, PLLC. Her practice areas include real property law, appellate practice, business law, estate planning, probate and trust administration, and municipal law.

Ms. Powers has served on the Appellate Practice Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan since 2013, and currently serves as its Chair. Ms. Powers is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society Advocates Guild, member of the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Foundation Committee, and a member of the American Bar Association, the Michigan Bar Association, the Emmet-Charlevoix Bar Association, and the Estate Planning Council of Northern Michigan. She is admitted to practice in Michigan, the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

In 1989, Ms. Powers was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after which she matriculated into the Michigan State University College of Law, formerly known as the Detroit College of Law, and graduated from same in 1992.

Ms. Powers wrote the Paralegal Program curriculum for North Central Michigan College, where she served as an adjunct instructor for several years. Ms. Powers also has served as the City of Petoskey City Attorney and still serves as special counsel to many other local units of government.

For the full bio of Ms. Powers, please click here.

Nicole "Nikki" Palmrose

A native to Northern Michigan, Nikki grew up in Boyne City. After graduating from Boyne City High School, Nikki attended Grand Valley State University where she was a member of the track and field team. Double-majoring in both Legal Studies and Criminal Justice, Nikki was graduated from GVSU in 2005.

After graduation, Nikki began working in the elder law field for the late John Ternes and continued to do so until he passed away in 2014. Nikki thereafter seamlessly transitioned into working for Attorney Terri Winegarden, a then associate attorney of Mr. Ternes, who bought out the Ternes Elder Law Firm practice, which, over the years, has become Winegarden Elder Law, PLLC.

In addition to other legal assist functions, Nikki plays an intricate role in the office assisting clients who are applying for or who are maintaining eligibility for Medicaid benefits. With more than 13 years of Medicaid-planning experience, Nikki has a wealth of knowledge in the “do’s and don’ts” for obtaining and maintaining Medicaid eligibility. Similar to the attorneys, Nikki keeps up with the constantly-changing Medicaid laws and regulations by her frequent participation in continuing Medicaid education webinars and the like.

Nikki resides in East Jordan with her husband and four children.

Lynda Johnson

After graduating from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Business Administration, Lynda brought more than 20 years of business-management experience, mostly in the Detroit area, when she moved to beautiful Northern Michigan. Soon thereafter, she earned a Legal Assistant associates degree from North Central Michigan College in Petoskey and, after completing an internship in a local law firm, Lynda began working as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal for Attorney Bridget Brown Powers.

Recognizing Lynda’s business-management experience, her responsibilities were broadened to include office management, accounts receivable, and accounts payable duties. As the self-proclaimed “Very Busy and “important” person of the office, Lynda wears many hats, but always dons one smile that ensures those around her that she loves what she does.

Now that Attorney Powers is “of counsel” to Winegarden Elder Law, Lynda continues to wear all of her hats, now for three attorneys. As a legal assistant, Lynda provides support services to the attorneys, prepares the first draft of estate plans for attorney review, facilitates ongoing client communication to provide status reports and to provide or obtain relevant information and documentation, runs conflict checks, obtains client-intake information, organizes client files, schedules appointments, and helps U.S. Veterans and their families apply for benefits.