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.

Laura Carl

Attorney Laura Carl now practices elder law and assists clients with estate planning, guardianship and conservatorship petitions, and probate and trust administration with the talented team at Winegarden Elder Law, PLLC.

Ms. Carl was raised in Canton, Ohio and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from Hillsdale College in 1997. While at Hillsdale, Ms. Carl participated in the Oxford University Study Abroad Program with the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  After graduation from Hillsdale with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, Ms. Carl worked in public affairs at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and later as a public policy fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco.  Her research and publications focused primarily on health care and privatization. Her policy articles appeared in many national newspapers including the Los Angeles Daily News, San Francisco Examiner, and Orange County Register.

Following, Ms. Carl attended the Gonzaga University of Law in Spokane, Washington.  While in law school, she studied law on Gonzaga’s Florence campus in Italy one summer and clerked for the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm in Washington, D.C., the summer after.  After graduating law school in 2006, Ms. Carl returned to Michigan and worked as an intern for the Honorable Chief United States District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan.  After interning with Judge Rosen, Laura acted as Of Counsel to the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation and a commercial litigation law firm.  She also spent six years working for a discovery law firm specializing in antitrust.

In addition to practicing law, Laura taught Business Law at North Central Michigan College and medieval history and poetry at St. Michael’s Academy.  She previously assisted clients with business transactions, real estate and no-fault insurance litigation.  Ms. Carl is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

When she’s not assisting clients, Laura treasures her time with her husband and two daughters, walking the wooded trails with their dog and entertaining their two cats in the splendor of Northern Michigan.

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.

Lani Skop

Lani is a native to Northern Michigan, raised in Alanson and attending Pellston Schools. During her senior year of high school, she dual-enrolled at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, and successfully completed a Certificate Program for Certified Nursing Assistants in time for graduation. She then began work in a nursing home, where her love of working with the elderly took hold. She furthered her education with an Associates in Science from NCMC, and then worked as a bookkeeper after marrying and having her two children as it afforded her more time to be home with her family.

Upon going back to work full time, also maintaining her bookkeeping position, she earned a Real Estate license which led to an interest in Estate Planning. With all of her experience wrapped up together, and a personal passion for law, becoming a Legal Assistant was the next logical step in her career.  She is always looking to learn something new, and has completely immersed herself in this law firm by preparing the first draft of estate plans for attorney review, facilitating client communication to provide or obtain relevant information and documentation and to provide status reports, organizing and maintaining client files, and scheduling appointments.

In her free time, Lani enjoys going into the woods to hike with her family, riding on the back of her husband’s motorcycle along M-119 in the summer or playing softball and volleyball with her daughters. As an avid animal and nature lover it would not be unheard of to find her trying to befriend something wild.