February 15, 2018

Faces of ABLE: Catherine Davey

Faces of ABLE: Catherine Davey

Catherine Davey, a longtime estate planning probate lawyer and expert on special needs trusts in Maitland, has combined her decades of career experience with her personal passion to advocate for and educate the disability community.

Catherine Davey and her husband had two little girls and wanted a third child to complete their family, but it just didn’t seem possible. Three times, Davey conceived; three times, she lost the pregnancy. Her best friend, an ob/gyn, performed a blood test and delivered the news that Davey could not have any more children.

Until Davey discovered she was pregnant.

“Then we got the hard news. It was bad news — at first,” she said, describing the blood tests and then the amniocentesis that confirmed their daughter had Down syndrome. “At first, I was like, ‘God, I don’t understand. This is our miracle child. How could you do this?’ And then our little girl was born.”

The Daveys named her Mae, after a beloved aunt who was “a fireball. We knew Mae would need it.” Their sweet daughter is now 4 years old, and is “stinking cute, amazing and smart. People tell us all the time, ‘She’s so lucky to have you.’ We’re like, ‘No, you don’t understand. We’re lucky to have her.’”

As it turns out, young Mae isn’t the only fireball in the family. Catherine Davey, a longtime estate planning probate lawyer and expert on special needs trusts in Maitland, has combined her decades of career experience with her personal passion to advocate for and educate the disability community. Every six months, she hosts Low Down on Law, an expert-led forum on legal and financial issues such as estate planning, probate, guardianship, Social Security, and ABLE United.

It took her a while to warm up to that last one, until she understood how useful an ABLE United account can be as a tool in a person’s financial toolbelt.

In essence, she said, the special needs trust can put funds into an ABLE United account for use toward support and health expenses. That way, it doesn’t count as income against the special needs trust, and the individual keeps their Medicaid and SSI benefits. And, she adds, it’s easy and fast to open an account online.

Davey, who has political connections and serves on a number of active committees, says she will keep pressing for equal rights and better opportunities for the disability community. She has always pressed these platforms, but with Mae’s birth, she said, she went “all in.”

“Now I have to change it,” she said, “and I’m changing it for her. I’m not changing it for you; I’m changing it for her. But I have really big coattails. And I’m bringing everyone along with us.”