Sarah R. Watchko’s practice areas include elder law and estate planning, Medicaid benefits for nursing home care and Department of Veterans Affairs pension benefits, special needs planning, and trust and estate administration. Sarah was selected for inclusion in the 2018 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” in the area of Elder Law. Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. She is also one of very few Georgia Certified Elder Law Attorneys (“CELA”) by the National Elder Law Foundation, the only national certifying program for elder law and special needs attorneys, and serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia's chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
Sarah developed a passion for working with elderly and special needs clients at Wake Forest School of Law’s Elder Law Clinic during the summer of 2007. Upon graduation, this led her to Atlanta Legal Aid’s Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, where she volunteered and eventually worked as a staff attorney from 2008 – 2009. In 2009, she joined attorney Steve DeBaun in his estate planning and elder law practice. In 2013, Sarah made the difficult decision to leave Mr. DeBaun’s practice and start a new path at Bettis, Hill, & Vann (now Hill & Watchko), a firm focusing primarily on those individuals she wished to serve.
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University in 2005, following in the footsteps of her mother, great-grandmother, and great-aunt, and earning undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. She was offered a Full Merit Scholarship to the Wake Forest University School of Law, and graduated from Wake Forest in 2008.
Sarah is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is accredited by the Veterans Administration. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, the Atlanta Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Probate Section, and served as the Chair of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Elder Law Section for the 2012-2013 term. Her extensive pro bono activities have included the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, DeKalb Volunteer Lawyer’s Foundation, DeKalb Probate Information Center, Fulton Probate Information Center, and the Georgia Appleseed project.
An Atlanta native, Sarah lives in Roswell with her husband Jeff, son Will, daughter Emma Claire, and their loving mutt Hank. She and her brother William attended Marist School in Atlanta, and her husband attended Roswell High School. Both her brother and husband were collegiate athletes at Georgia Tech who went on to play professionally (the former football and the latter, baseball). Both families remain avid Georgia Tech fans.
- Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- J.D. - 2008
- Honors: Full Merit Scholarship
- East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
- Major: Philosophy & Psychology
Certified Legal Specialties
- Georgia Certified Elder Law Attorneys, National Elder Law Foundation, 2015
- Elder Law
- Estate Planning
- Special Needs Planning
- Medicaid Benefits for Nursing Home Care
- Veterans Affairs Pension Benefits
- Trust and Estate Administration
- 2018 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”
Classes & Seminars
- New and Future Trends & Challenges in Elder Law, National Business Institute, 2017 to 2017
- Long-Term Care Planning, National Business Institute, 2017 to 2017
- Estate & Long-Term Care Planning, Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 2016 to 2016
- Georgia's New Power of Attorney Act, Gasolowitz Frankel Wealth Matters Radio, 2017 to 2017
- Special Needs Planning, Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, 2017 to 2017
- DeKalb & Fulton Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, 2015 to Present
- Georgia Appleseed Project, 2014 to 2015
- Wake Forest School of Law’s Elder Law Clinic
- Atlanta Legal Aid’s Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, Volunteer, 2008 to 2009
- DeBaun & Associates, Associate Attorney, 2008 to 2013
- Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, Staff Attorney, 2008 to 2009
- Georgia, 2008
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys GA Chapter, Board of Directors, 2018 to Present
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Member, Present
- Atlanta Bar Association Estate Planning Section, Member, Present
- Atlanta Bar Association Elder Law Section, Member, Past Chair, 2012 to 2013
- Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Member, Present
- State Bar of Georgia