Amanda Insalaco

  • Hosted by The Center for Disability and Elder Law
  • Sponsored by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, PayPal
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school DePaul University College of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Amanda provides legal assistance to cost-burdened senior homeowners in Cook County to (a) help preserve their homeownership rights so that they can afford to age in place and (b) ensure seniors have succession plans so they can pass their property interest on to designated beneficiaries.

Through the Housing Preservation Project, Amanda assists seniors in making estate plans to keep their homes out of probate. This helps ensure preservation of families’ equity, by avoiding the cost and expense of probate, and avoids property loss due to heirship issues, which may impact not only the intergenerational transfer of wealth but also avoid additional property vacancies in communities.

Before law school, Amanda completed a year of service with Illinois JusticeCorps, where she provided legal information to pro se litigants in rural Knox County, Illinois. In that capacity, it became apparent to Amanda the difference that access to basic legal information can make. Amanda pursued law school to increase access to justice for low and moderate-income Illinois residents.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Amanda has:

  • Successfully advocated for an extension of temporary recording fee reduction and, ultimately, a permanent reduction for Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI) recording fees at the county-level
  • Provided full representation to 93 clients, predominately drafting and recording TODI, as well as Deceased Joint Tenancy Affidavits, drafting and recordation of quitclaim deeds, powers of attorney documents, and last wills & testaments
  • Provided brief service to 96 individuals through real estate tax exemption assistance and title searches
  • Reached 400 community members through outreach presentations and community-based events
  • Gave eight CLE presentations, including a joint CLE and pro bono workshop for 19 PayPal attorneys

Next Steps

In the next year, Amanda plans to:

  • Work to publish an article about the potential of expanding HPP state-wide
  • Continue providing community-based services to low- and moderate-income homeowners and conducting community education and outreach
  • Work with new community-based agencies to expand the program’s reach
  • Continue training and engaging pro bono attorneys, including sponsor attorneys

Housing stability is integral to the quality of life. Having the option to age-in-place is crucial to seniors’ dignity. At the same time, simple estate planning can help ensure that homes are seamlessly passed on to future generations and prevent properties from becoming vacant, thereby impacting communities at large.

Amanda Insalaco /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Amanda

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Andrew Neuhauser

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Sara Simon Tompkins

Host: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Sponsor: Individual Donors, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Vallen Solomon

Host: King County Bar Association's Housing Justice Project

Sponsor: Costco Wholesale, The Raikes Foundation

Current Fellow

Michael Deemer

Host: Ohio State Legal Services Association

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation