Nicole Applefield Engel

Serving Clients throughout Wilmington North Carolina and the Surrounding Areas

Nicki Engel web-min

Nicole Applefield Engel


Attorney at Law

Nicole Applefield Engel is an associate attorney with Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC in Wilmington, North Carolina. Nicki earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Appalachian State University and her Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University. Licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina, Nicki is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), a North Carolina Bar Certified Specialist in Elder Law and is accredited by the Veterans Administration to handle veterans’ claims.

Nicki’s practice areas include special needs planning; general estate, trust, and asset protection planning; counseling families on and planning for disability and long-term care; guardianships, veterans, Medicaid, and other public benefits planning; guardianships and incompetency proceedings; financial exploitation, and probate and trust administration.

Nicki is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA) and is the Vice President of the North Carolina Chapter of NAELA. She is the Treasurer of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Elder and Special Needs Law Section and is a member of the NCBA Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section.

Originally from Charlotte, Nicki has practiced law in Asheville for the last eight years. In 2019, Nicki, her husband, Jeremy, and their infant daughter, Willow, traded the mountains for the beach and moved to Wilmington. When she is not in the office, Nicki enjoys hiking, biking, playing soccer, seeing live music, and exploring the diverse dining and brewery scene in the coastal area.

CELA Certification

Attorney Salines-Mondello and Attorney Engel have been certified as Elder Law attorneys by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

NELF is the only national organization certifying practitioners of elder and special needs law. According to NELF (, ‘the Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) certification has frequently been referred to as, “the gold standard,” for Elder Law and special needs practitioners. This reflects the hard work and proof required before an attorney can proudly proclaim that he or she holds the valued designation.’

Choosing a CELA to be your lawyer is the surest method of independently confirming that they are more than just qualified, as certification is only awarded to those who have demonstrated expertise in special needs and elder law, passed a rigorous examination, maintains continuing education and involvement standards, and has been recognized by their peers and colleagues.

There are only a little more than 400 CELAs in the country who have been recognized as having an enhanced level of skill, as well as substantial involvement in established legal specialty areas. CELAs are required to demonstrate special training, experience, and knowledge.

For more information about the Certified Elder Law Attorney certification please visit

NAELA Membership

Attorney Salines-Mondello and Attorney Engel are members of NAELA (the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys). NAELA attorneys follow the list of Aspirational Standards set in to place by the Professionalism and Ethics Committee. These standards dictate a level of responsibility which ensure that attorneys “elevate professionalism and enhance the quality of service to their clients.” Those who are aging and those who have special needs are often faced with complex problems that require legal counsel to, “aspire to a higher level of professional practice standards than other attorneys.”

Each state outlines the minimum standards required to practice law, however, NAELA members believe that those seeking counsel regarding Elder Law and Special Needs Law should be provided with service and professionalism that exceed the traditional expectations. For a detailed outline of what the Aspirational Standards are, you can click HERE. For more information about NAELA and Elder Law, you can click HERE.