The decedent, Tracy Solivan, had been disabled at birth as a result of medical malpractice at a Hudson County hospital. Her parents had obtained a $172,400 settlement on her behalf, which was held in the Hudson County Surrogate’s account until she turned eighteen. In 2002, after she turned 18, Tracy Solivan’s mother was appointed as.. read more →

In this case, an Ocean County judge ruled that litigants in domestic violence cases who want to introduce evidence contained on their cell phones, such as texts, emails, social media messages, or audio/visual evidence, must first provide such evidence to the court and the adversary in tangible form, such as on a printout or a.. read more →

After plaintiffs lost the money they had invested in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, they sued the attorney who represented the Ponzi scheme operator. The Ponzi scheme operator, Antoinette Hodgson, had claimed to own a real estate investment business. During the time period in which the plaintiffs invested with Hodgson, the defendant.. read more →

Medicare is the federal government’s principal health care insurance program for people 65 years of age and over. In addition, the program covers people of any age who are permanently disabled or who have end-stage renal disease (people with kidney ailments that require dialysis or a kidney transplant). The Medicare program insures 49 million Americans.. read more →

The 18th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 29, 2015 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. As in past years, I presented the case law update at the opening plenary session. This year I presented 30 elder and special needs law cases. Following is a summary of of my.. read more →

Sylvia Fishbein and her husband created the Fishbein Revocable Trust in 1994. In 2005, following Mr. Fishbein’s death, Mrs. Fishbein executed a pour-over will, an advance directive naming her stepdaughter Leslie as her healthcare representative, and a power of attorney naming her nephew Eugene as her agent. In 2011, Mrs. Fishbein fractured her hip and.. read more →

The decedent, William Anton, was survived by his wife, with whom he was in the midst of divorce proceedings, and by his three children. A few weeks before his death, Mr. Anton, along with his son-in-law Keith, met with an estate attorney. After Mr. Anton told the attorney that he did not know where his.. read more →

In April of this year, I received the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section during its annual retreat in Philadelphia, PA. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished.. read more →

Nancy Gimenez-Watson was a resident of Brighton Gardens of Edison, an assisted living facility (ALF) operated by Sunrise Senior Living and its parent company. Mrs. Watson was in the “Reminiscence Plus” program for residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In April 2008, Mrs. Watson choked on her food. After a Brighton Gardens nurse administered.. read more →

The 18th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 29, 2015 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. As in past years, I presented the case law update at the opening plenary session. This year I summarized 30 elder and disability law cases decided from September 2014 through August.. read more →

(Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. in the midst of oral argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court. A video of the entire oral argument can be found on the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli website.) ‘Elder and Disability Law Update’ and ‘Veteran Benefits Workshop’ to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning.. read more →

The decision by respondent, United Healthcare, a managed care organization, to reduce the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) hours awarded to petitioner, C.S., from forty (40) hours per week to twenty-five (25) hours per week was reversed on appeal. C.S. v. United Healthcare, 2015 WL 4410104 (June 4, 2015, N.J. Adm.) C.S. is eighty-eight (88) years old. She began.. read more →

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  for the Third Judicial Circuit ruled this week that a school district in suburban Philadelphia was within its rights to fire Natalie Munroe, an English teacher in the district who blogged that her students were “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.”  Munroe v. Central Bucks School District (3d Cir., September 4, 2015) Natalie.. read more →

Eddie and Aidaliz Jones married in 1998. They had a child in 2003, and were later divorced in 2009. When Eddie died, he was survived by his minor child as well as an emancipated adult child from a prior relationship. Before the marriage, Eddie Jones enrolled under a group life insurance policy through the Police.. read more →

In a 2 to 1 precedential decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversing an earlier federal district court judgment, the court ruled that “short-term annuities” purchased by applicants for nursing home Medicaid cannot be treated as an “available resource” that prevent Medicaid eligibility. Zahner v. Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human.. read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. will be speaking at the “First Annual End Of Life Conference: Legal and Practical Issues in Advance Care Planning” presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the NJ Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ This program,.. read more →

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed a decision of the Director of New Jersey Medicaid reversing a ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who reduced C.W.’s Medicaid ineligibility penalty previously assessed for transferring assets for less than fair market value. C.W. v. Divison of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Docket No. A-2352-13T2.. read more →

Following the death of Kenneth Kanter, his son contested the validity of Mr. Kanter’s will and several quitclaim deeds Mr. Kanter had purportedly executed. These documents were drafted and/or prepared by the decedent’s brother, Sidney Kanter, who is a suspended New Jersey attorney. The parties mediated the case and reached a settlement of the matter… read more →

The Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota ruled that a lower court properly rejected a preference expressed by an incapacitated person for the appointment of a guardian when the incapacitated person could not provide the basis for the expressed preference. In the Matter of B.K.J, an Incapacitated Person, 2015 ND 191 (Docket No… read more →

Immediately after the sudden death of her husband, Elizabeth Greenstein was approached by a rabbi who convinced her to purchase two cemetery plots. Shortly after burying the decedent in one of the plots, his wife realized the plots were “poorly situated and exceedingly small.” She then purchased a larger family plot and sought to move.. read more →

In a recent case involving a holographic will, the California Supreme Court overturned an historical rule in the probate laws of California and most other States (including New Jersey) barring the admission of extrinsic evidence to reform an unambiguous will, thereby permitting reformation of an unambiguous will to correct a mistake. Estate of Duke, S199435 (July.. read more →

A federal district court concluded that a decision of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to permanently discontinue a recipient’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of temporary mismanagement of a special needs trust required remand to the agency for reconsideration of whether the trust is forever an includable resource. Elias v. Colvin (M.D. Pa., No. 3:15-CV-263,.. read more →

Federal court rules that federal law does not require a State to disregard a transfer of a life estates by a Medicaid applicant to a disabled veteran.   Pike ex rel. Estate of Pike v. Sebelius (D. R.I., No. CA 13-392 S, July 16, 2015). The late mother of plaintiff F. Norris Pike transferred of two life.. read more →

E.A. began residing in a home owned by her adult daughter, B.C., in September 2004. From September 2004 to June 2005, B.C. received no compensation for any caregiver services or lodging provided to her mother. From June 2005 to September 2006, B.C. received E.A.’s Social Security benefits of approximately $1500 per month to offset the.. read more →

(The following excerpt is a portion of a brief prepared by my Law Firm in support of a successful application we filed in Court seeking an Order admitting a letter to probate as the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. The letter was handwritten by the decedent and altered with extensive cross-outs and additions,) The technical requirements.. read more →

New legal ethics guidelines developed by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association impose a duty of technology competence on New York lawyers. Although they are advisory in nature, the guidelines state that all New York lawyers must develop appropriate social media skills. For example, Guideline No. 1 recognizes.. read more →

Following a daughter’s application to be appointed as guardian for her father, her brother objected and sought to be appointed as the guardian. Middlesex County Judge Frank M. Ciuffani held a four-day trial, during which it was established that the siblings had a contentious relationship and that the daughter had been named alternate executor under.. read more →

Plaintiff Wilson Bermudez was a patient at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation’s West Facility for five weeks, during which his treatment included 24-hour rehabilitative nursing “to address complex medical, nursing, and rehabilitative needs.” When Bermudez later sued Kessler for injuries he allegedly sustained, he included claims under the New Jersey Nursing Home Responsibilities and Rights of.. read more →

In a recent press release, the Internal Revenue Service announced the release of proposed regulations implementing a new federal law authorizing states to offer tax-favored ABLE accounts to people with disabilities who became disabled before age 26. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) legislation was signed into law in December 2014. ABLE accounts are.. read more →

In Slack v. Wells Fargo Bank, the plaintiff and her brother held title to their late mother’s home as joint tenants with right of survivorship. In 2006, plaintiff’s brother opened a $100,000 line of credit with Wells Fargo Bank, secured by a mortgage on the property. The parties dispute whether plaintiff was aware of the.. read more →

Preparing to be deposed in a civil litigation can be a daunting task. A deposition is a key fact-finding tool of pretrial discovery, in which a party or a witness is asked a series of questions under oath. In a typical case, the questions are asked by the party who is adverse to your case… read more →

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has amended its regulation governing individuals presumed to have been exposed to a herbicide agent, commonly called “Agent Orange,” during the Vietnam era. Specifically, the VA is expanding the regulation to include individuals who performed service in the Air Force or Air Force Reserve under circumstances in which they.. read more →

In Taffaro v. Taffaro, the plaintiff sued his half-sister claiming that she removed decorations and flowers he had placed near their mother’s gravestone. Plaintiff had placed various items at the grave, including a Christmas wreath, a Halloween ghost, and cards, which were “frequently directed towards defendant” and referencing the parties’ previous dispute over their mother’s.. read more →

In a case of first impression, the New Jersey court of appeals held that websites have the right to protect the identities of readers who post comments related to public events. Diane Trawinsky v. John Doe, Docket No. A-0312-14T1 (App. Div., June 3, 2015) Plaintiff, Diane Trawinski, is the wife of former Elmwood Park borough.. read more →

In Singer v. Emeritus Senior Living Center, following a series of falls and the later death of Elizabeth Singer, her family sued the Emeritus Senior Living Residence, claiming that the last of those falls led to Mrs. Singer’s cognitive decline and hastened her death. Plaintiff’s expert was a board certified psychiatrist. At the conclusion of.. read more →