NAELA Aids Win for Children With Disabilities of Retired New Jersey Police and Firefighters New Jersey Supreme Court decision allows survivor benefits to be designated to a special needs trust. The New Jersey supreme court’s decision to allow children with disabilities of retired police and firefighters to receive their parent’s survivor benefits without the risk.. read more →

Following the decedent’s death, one of his three children applied for summary administration of the estate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:10-4, which governs intestate estates that do not exceed $10,000. More than two years later, the estranged wife of one of the decedent’s children filed an action for probate, claiming that there was a 2005 will.. read more →

New Jersey’s Qualified Income Trust Template For many years, Medicaid programs available to elderly and disabled New Jersey residents to help pay for long-term care costs have been quite limited. The Medicaid-Only Medicaid program pays the care costs of nursing home residents. A companion program, Global Options for Long-Term Care, pays care costs for residents.. read more →

In In re Tomei Trust, in connection with a family dispute regarding ownership of a business, plaintiff sought to terminate a trust he established, in which his father was the trustee. Plaintiff claimed that his father misappropriated trust funds, and asserted that the trust termination date was August 18, 2003. Plaintiff claimed that, despite the.. read more →

In re S.H. was a contested guardianship litigation centering on who should be appointed guardian for S.H., a twenty-eight year old incapacitated woman. S.H. had lived with her mother, who “dutifully and selflessly cared for” S.H. her entire life. However, S.H.’s sister opposed their mother’s appointment , based upon the actions of the mother’s live-in boyfriend… read more →

Appearing Above, Left to Right: NAELA Board member Ron Landsman, Esq., CAP, who filed a brief for the Special Needs Alliance and argued the cause before the Court; NAELA member Donald Vanarelli, CELA, CAP, who represented Mr. Saccone and argued before the Court; and NAELA members Robert F. Brogan, CELA, CAP, and Dan Jurkovic, CELA,.. read more →

Court OKs Trusts for Disabled Kids of Cops and Firefighters NJ Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, author of the majority opinion in Thomas Saccone v. Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System For Plaintiff-Appellant Thomas Saccone: Donald D. Vanarelli (Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, attorney; Mr. Vanarelli and Whitney W. Bremer,.. read more →

This was a contested guardianship case involving S.H., called “Sarah” by the court, a 28 year old incapacitated woman. The principal issue in the case was whether Sarah’s guardian should be her mother, B.H. (Barbara), who filed the guardianship action, or J.H. (Joan), Sarah’s adult sister. Joining Joan in opposing Barbara’s appointment were: Barbara’s ex-husband,.. read more →

There are different rules regarding the imposition and repayment of Medicaid liens prior to funding special needs trusts (as opposed to the imposition and recovery of Medicaid liens from estates of deceased recipients.(Notably, the lien rules are different in the context of institutional liens (see N.J.S.A. 30:4-80.1) and DDD services (see N.J.A.C. 10:7-6.1). The differences.. read more →

The 17th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 17, 2014 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. Thank you to the 144 who attended the 17th Annual Symposium this year. As in past years, I gave the case law update at the opening plenary session by summarizing the.. read more →

In In re Estate of DeFrank, 433 N.J. Super. 258 (App. Div. Nov. 15, 2013), a New Jersey appeals court reversed a trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of a case involving ownership of joint bank accounts. The Appellate Division reasoned that ownership turned on the intent of the decedent and the relationship of the parties,.. read more →

In Estate of William Strohmenger, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2651 (App. Div. Oct. 31, 2013), the decedent left a handwritten will leaving his estate to his minor son, in trust, and nothing to his estranged wife. After his sister sought to admit the holographic will to probate, the estranged wife filed a caveat objecting.. read more →

(In the midst of my oral argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court held on February 4, 2014 on behalf of Thomas Saccone. A video of the entire oral argument can be found on my website here.)  Reversing contrary decisions by lower courts and administrative agencies, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the disabled.. read more →

In Salvemini v. Spector, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2942 (App. Div. Dec. 13, 2013), certif. denied, 217 N.J. 303 (2014), the Appellate Division rejected a legal malpractice claim filed by sons against their father’s estate planning attorney. When widower Mr. Salvemini contemplated remarriage, he and his sons went to attorneys Spector & Dimin, who.. read more →

A court of appeals in New Jersey reinstated a legal malpractice lawsuit, finding that the defendant law firm owed a duty of care to explain the terms of an agreement to a client even though they were unambiguous and the client was a sophisticated businessman who personally negotiated the agreement without assistance from defendant. Cottone.. read more →

Gifts made during the Medicaid look-back period result in a penalty, or period of ineligibility, unless the applicant can prove that the gifts were made exclusively for some purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid. S.L. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Docket No. A-3520-11T4 (App. Div., September 2, 2014) In December 2009,.. read more →

In A.H. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, 2014 N.J. Agen. LEXIS 91 (OAL Dkt. No. HMA 00531-13, Jan. 27, 2014), fifteen months elapsed between the assisted living facility resident’s application for Medicaid benefits under the “Global Options” program and the formal denial of the claim. During this time, in which there were.. read more →

The Medicaid programs in New Jersey which help residents pay long-term care costs are about to get a major overhaul. Currently, there are three (3) Medicaid programs in New Jersey that pay for long-term care costs. The Medicaid-Only Medicaid program pays the costs of caring for nursing home residents. A companion program, Global Options for.. read more →

A recent ethics opinion from the California State Bar Association, Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0004, begins as follows: “An attorney’s obligations under the ethical duty of competence evolve as new technologies develop and then become integrated with the practice of law.” Gulp! In other words, the law bans luddites, or those opposed to, or slow.. read more →

In re Estate of Klausner, 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1517 (App. Div. June 23, 2014) involved Gerald Klausner, who was appointed executor of his late uncle’s estate, and Gerald’s brother Ronald, who was one of the beneficiaries of the estate. Following his appointment as executor, Gerald discovered transactions that he believed demonstrated that Ronald.. read more →

A nursing home resident’s adult child who signs an admission agreement as the “Responsible Party” can be sued in his/her individual capacity for services rendered to the resident, if the adult child fails to use the resident’s financial resources to pay for care provided by the facility. Manahawkin Convalescent v. O’Neill, 217 N.J. 99 (2014)… read more →

New Jersey appeals court ruled pro se litigants who bungle their own cases can seek redress under the same rules as litigants whose cases are bungled by negligent lawyers. The Ridge at Back Brook v. Klenert, Docket No. A-2345-12T1 (App. Div., August 12, 2014) Plaintiff, The Ridge at Back Brook, owns an 18-hole golf course.. read more →

In a case recently decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a New Jersey ethics rule restricting lawyers from using complimentary statements by judges in attorney advertising was found to violate the constitutional right to free speech. Dwyer v. Cappell, Docket No. 13-3235 (3d Cir., August 11, 2014) In 2007,.. read more →

(In Zahner v. Mackereth (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. PA, Jan. 16, 2014), a federal district court ruled that long-term annuities, that is, annuities with payment terms of 5-years or more, purchased by Medicaid applicants were not transfers for less than fair market value and, therefore, were not subject to a penalty period, but that shorter-term annuities.. read more →

In a very unusual ruling, a New York appeals court ruled that, despite transferring significant assets to family members, an applicant still qualified for Medicaid because the transfers were made exclusively for a purpose other than to qualify for benefits. Matter of Safran v. Shah, Docket No. D42144 (App. Div., 2nd Dept., July 2, 2014).. read more →

The Uniform Law Commission, a national law group, approved a new law on July 16, 2014 which provides access to digital assets by executors, guardians, agents under powers of attorney and other fiduciaries. The purpose of the Uniform Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) is to provide fiduciaries with the authority necessary to access,.. read more →

New Jersey trial judge ruled that a litigant may not appear at trial in a divorce case through an agent appointed by the litigant in a power of attorney (POA). Marsico v Marsico, Docket No. FM-15-1152-13-N (Chancery Div., Ocean County, Hon. L.R. Jones, J.S.C.) Louis and Beverly Marsico are both in their eighties, and married.. read more →

When confronting the prospect of guardianship for a loved one, a threshold issue is who will apply to become the guardian. However, a natural concern of many prospective guardians involves the possibility that the ward might cause harm to another person or property: would the guardian be held liable for the resulting damages? The simple.. read more →

In Brill v. Velez (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. N.J., No. 1:13-cv-05643 (NLH/AMD), June 27, 2014), a federal district judge ruled that an applicant’s claim against the State of New Jersey for denying Medicaid benefits based upon the purchase of an annuity survived a motion to dismiss even though the State reversed the denial because the applicant.. read more →

In the May 30, 2014 Kongtcheu v. Secaucus Healthcare Center decision, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied the defendant nursing home’s motion to dismiss a claim against it brought by nursing home resident Philbert F. Kongtcheu. In Kongtcheu, the pro se nursing home resident brought a variety of claims.. read more →

On June 23, 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, Financial Characteristics of Approved Applicants and Methods Used to Reduce Assets to Qualify for Medicaid, which Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) requested. The GAO report confirmed that about 95% of approved.. read more →

A New Jersey trial judge dismissed a lawsuit asserted by an alleged abuser against a group of defendants who had either reported or investigated claims of elder abuse and neglect by the abuser. Rizzo v Bergen County Board of Social Services, Docket No. BER – L – 2926 – 12 (Law Div., June 10, 2014)… read more →

In the May 19, 2014 J.P. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services decision, New Jersey’s Appellate Division affirmed the final agency decision of the Director of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (“DMAHS”), resulting in the imposition of a transfer penalty on the petitioner’s Medicaid application. After the ALJ had accepted the.. read more →

Effective on July 7, 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is changing its monetary burial benefits regulations to simplify the program and pay eligible survivors quicker and more efficiently. Under the current regulations, VA pays for burial and funeral expenses on a reimbursement basis, which requires survivors to submit receipts before receiving any payments… read more →

(On June 16, 2014, I was a speaker at the 71st Semi-Annual Tax & Estate Planning Forum presented by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. My topic was entitled “House Ownership Options When a Parent and Adult Child Live Together: Tax, Medicaid and Personal Issues.” I presented a PowerPoint  slide show and a.. read more →