In 1992, Ann Mark created two irrevocable trusts for the benefit of her three children. In 1997, Jared Scharf became the successor trustee for the trusts, and used some of those assets to form a separate trust for each of Ms. Mark’s three children. Each of the trusts stated that they were governed by New.. read more →

The decedent, Evelyn Berry, had been married twice. At the time of her death, the two children of her first marriage (Darryl and Tara) were adults. The two children of her second marriage (Garrett and Brook) were minors. Evelyn’s will included a testamentary trust for the maintenance, support and education of Garrett and Brook. Darryl.. read more →

  The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli provides Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning Attorney Services throughout the State of New Jersey. See: http://vanarellilaw.com/special-needs-disability-planning/ Elder Law topics covered in this video include Guardianships, Conservatorships, Power of Attorney, Representative Payeeships (SSA and SSI), Joint Tenancies (including joint bank accounts), Advance Medical Directives (living wills), Do.. read more →

In re Trusts for Stefanidis-Perez is a consolidated case involving two trusts in which the plaintiff is the beneficiary and the defendant (plaintiff’s mother) is the trustee. The plaintiff-beneficiary moved for partial summary judgment seeking to compel an accounting and seeking the removal of the defendant-trustee, and the defendant-trustee cross-moved for summary judgment for advice.. read more →

In this will contest involving the doctrine of probable intent, Hon. Robert P. Contillo, P.J.Ch. ruled that a court cannot alter the language of a trust that is plain and unambiguous even when extrinsic evidence strongly suggests that the trust language is not what the settlor intended. Violet and Joseph Nelson had three children: Jacob.. read more →

An appeals court holds that the Massachusetts Medicaid is not required to recognize the reformation of an applicant’s trust after the original trust was considered an available asset. Needham v. Director of Medicaid (Mass. Ct. App., No. 14-P-182, Oct. 20, 2015). Maurice Needham, a Massachusetts resident, created two trusts. The first, a revocable trust, held the family.. 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 →

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 →

A Pennsylvania appeals court held that beneficiaries omitted from trust have standing to sue the attorney who prepared the trust as third-party beneficiaries if they can show they were intended beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. Agnew v. Ross (PA Superior Ct., No. 2195 EDA 2014, February 2, 2015) In 2003, Robert H. Agnew hired attorney Daniel.. read more →

As a general rule, an attorney hired to prepare a will or trust for a client is usually not liable to the beneficiaries of the will or trust because the beneficiaries are not clients of the attorney. But there are exceptions to the general rule. The general rule and its exceptions are demonstrated in two.. 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 →

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 →

Video of Oral Argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Thomas Saccone v. Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System held on February 4, 2014 in Trenton, NJ. Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., legal counsel for Thomas Saccone, a retired Newark, NJ fireman with a severely disabled adult child who receives Medicaid.. read more →

The annual roundup of the top 10 11 elder law decisions from across the country for 2013 as prepared by staff at the ElderLawAnswers website is reproduced below. Almost all the cases hinged on the interpretation of state or federal Medicaid law.  Those purchasing annuities or transferring property in exchange for a promissory note did.. read more →

On March 13, 2013, the highest court of our state granted my Petition for Certification, in which I asked the Supreme Court to consider the case of a retired fireman and his continuing battle to conduct estate planning for the benefit of his severely disabled son. This is the second time the Supreme Court has.. read more →

Justice Laura L. Jacobson, a  New York trial judge, held that a trustee of a special needs trust breached its fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiary and ordered reimbursement of nearly $180,000 that was misspent on private caregivers, cab rides, and medications that could have been obtained from needs-based government sources.  Liranzo v. LI Jewish.. read more →

The following post contains a summary of the noteworthy trust cases decided by New Jersey courts in the past year and a half, in chronological order. I also included links to the articles about the cases posted on this blog.  (1)    Pfeifer v. Langone, 2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 429 (App. Div. Feb. 29, 2012)… read more →

Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted a Petition for Certification I filed asking the Court to review a decision of the appellate division denying a request by my client, a retired fireman, to designate as beneficiary of his public pension death benefits a special needs trust he established in his Last Will and Testament. This.. read more →

The New Jersey Supreme Court has directed that the Court’s function in construing a decedent’s will is “to ascertain and give effect to the ‘probable intention of the testator.’” Fidelity Union Trust Co. v. Robert, 36 N.J. 561, 564 (1962) (further citations omitted). This function applies to the enforcement of the testator’s intent regarding testamentary.. read more →

A California appeals court ruled that a trial court inappropriately awarded trustee fees to the successor trustee of a special needs trust despite clear language in the trust prohibiting a successor trustee from receiving a fee. As a result, the trustee did not receive any of his fees that had totaled over six figures. Thorpe v… read more →

Until recently, estate planners have typically created estate plans by using a number of sophisticated planning techniques. One common technique involved the creation of a testamentary credit shelter trust in the Last Will and Testament of the spouse who dies first. A credit shelter trust is a trust for the benefit of the spouse, or.. read more →

As we age, the decrease in independence and concurrent increasing need for care which often occur can be a source of stress and conflict in many families. Adult children who must provide care to aging parents or who must make health care or financial decisions for dependent family members face tremendous challenges. Care-giving and decision-making.. read more →

For the past several years, I have represented Thomas Saccone, a retired Newark, NJ firefighter with a severely disabled adult child named Anthony. Anthony lives with his parents, is unable to work, has been found to be totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, and for many years has received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and.. read more →

In a recent precedential decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Judicial Circuit held that laws passed by the State of Pennsylvania designed to regulate special needs trusts (SNT) which placed greater restrictions on the SNTs than were contained in federal law governing SNTs “transgress[ed] federal intent” and were preempted by federal.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently revised four sections of the Program Operations Manual System (POMS).  The POMS is a primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Most of the changes to the POMS sections were administrative in nature. However, the.. read more →