Many attorneys create trusts, and some even create special needs trusts, often using pre-written templates.  So why, you may ask, do you really need an attorney whose practice focuses on special needs planning? It is important that special needs trusts not be unnecessarily inflexible and generic, which is what can happen with a “one size.. read more →

A California court of appeals affirmed a jury award against the owner of a construction company who fraudulently induced a special needs trust trustee who was himself disabled to transfer title of the beneficiary’s family home to him, and that the conduct warranted punitive damages ten times the amount of compensatory damage award.  Haworth v… read more →

In a prior blog post, I discussed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, recently-enacted federal legislation that will allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts instead of having to rely on others.  The new law was included in the 21st Century Cures Act,  a $6.3 billion package of health-related initiatives that has also.. read more →

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, federal legislation that will allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts instead of having to rely on others, has been signed into law by President Obama.  The measure was included in the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3 billion package of health-related initiatives that has also.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper,.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper, I divided.. read more →

On November 15, 2016, I presented at the Second Annual Caring for Caregivers Conference at the East Rutherford Community Center. The first section of my presentation focused on guardianship law in New Jersey, Public Benefit Basics, and the use of Special Needs Trusts by parents of adult disabled children. The powerpoint slides I prepared for.. read more →

VA Survivor Benefit Plans and Special Needs Trusts

The VA’s Survivor Benefit Plan Program The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides eligible beneficiaries with a monthly annuity payment for the lifetime of the beneficiary. The amount of the benefit is a percentage of the veteran’s retirement benefit. Election to participate in an SBP is generally made.. read more →

“Use of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce”  to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., who will also act as Moderator of the Symposium Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will moderate and present at the Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium given by the New Jersey Institute.. read more →

Reversing a federal district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a state housing authority cannot count distributions from a special needs trust as income in determining eligibility under the Section 8 housing voucher program. DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (1st Cir., Nos. 15-1458, 15-1515, June 14, 2016). Kimberly DeCambre, a disabled,.. 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 →

The mission of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) is to maintain a professional organization of attorneys skilled in the complex areas of public entitlements, estate, trust and tax planning, and the legal issues involving individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. The ASNP recently announced the addition of a new brochure titled “10 Costly Mistakes.. read more →

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission (“NJLRC”) is an independent legislative commission of the State that engages in an ongoing review of statutes and case law, in order to remedy defects and clarify confusing language in those statutes. The NJLRC is proposing a revision to the New Jersey statutes in order to codify the Supreme.. read more →

The New Jersey Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act became law today. Under the new Act, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services and the Department of the Treasury are required to establish the ABLE Program pursuant to federal law. Under the program, persons who became disabled before age 26 and are found to meet.. read more →

In this case, a Medicaid application filed by the beneficiary of a special needs trust was denied by the Medicaid agency and upheld on appeal because the special needs trust, funded with the proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit but lacking a Medicaid payback provision, violated applicable law. D.W. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J… 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 →

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 →

After advocates criticized the Social Security Administration (SSA) for refusing to allow court-established Special Needs Trust to qualify as exempt resources for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes, the SSA has issued an Administrative Message, AM-15032, clarifying its policy regarding these trusts. The Administrative Message explains that the rejection of court-established Special Needs Trust is appropriate.. read more →

The 17th Annual Elder Law Retreat, presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association Elder and Disability Law Section, was held on April 21 – 23, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA. At least two significant events occurred at the Retreat this year. First, I was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing my “advocacy in elder and.. read more →

A federal district court ruled that a public housing authority properly counted distributions from a special needs trust as income in concluding that the beneficiary of the trust was ineligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (D. Mass., No. 14-13425-WGY, March 25, 2015) Kimberly DeCambre, a disabled, 59 year old resident.. read more →

On February 3, 2015, U.S. Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) in the House, along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the Senate introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015 (H.R.670/S.349). This legislation would enable a disabled individual’s assets to be held in a trust and.. read more →

On December 12, 2014, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA). Among other provisions in the NDAA, Section 624 protects the disabled children of military families by allowing their parents’ survivor benefits to go into a special needs trust. This new law permits a disabled child to benefit from a parent’s military.. read more →

On December 3rd, I presented at the 72nd Semi-Annual Tax and Estate Planning Forum sponsored by the NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education. My presentation focused on recent developments in planning for disabled beneficiaries, including my recent victory in the New Jersey Supreme Court in the Thomas Saccone v. Board of Trustees of the Police and.. read more →

Reversing a trial court, an appeals court ruled that a beneficiary’s Social Security benefits, though deposited each month into a special needs trust, were correctly counted as income by Louisiana’s Medicaid agency. Moore v. Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals (La.App.Ct.1st Cir., No. 2014CA0422, Nov. 7, 2014). Jess Moore, a disabled resident of Louisiana, lived in.. read more →

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 →