Clients often come to my office seeking a solution to the following problem: the client has lost Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid coverage due to the receipt of Social Security benefits on a parent’s record based upon the retirement, death or disability of the parent. The client asks if it’s possible to continue receiving.. read more →

Contrary to popular opinion, under the law of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states, an unlimited gifting authority in a power of attorney does not protect the agent from criminal liability for self-dealing. A recent appeals court decision in Pennsylvania demonstrates this legal principal. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Patton David L. Patton was arrested in.. read more →

72nd Semi Annual Tax and Estate Planning Forum Presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education Wed, Dec 3 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM $220.00 General Tuition S12700W5 Location: Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel 515 US Highway 1 South Iselin, NJ (732) 634-3600 Don’t miss out – register today to hear from a virtual “who’s who”.. read more →

New Jersey Medicaid may not count IRAs, 401(k) and pension plans owned by the spouse of an applicant in determining eligibility if funds may be withdrawn only by borrowing against the retirement assets. Avery v. Union County Division of Social Services Rose Avery admitted her husband, Friend Avery, to a nursing home in July 1997. After.. read more →

As discussed in a prior blog post, a major overhaul of Medicaid will be introduced in New Jersey in the coming months. The new Medicaid program is called Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). The MLTSS implementation date has been repeatedly adjourned, and the next date scheduled to put the new program into effect.. read more →

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli is proud to announce that Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. has been named as a “Super Lawyer” on the 2015 New Jersey Super Lawyers list. This is the 9th consecutive year in which Mr. Vanarelli has been named to the Super Lawyers list in New Jersey. The Super Lawyers website.. read more →

An issue concerning the payment of college tuition arose in a recent case that may be of interest to readers of this blog. In this case, the mother, who is my client, adopted two children later in life. Both children are now attending college. In the past few years, the mother has been paying college.. read more →

An appeal of a claim for Medicaid benefits that was filed late may be considered when the applicant shows that the filing deadline should be extended due to “extraordinary and extenuating circumstances.” Reuter v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Docket No. A-0514-13T2 (App. Div., October 17, 2014) Plaintiff, Greta Reuter, a nursing home.. read more →

REVISED ATTORNEY ADVERTISING GUIDELINE 3 ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENTS: USE OF QUOTATIONS OR EXCERPTS FROM JUDICIAL OPINIONS ABOUT THE LEGAL ABILITIES OF AN ATTORNEY The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved the attached revised version of Attorney Advertising Guideline 3, “Attorney Advertisements: Use of Quotations or Excerpts from Judicial Opinions about the Legal Abilities of an Attorney,”.. 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 →

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 →