Moses Ratowsky created an irrevocable trust for the benefit of his grandson, Daniel Schreiber (hereinafter the grandson). Petitioners, the co-trustees of the irrevocable trust, filed an application to appoint the principal of the trust to a new special needs trust that would allow the grandson to retain the benefits of the original trust while preserving.. read more →

In 1990, Irving Helsel established the “The 1990 Irving Helsel Family Trust” (the Trust), which included the “Irving Helsel Family Trust” (Family Trust) and the “Irving Helsel Exempt Trust” (Exempt Trust). He designated his children, Frederic and Bonnie, as beneficiaries of the Family Trust. The Family Trust allowed for distribution of the principal to Bonnie.. read more →

This blog post discusses recent changes in how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates disbursements from trusts, particularly special needs trusts. SSA regulations are published by the agency and compiled in the Program Operations Manual System (POMS). The POMS is a primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social.. read more →

The decedent was estranged from her daughter Cheryl, the defendant, for almost 25 years, but they reconciled shortly before her death, when the decedent was ill. In 1996, the decedent and her husband had executed wills and a trust, excluding Cheryl from their estates. In 2006, the decedent and her husband consulted with a special.. read more →

Following the decedent’s death, Bank of America became successor trustee of four trusts created by the decedent. In 2016, the decedent’s children filed complaints against the bank, seeking accountings for the trusts. The bank submitted accountings and a complaint seeking court approval of the accountings. The decedent’s children then filed another complaint, seeking another accounting.. read more →

The decedent was survived by her incapacitated son, for whom the decedent had previously been appointed guardian. Following the decedent’s death, there was protracted litigation regarding the estate, a related trust, and the guardianship, which spanned four years. At the conclusion of the litigation, the attorneys involved submitted fee applications, seeking to be awarded payment.. read more →

A New Jersey appellate court ruled that a court can alter the plain and unambiguous language of a trust when extrinsic evidence suggests that the trust language is not what the settlor intended. In the Matter of the Trust of Violet Nelson, Deceased, Docket No. A-4004-15T1 (App. Div. March 28, 2018). Violet and Joseph Nelson had.. read more →

In this case, the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS), New Jersey’s state Medicaid agency, affirmed the denial of a Medicaid application filed by Grace M. Vinci (G.V.) by the Monmouth County Division of Social Services (MCDSS) finding that G.V. had resources in excess of $2,000 available to her, namely, resources contained in.. read more →

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: https://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 →