A federal court awarded surviving spouse benefits to the surviving partner of a same-sex couple who were prohibited from marrying because of now-unconstitutional state law that banned same-sex marriage. Thornton v. Commissioner of Social Security, Case No. C18-1409JLR, (U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, September 11, 2020) Helen Josephine Thornton and her partner, Margery.. read more →

A federal court dismissed a lawyer’s $1.5 million defamation lawsuit against Avvo, Inc., a website which compiles and maintains an electronic directory of lawyers, for posting a low attorney rating on the internet and false information that negatively impacted the lawyer’s ability to attract new clients. Straw v. Avvo, Inc., 2020 BL 326152, W.D. Wash.,.. read more →

The New Jersey Appellate Division held that the state Medicaid agency is required to screen a Medicaid recipient for eligibility for all other Medicaid programs before terminating the recipient from the Medicaid program for which the recipient is presently eligible. D.C. v. Div. of Med. Assistance & Health Servs., 2020 WL 4290056 (N.J. Super. Ct… read more →

In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that forcing a defendant to reveal the passwords to his password-protected iPhones which were properly seized by police authorities does not run afoul of the state or federal constitutions. State v. Robert Andrews, Docket No A-72-18 (NJ Supreme Ct., August 10, 2020). The.. read more →

The Director of New Jersey’s state Medicaid agency overturned prior decisions to find that, when a Medicaid applicant resides in his or her home, the date on which the applicant is found clinically eligible for Medicaid benefits is the date the Mediciad agency should use in determining financial eligibility. S.W. v. Cumberland County Board of.. read more →

Below, in chronological order, is the  annual roundup of the top 10 elder law decisions across the nation for the past year, as measured by the number of “unique page views” of the summary of the decision received on the ElderLawAnswers website. ElderLawAnswers is a web-based resource available for those in the public seeking information.. read more →

In Hegadorn v. Department of Human Services, the Michigan Supreme Court approved the use of a trust established for the sole benefit of the healthy spouse as a valid method to protect the assets of a married couple when the ill spouse is a Medicaid recipient in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. The.. read more →

A nurse’s aide at a senior care facility in southern Minnesota posted a photograph of an elderly patient with on social media with a demeaning and vulgar message did not violate state law meant to protect patient privacy, a state court ruled. Furlow v. Madonna Summit of Byron, Docket No. A19-0987 (Minn. Ct. of Appeals,.. read more →

The decedent’s daughter had been disinherited under her mother’s 2013 Last Will and Testament. Following the decedent’s death, the daughter sought to admit a 2016 draft will, in which she was a beneficiary. The decedent had contacted her attorney beginning in 2015 regarding changes to her 2013 will, and advised the attorney that she did.. read more →

On January 29, 2020, I presented at the 2020 ““Elder Law in a Day” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I presented the case law update, summarizing the most significant legal developments over the past year in the areas.. read more →

H.R., who had significant cognitive and functional deficits, was admitted to the Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare (Hammonton Center).  The Hammonton Center filed a complaint seeking the appointment of a guardian for H.R. While H.R.’s guardianship was still pending, the Hammonton Center filed a Medicaid application with the Atlantic County Board of Social Services.. read more →

P.P. had been his mother’s legal guardian, and he was executor of her estate. After her death, Medicaid asserted a statutory lien against her estate in the amount of $132,755, representing the amount of correctly paid medical assistance that had been paid on her behalf. P.P. requested a waiver or compromise of the lien based.. read more →

Happy December to clients, friends and readers. Listed below are the ten (10) eleven (11) blog posts on the Vanarelli Law Office blog with the highest readership in 2019. After each hyperlinked blog post title, the original post date and summary of the post are included. Check the list of blog posts to see this.. read more →

The issue in this appeal is whether a widow can modify the retirement application of her recently deceased husband, who was a member of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (Pension Fund), even though his application was never approved because he selected a retirement option for which he was ultimately ineligible. David and Christine Minsavage.. read more →

The decedent, Felix Fornaro, had two children: his daughter Linda (plaintiff) and his son Carmine (defendant). In December 2011, the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament leaving 80% of his estate Carmine and 10% to Linda, with the remainder passing to his grandchildren. A year later, Mr. Fornaro died. Linda challenged the 2011 will… read more →

D.N., a 38 year-old man, was seriously injured in an automobile accident, resulting in quadriplegia. D.N. cannot sit, stand, change positions on his own, or move his arms or legs. He needs to be repositioned when he sleeps to avoid bedsores and maintain skin integrity. As a result, D.N. is eligible to receive Medicaid assistance.. read more →

T.M., a 23 year old disabled woman, has spinal muscular atrophy, is paralyzed, and is dependent on a ventilator to breathe. She resides with her grandmother who is also her primary caregiver. For many years, T.M. had been receiving private duty nursing (PDN) and personal care assistance (PCA) services through Medicaid under the Early and.. read more →

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 →

Peter and his brother Sheldon are the only children of Anna Biber. Anna owned a home in Morristown, where she lived with Sheldon. In 1994, when Anna’s health began to decline, Peter was appointed her guardian. In 1998, Anna’s healthcare expenses increased significantly. Since his mother had insufficient assets to pay for care, Peter began.. read more →

New Jersey appeals court held that a nursing home does not have standing to bring a lawsuit against the daughter/power of attorney of a resident who transferred the resident’s money to herself, causing a Medicaid penalty period. Future Care Consultants v. M.D. (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-4565-17T1, July 5, 2019). M.D. cared for her.. read more →

M.M. filed for Medicaid benefits on three occasions. In June 2018, M.M. filed her first Medicaid application. Benefits were denied due to excess income; that is, her income exceeded the monthly cost of the assisted living facility (ALF) where she resided. She received $6,141.93 per month from an annuity she purchased for $73,673.11 in May.. read more →

Louis Keppel hired Donna Thomas as a home health aide. Thomas was employed by Angela’s Angels Home Healthcare and Angela’s Angels, LLC. Keppel died intestate. Dolores Guttmann and Thomas Loikith were appointed co-administrators of his estate. Guttmann and Loikith discovered that Thomas misappropriated 192 checks from Louis Keppel over a two-year period. In that regard,.. read more →

Sally Rosenthal passed away on February 16, 2015. She was unmarried, had no children and died intestate as she had never executed a will. In order to locate decedent’s potential heirs, the temporary administrators of the decedent’s estate hired an expert to conduct a genealogical search for the decedent’s family members. Although the expert attempted.. read more →

Z.P. was a resident of Aristacare at Cedar Oaks in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Z.P. filed for Medicaid benefits and was found to be medically and financially eligible as of December 1, 2016. However, Z.P. made transfers for less than fair market value within five years of the application date for Medicaid. As a result,.. read more →

A Texas appeals court held that the state could not count the assets of a Medicaid applicant as “available resources” under the Medicaid rules because the applicant was incapacitated and not able to liquidate the assets. Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. Marroney (Tx. Ct. App., No. 03-18-00190-CV, May 24, 2019). Anna Marroney suffered a.. read more →