On September 13, 2017, Governor Christie signed legislation known as the “Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.” In doing so, New Jersey joined 23 other states which have already have enacted a version of the law. The new law recognizes a fiduciary’s right to control a decedent’s digital assets. Under the new law, a.. read more →

In a major new ethics opinion, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility indicated that lawyers must take reasonable efforts to ensure that communications with clients are secure and not subject to inadvertent or unauthorized security breaches. Notably, and for the first time, the opinion says that, in some circumstances, lawyers would.. read more →

New Jersey’s Medicaid rules are complicated, and always changing. One such change in the rules occurring on a regular basis is the State Medicaid agency’s amendment to the Medicaid program’s “penalty divisor.”  On May 12, 2017, a Medicaid Communication, or notice from the agency, was released by New Jersey’s Division of Medical Assistance and Health.. read more →

New Jersey’s ABLE law (the acronym is short for “Achieving a Better Life Experience”) went into effect a few months ago, in October 2016.  Under the new law, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services and the Department of the Treasury are required to establish the ABLE Program pursuant to federal law. Persons who became disabled.. read more →

New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) released a Consumer Brief on Medicaid Advisors/Application Assistors. Medicaid Advisors/Application Assistors are non-lawyers who provide limited services without payment or compensation in connection with Medicaid applications. According to the DCA Consumer Brief, the limited services which Medicaid Advisors/Application Assistors may perform include the following: providing information on insurance.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) published two final regulations that will have significant impacts on the disability determination process for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on the basis of disability. The first set of regulations, Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical.. read more →

The federal Nursing Home Reform Law was enacted in 1987, and became effective in October 1990. The Reform Law governs any nursing facility that accepts reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid, and applies to all residents in any such facility, regardless of the individual resident’s payment source. In other words, the law applies whether the resident’s.. read more →

New Jersey lawmakers reached an agreement on Friday, September 30th which, among other things, will phase out New Jersey’s state estate tax. The New Jersey estate tax exemption, presently $675,000, will increase to $2 million after January 1, 2017. The estate tax will then be eliminated after January 1, 2018. An official vote on an estate.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently published new guidelines mandating that the agency issue detailed notices when individuals are determined to be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of excess resources that include a countable trust. The public was notified of the new guidelines via internal agency instructions published in an Emergency Message… read more →

Below are figures for 2016 that are frequently used in the elder law practice or are of interest to clients. Medicaid Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Figures for 2016 These figures are unchanged from 2015.  The minimum community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) is $23,844 and the maximum CSRA remains $119,220. The maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $2,980.50. The minimum monthly.. read more →

(Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. in the midst of oral argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court. A video of the entire oral argument can be found on the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli website.) ‘Elder and Disability Law Update’ and ‘Veteran Benefits Workshop’ to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning.. read more →

In a recent press release, the Internal Revenue Service announced the release of proposed regulations implementing a new federal law authorizing states to offer tax-favored ABLE accounts to people with disabilities who became disabled before age 26. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) legislation was signed into law in December 2014. ABLE accounts are.. 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 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act became law on December 19, 2014. The new law creates an option for people with disabilities and their families to save for the future, while protecting eligibility for public benefits, without creating a special needs trust or similar estate planning instrument. What is an ABLE Account? .. read more →

By notice contained in Medicaid Communication 14 – 15 issued on December 19, 2014, the State of New Jersey formally announced the official end of the Medicaid Medically-Needy program. Medically-Needy Medicaid no longer accepted applications after November 30, 2014. Beginning on December 1, 2014, individuals seeking Medicaid to pay nursing home costs as well as home.. read more →

Earlier in December, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, or the ABLE Act. The ABLE Act provides individuals with special needs and disabilities to own tax-free savings accounts while preserving their needs-based government benefits. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law. Beginning in 2015, the disabled 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Trial lawyers must know where the ethical line is drawn between properly investigating jurors and improperly communicating with them. In today’s Internet-saturated world, the line is increasingly blurred. Therefore, the ethics committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) recently issued an opinion describing a trial lawyer’s ethical obligation when reviewing jurors’ information on the Internet in.. read more →

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an historic effort by the government to extend medical insurance coverage to all Americans, increase the quality of care, increase accountability, and reduce cost. It’s been said that the ACA changes the relationship between government, health care providers and all who receive health care in the U.S. However, at.. read more →

As a result of the advocacy efforts by several New Jersey elder law attorneys following a class action lawsuit filed against the State of New Jersey, New Jersey Medicaid’s penalty divisor will be increased to $9,535.62 per month, or $313.50 per day, effective April 1, 2014. The newly increased divisor shall be used for all new or pending.. read more →

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a letter (CMS Letter SMD-14-001) to States with guidance on how to apply Medicaid’s estate recovery and transfer of asset rules to individuals newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In general, most of the long-term care rules that apply to traditional.. read more →