Currently, the value of assets passing to heirs upon the death of a U.S. citizen free of federal estate taxes, called the federal estate tax exemption amount, is $5.12 million dollars per person. This federal estate tax exemption amount is valid through the end of 2012. In the past, upon the death of the first.. read more →

Earlier this year the New York State Legislature, prompted by the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team, amended Section 369 of the Social Services Law to increase New York’s right to recover money from the estate of a deceased Medicaid recipient. The amendment expands the definition of the term “estate” in the Medicaid Law to include non-probate.. read more →

At the time of the Court’s decision, Marie Fecoskay was an 87 year old woman who had been admitted to the hospital because of an infection. A few days after admission, Mrs. Fecoskay went into cardiac arrest, became comatose as a result of oxygen deprivation and was placed on a ventilator with feeding tube. The.. read more →

Same-sex domestic partners are closer to receiving the spousal protections that opposite-sex married couples get when they receive long-term care through Medicaid — that is, the healthy partner soon may be able to keep some of the ill partner’s money and remain in the same-sex partners’ home. In New Jersey like most states, nursing-home residents.. read more →

The Veterans Benefits Act of 2010, Public Law 111-275, made a few relatively minor changes in veterans’ benefits laws that might be of interest to readers. None of the changes in the law go into effect until October 1, 2011. A few of the changes in the law follow: 1. There will be a cost-of-living.. read more →

A recent amendment to Section 369 of the Social Services law expands the list of assets which are considered to be in an individual’s “estate,” against which Medicaid could make a claim for recovery, to also include jointly held property, retained life estates, interests in trusts and any other property in which the individual has.. read more →

(The 13th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 29, 2010 at the New Jersey Law Center, in New Brunswick, NJ. This year I was asked to give the case law update at the opening session, summarizing the most significant legal developments over the past year in the areas of elder and.. read more →

Many third-party and self-settled special needs trusts (SNTs) contain “termination on ineligibility and distribute to family members” clauses. These clauses, called “early termination provisions”, are common trust provisions. When used in special needs trusts, the “early termination provisions” cause the trust to terminate before the death of the disabled beneficiary in order to prevent the.. read more →

As many readers know, Medicaid applicants are subject to the imposition of a penalty, or a period of ineligibility for Medicaid, when gifts, called “transfers for less than fair market value” in the regulations, are made at any time during the five year period prior to the date on which the Medicaid application is filed,.. read more →

The Treasury Department and the four major benefit agencies, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Railroad Retirement Board, are jointly releasing new rules which prevent banks from seizing Social Security and other federal benefits from customers facing debt collectors. The new rules would.. read more →

A North Carolina appeals court recently held that assets owned by an incompetent Medicaid recipient which were discovered by her family after she had been receiving Medicaid benefits for several years were countable and that the family must repay the benefits already paid on the Medicaid recipient’s behalf. Ella Mae Cloninger suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.. read more →

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) has proposed a bill that would eliminate the use of the word “retarded” in all federal programs. The new bill would replace the phrase “mental retardation,” which is used in many important pieces of federal legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, with the term.. read more →

New Jerseyans with an autism spectrum disorder gained two laws recently which, it is hoped, will give them a better chance to lead meaningful, productive and independent lives. The first of the new laws, A-4226, expands New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law, the Law Against Discrimination, to ensure that no one who has autism and related neurological.. read more →

An amendment to a military act gives spouses of military personnel new residency rights, creating income and estate tax planning opportunities for military families. Because military families move, on average, every three years, the families often have to pay taxes in a new state or locality and lose the right to vote in the place.. read more →

Starting January 1, 2010, New Jersey joins 42 other states by requiring continuing legal education for every lawyer licensed to practice in the State, including judges, law school professors and in-house counsel. Under a newly adopted court rule, Rule 1:42, New Jersey lawyers must take a minimum of 24 hours of continuing legal education courses.. read more →

Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been late in getting approved by Congress in 20 of the last 23 years, which has affected the planning of veterans’ health care programs. This month, the President signed into law H.R. 1016, an act entitled The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of.. read more →

Gov. Jon Corzine recently signed into law new legislation that requires fiduciaries of estates for developmentally disabled individuals to post bonds in Superior Court as a safeguard against theft and other improper conduct. The bill, S-550 , sponsored by Sen. Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, goes into effect in 60 days. S-550 requires that the amount of.. read more →

The House has voted to give the disabled, as well as gays and lesbians, federal protection from hate crimes. The new legislation also makes it a new federal crime to attack U.S. service members because of their sexual orientation. With passage by the Senate expected, federal prosecutors will, for the first time, be able to.. read more →

A new New York form updating and replacing the old New York Power of Attorney form has been developed and is available below on this blog. Also available on this blog is the new New York Statutory Major Gifts Rider form that must be completed in order to grant an agent under a power of.. read more →

Under the law passed by President Bush, the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRA”), there is no estate tax in 2010, and estates pay only capital gains tax; then the estate tax returns with a $1 million exemption in 2011. President Obama wants to prevent this one year gap by making the.. read more →

According to the June 8, 2009 edition of the Star-Ledger newspaper, two-thirds of New Jersey’s hospitals stand to lose money under a proposal that would change how the state doles out $400 million for patients on Medicaid. The change, slated to occur this August, has nothing to do with New Jersey’s budget woes. It’s being.. read more →

Parents who abuse, abandon, neglect or cause the death of their children will be ineligible for alimony and for inheritance benefits from their children’s estates, under a new state law signed by Gov. Jon Corzine on April 17 that takes effect in July. The new law amends N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23 to deny alimony to a person.. read more →

President Bush’s tax cut law passed in 2001, called the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Pub.L. 107-16, 115 Stat. 38, June 7, 2001 (hereafter “EGTRRA”) gradually phased out the estate tax by raising the exemption level and reducing the top rate; in 2009, only estates valued at more than $3.5 million.. read more →

The economic stimulus bill, which President Obama signed yesterday, dramatically ramps up spending for a broad array of social programs for needy and disabled Americans. The bill raises federal spending for schools that serve largely low-income students from $14 billion to more than $27 billion. Federal support for special education, an area where local school.. read more →

An annuity is a type of insurance product in which an insurer, in exchange for charges (akin to premiums), makes a series of income payments at regular intervals over a set period. Senior citizens and other consumers often obtain annuity coverage for use as future retirement income. Because nearly $15 trillion dollars is invested by.. read more →