For additional information concerning NJ elder law and special needs planning visit: http://vanarellilaw.com/legal-services/ 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 →

The Memorandum of Intent is a personal letter drafted by you intended to give your trustees insight and information regarding services, supports and other personal matters affecting the beneficiary of a special needs trust you created. This letter does not convey legally binding directions like those in a trust. Rather, a Memorandum of Intent is.. read more →

Many attorneys create trusts, and some even create special needs trusts, often using pre-written templates.  So why, you may ask, do you really need an attorney whose practice focuses on special needs planning? It is important that special needs trusts not be unnecessarily inflexible and generic, which is what can happen with a “one size.. read more →

A California court of appeals affirmed a jury award against the owner of a construction company who fraudulently induced a special needs trust trustee who was himself disabled to transfer title of the beneficiary’s family home to him, and that the conduct warranted punitive damages ten times the amount of compensatory damage award.  Haworth v… read more →

In a prior blog post, I discussed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, recently-enacted federal legislation that will allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts instead of having to rely on others.  The new law was included in the 21st Century Cures Act,  a $6.3 billion package of health-related initiatives that has also.. read more →

Parents who have a child with special needs in school will meet annually with the school district to develop an IEP (Individualized Education Program), a document that outlines the educational program and special services their child will receive.  (Although the IEP team must meet annually, meetings can be scheduled any time at the request of.. read more →

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, federal legislation that will allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts instead of having to rely on others, has been signed into law by President Obama.  The measure was included in the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3 billion package of health-related initiatives that has also.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper,.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper, I divided.. read more →

On November 15, 2016, I presented at the Second Annual Caring for Caregivers Conference at the East Rutherford Community Center. The first section of my presentation focused on guardianship law in New Jersey, Public Benefit Basics, and the use of Special Needs Trusts by parents of adult disabled children. The powerpoint slides I prepared for.. read more →

VA Survivor Benefit Plans and Special Needs Trusts

The VA’s Survivor Benefit Plan Program The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides eligible beneficiaries with a monthly annuity payment for the lifetime of the beneficiary. The amount of the benefit is a percentage of the veteran’s retirement benefit. Election to participate in an SBP is generally made.. read more →

“Use of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce”  to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., who will also act as Moderator of the Symposium Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will moderate and present at the Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium given by the New Jersey Institute.. read more →

Reversing a federal district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a state housing authority cannot count distributions from a special needs trust as income in determining eligibility under the Section 8 housing voucher program. DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (1st Cir., Nos. 15-1458, 15-1515, June 14, 2016). Kimberly DeCambre, a disabled,.. 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: http://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 →

The mission of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP) is to maintain a professional organization of attorneys skilled in the complex areas of public entitlements, estate, trust and tax planning, and the legal issues involving individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. The ASNP recently announced the addition of a new brochure titled “10 Costly Mistakes.. read more →

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission (“NJLRC”) is an independent legislative commission of the State that engages in an ongoing review of statutes and case law, in order to remedy defects and clarify confusing language in those statutes. The NJLRC is proposing a revision to the New Jersey statutes in order to codify the Supreme.. read more →

Happy New Year to clients, supporters, friends and readers. Last month, an article on this blog ranked the 25 most popular blog posts and website articles on the Vanarelli Law Office website in 2015. Since then, I decided to narrow my focus a little. In this post, I focused solely on blog posts, and created.. read more →

The New Jersey Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act became law today. Under the new Act, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services and the Department of the Treasury are required to establish the ABLE Program pursuant to federal law. Under the program, persons who became disabled before age 26 and are found to meet.. read more →

As explained in previous blog posts here, here and here, an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account is a tax-advantaged account that can be used to save funds for the disability-related expenses of the account’s designated beneficiary, who must be blind or disabled by a condition that began prior to the individual’s 26th birthday… read more →

In this case, a Medicaid application filed by the beneficiary of a special needs trust was denied by the Medicaid agency and upheld on appeal because the special needs trust, funded with the proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit but lacking a Medicaid payback provision, violated applicable law. D.W. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J… 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 →

The decedent, Tracy Solivan, had been disabled at birth as a result of medical malpractice at a Hudson County hospital. Her parents had obtained a $172,400 settlement on her behalf, which was held in the Hudson County Surrogate’s account until she turned eighteen. In 2002, after she turned 18, Tracy Solivan’s mother was appointed as.. read more →

The 18th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 29, 2015 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. As in past years, I presented the case law update at the opening plenary session. This year I summarized 30 elder and disability law cases decided from September 2014 through August.. read more →

A federal district court concluded that a decision of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to permanently discontinue a recipient’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of temporary mismanagement of a special needs trust required remand to the agency for reconsideration of whether the trust is forever an includable resource. Elias v. Colvin (M.D. Pa., No. 3:15-CV-263,.. read more →