News and Events

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. Will Present At The 22nd Annual Elder And Disability Law Symposium

22nd Annual Elder And Disability Law Symposium

The COVID Cloud: Pandemic Practice Tips for the Elder Law and Special Needs Practitioner

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 22nd Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium to be held via ZOOM Webinar on December 1, 2020 by the New Jersey State Bar Association Elder and Disability Law Section and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

Mr. Vanarelli will speak on planning to attain eligibility for pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Unlike VA compensation, VA pension benefits are not limited to veterans who were injured while serving in the armed forces. Rather, veterans who served for as little as 90 days and are over age 65 or disabled are potentially eligible for a VA pension.  For additional information regarding this event, attorneys may contact the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at http://www.njicle.com/.

For additional information regarding VA benefit planning and applications, as well as elder law and estate planning issues, contact the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli at 908-232-7400, or visit online at http://VanarelliLaw.com/.

Format/Skill Level: Webinar
Location: Online
Date: December 1, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM ET

Moderator/Speaker:
Crystal West Edwards, CELA, Esq.
Past President, NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, PC,  Morristown
Gary Mazart, Esq.
Past Chair, NJSBA Elder and Disability Law Section
Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP, Florham Park, Paramus and Sparta

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Speakers include:
Melissa Abu-Adas, Esq.
Brogan Law Group, Brick
Lauren S. Marinaro, Esq.
Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg, LLC, Clark
Ryann M. Siclari, Esq.
Central Jersey Legal Services, Inc., Trenton
Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq.
Past Chair, NJSBA Elder and Disability Law Section
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, by the NJ State Bar Association
Certified Elder Law Attorney, Accredited by the American Bar Association
Accredited Veterans Attorney, by the Department of Veterans Affairs
The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Westfield
Jordan M. Wassel, Esq.
Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP, Florham Park, Paramus and Sparta
Shirley Berger Whitenack, Esq.
Past President, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
NJSBA Trustee
Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP,, Florham Park, Paramus and Sparta

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NJICLE’s Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium is a unique program for truly every Elder and Disability Law attorney.The program will begin with an update on the recent case law and legislation involved in this practice area.

After you get the latest on the law, you’ll have the opportunity to select from a series of “no-fluff” workshops geared to your specific level of practice, featuring segments for novice, intermediate and seasoned practitioners. Led by experienced practitioners, each workshop will provide essential information and key practice tips with a focus on COVID-19 issues.

The day will conclude with a presentation on diversity and inclusion so you can get a jump on the new mandatory diversity ethics credits.

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Program Agenda:
9:00 Opening Remarks
9:05 Case Law and Legislative Update – Lauren S. Marinaro, Esq.
9:40 Medicaid Math and Methodology – Ryann Siclari, Esq.
10:20 Surrogate Decision Making – Melissa Abu-Adas, Esq.
11:00 The Contested Case – Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq.
11:40 Resources Review for Adults with Disabilities – Crystal Edwards, Esq., CELA
12:15 Luncheon
12:45 Estate and Gift Tax Planning: 20/20 vision – Gary Mazart, Esq.; Jordan M. Wassel, Esq.
2:25 VA Planning after 2 years in the rearview – Donald Vanarelli, Esq.
3:05 Ethics/Keynote – Equity and Inclusion Panel
3:55 Closing Remarks
4:00 Adjourn

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CLE Credits:
NJ CLE information: This program has been approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 6.7 hours of total CLE credit. Of these, 1.0 qualify as hours of credit for ethics/professionalism 


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Donald D. Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Certified by the National Elder Law Foundation, an ABA-certifying organization. In addition to being one of only about 500 attorneys who have been Certified in Elder Law in the United States, Mr. Vanarelli is also one of about 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, selected for this honor by his fellow practitioners.

Don also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished service who has made significant contributions in the field of elder and disability law throughout his or her career. Don is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney,  an Accredited Professional Mediator and a Past Chair of the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Don is actively involved in trial advocacy on behalf of elderly and disabled citizens, and has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court.  Don was lead counsel representing the plaintiff in a seminal estate planning / guardianship / Medicaid planning case entitled In re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted guardians to engage in public benefits planning to obtain Medicaid eligibility for their wards. Don also represented the plaintiff in a pivotal case entitled Saccone v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 219 N.J. 369 (2014) in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted a special needs trust to be designated as the beneficiary of a state pension. Don was also co-counsel representing the plaintiff in Galletta v. Velez, Civil No. 13-532 (D.N.J. June 3, 2014) in which a federal court ruled, for the first time, that a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be counted as income in determining Medicaid eligibility.

Don represents seniors and disabled persons in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

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Super Lawyers Recognizes Donald D. Vanarelli For The 15th Consecutive Year

We are pleased to announce that Donald D. Vanarelli has been recognized as a 2021 New Jersey Super Lawyer in Elder Law. This is the 15th consecutive year in which Mr. Vanarelli has been named to New Jersey’s Super Lawyers list.

The selection to Super Lawyers is the result of independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.  Bar associations and courts across the country have recognized the legitimacy of the Super Lawyers selection process. Of the more than 85,000 attorneys practicing in New Jersey, only 5% are named to the Super Lawyers list each year.

Elder Law, which includes Special Needs Planning, is a legal specialty focusing on the legal needs of seniors and people with disabilities. The major legal practice areas within Elder Law and Special Needs Planning include estate planning and trust administration; probate litigation and will contests; disability planning, including guardianships and special needs trusts; the protection of the elderly and disabled against abuse, neglect, and  exploitation; and, public benefits planning for long-term care, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and Veterans benefits.

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli congratulates Mr. Vanarelli on being named to the Super Lawyers List in New Jersey in 2021, for the 15th consecutive year.

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Donald D. Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Certified by the National Elder Law Foundation, an ABA-certifying organization. In addition to being one of only about 500 attorneys who have been Certified in Elder Law in the United States, Mr. Vanarelli is also one of about 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, selected for this honor by his fellow practitioners.

Don also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished service who has made significant contributions in the field of elder and disability law throughout his or her career. Don is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney,  an Accredited Professional Mediator and a Past Chair of the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Don is actively involved in trial advocacy on behalf of elderly and disabled citizens, and has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court.  Don was lead counsel representing the plaintiff in a seminal estate planning / guardianship / Medicaid planning case entitled In re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted guardians to engage in public benefits planning to obtain Medicaid eligibility for their wards. Don also represented the plaintiff in a pivotal case entitled Saccone v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 219 N.J. 369 (2014) in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted a special needs trust to be designated as the beneficiary of a state pension. Don was also co-counsel representing the plaintiff in Galletta v. Velez, Civil No. 13-532 (D.N.J. June 3, 2014) in which a federal court ruled, for the first time, that a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be counted as income in determining Medicaid eligibility.

Don represents seniors and disabled persons in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

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Upcoming Public Estate Planning and Elder Law Webinars

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. to Present at the 2018 "Elder Law in a Day" Seminar

Upcoming FREE Webinar

Learn How to Protect Your Assets from the Catastrophic Costs of Probate, Long-Term Care and Nursing Home Expenses

Date: October 15, 2020 at 4:00 PM Eastern Time (expected to last approximately 2 hours, depending on Q & A)

Attorney Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. will present at the Live Webinar. Don is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and an Accredited Veterans Attorney. Don is also the Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association, Elder and Disability Law Section. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished service who has made significant contributions in the field of elder and disability law throughout his or her career. The Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded in 2015, recognized Mr. Vanarelli’s advocacy in elder and disability law, including a number of precedent-setting legal victories in the New Jersey Supreme Court and federal litigation which advanced the rights of seniors and persons with disabilities.

Webinar Topics:

Learn How You Can Utilize Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Veterans Benefits, and Private Long-Term Care Insurance To Protect The Assets Of New Jersey Families From Catastrophic Long-Term Care Expenses And Nursing Home Costs.
Webinar Will Be Followed By A Question and Answer Session
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Call (908) 232-7400 and ask for Marion, or fill out the “Contact Us” form HERE to make reservations for this FREE WEBINAR on October 15th 

This webinar is free but reservations are required.  Space is limited so call or register using the “Contact Us” form.

Please note: Your information is held in the strictest confidence and is never provided to third parties without your consent.

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Webinar Speaker: Donald D. Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Certified by the National Elder Law Foundation, an ABA-certifying organization. In addition to being one of about 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Mr. Vanarelli is also one of about 100 members of the NAELA Council of Advanced Practitioners, selected for this honor by his fellow practitioners. Don also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished service who has made significant contributions in the field of elder and disability law throughout his or her career. Don is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney,  an Accredited Professional Mediator and a Past Chair of the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Don is actively involved in trial advocacy on behalf of elderly and disabled citizens, and has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court.  Don was lead counsel representing the plaintiff in a seminal estate planning / guardianship / Medicaid planning case entitled In re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted guardians to engage in public benefits planning to obtain Medicaid eligibility for their wards. Don also represented the plaintiff in a pivotal case entitled Saccone v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 219 N.J. 369 (2014) in which the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted a special needs trust to be designated as the beneficiary of a state pension. Don was also co-counsel representing the plaintiff in Galletta v. Velez, Civil No. 13-532 (D.N.J. June 3, 2014) in which a federal court ruled, for the first time, that a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be counted as income in determining Medicaid eligibility.

Don represents seniors and disabled persons in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

 

About The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, located in Westfield, New Jersey, provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families. The law firm guides clients through complex legal areas including public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, the administrative process, as well as estate and gift tax laws. Call 908-232-7400 or e-mail Info@VanarelliLaw.com for an appointment. 

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Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. Will Present at the New Jersey Bankers Association Financial Elder Abuse Webinar

New Jersey Bankers Association Financial Elder Abuse Webinar

Date Time: Jun 10, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: On-Line Webinar on Financial Elder Abuse

Financial Elder Abuse is a growing concern, with 4 million cases of elder abuse reported last year. The elderly are often bilked out of their savings, investments, and even homes by caretakers, family members, and con artists.

Attendees will learn about the signs of financial elder abuse and learn how to take action and prevent abuse for your customers and your community. Regulators will provide an update into elder financial abuse, and law enforcement will share insight into how to combat elder financial exploitation. Attendees will also learn how to prevent exploitation when competency is in question.

Mr. Vanarelli will speak on “Financial Abuse and its effect on Medicaid Eligibility.” This session will discuss the impact of financial exploitation of an elderly person on the victim’s eligibility for Medicaid and other necessary public benefits. When a third party makes improper transfers of the elder’s property without the elder’s knowledge or consent, will those improper transfers negatively affect the elder’s eligibility for Medicaid? This session will answer that question.

Zoom Registration link: https://njbankers.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BvmthJHQQLi0yWlheWpmdw

About Donald D. Vanarelli 

Recipient of the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section, Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Vanarelli is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney and an Accredited Professional Mediator. He has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court. Mr. Vanarelli represents seniors, the disabled and their families in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

About The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli 

Located in Westfield, New Jersey, the firm provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families. The law firm guides clients through complex legal areas including public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, the administrative process, as well as estate and gift tax laws.

Contact: Ginny Morrissey, The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Tel: 908-232-7400, Email: gmorrissey@VanarellilLaw.com

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Elder Law College Program: “Guardianship Practice: A Step-By-Step Guide” Video Series

This promotional video is presented as an introduction to the “Guardianship Practice: A Step-By-Step Guide” Video Series. This video series was presented by noted Certified Elder Law Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., as part of Elder Law College Lecture program. The Elder Law College program is sponsored annually by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE), in association with the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA). This 5-part video series discusses critical issues in New Jersey guardianship law, and includes an audience Question and Answer session.

This 5-past video series is a must-see for New Jersey residents with questions concerning guardianship procedures and the rights of incapacitated persons. 

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The Medical Side of Elder Law: Nursing Home Resident Rights Video Series

This promotional video for the Nursing Home Resident Rights Video Series was presented by noted Certified Elder Law Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., as part of The Medical Side of Elder Law Lecture Series. The Medical Side of Elder Law program was sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE), in association with the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA). This 4-part video series discusses critical New Jersey nursing home law, and includes an audience Question and Answer session.

This video series is a must-see for New Jersey residents with questions concerning nursing home law and resident rights.

See the 4-part video series at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist…

 

Or, view the videos without the ads: https://vanarellilaw.com/nursing-home-resident-rights-vide…/

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Elder Law COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Helping You Navigate During This Time Of Uncertainty

To Our Family, Friends, Clients, and Community:

At the Law Office of Donald Vanarelli, we understand that the coronavirus COVID-19 has resulted in a period of uncertainty for us all. We have two messages for you. First, keep in mind that this situation, while extremely challenging, is temporary. Second, consider using this period of self-isolation as a time of self-reflection–and action. Many of us recognize that, eventually, we should get our estate plans in order. Maybe you have never executed a will, or maybe it’s time to revisit the estate plan you put in place years ago. Many of us have special concerns in this area, if we are caring for an elderly or disabled loved one. Our law office is here to help, and the following answers to frequently asked questions can get you started.

I already have a Last Will and Testament. Should I revise it now?

Over the years, laws change, the tax code changes, our needs change, and our personal relationships change. If you haven’t reviewed your current estate plan recently, now is an excellent time to do so. Whether or not your current estate planning documents were prepared by our firm, we are here to help you review your estate plan, and help you determine whether changes are appropriate.

If I already have a Will, do I need other documents?

If the coronavirus has taught us one thing, it is how quickly, and dramatically, things can change. Do you have the legal documents in place to allow a trusted relative or friend make financial decisions for you? If not, now is the time to execute a power of attorney for your financial affairs. Do you have someone in place with the legal authority to make medical decisions for you? If not, consider a living will and health care proxy.  Please contact us to discuss these vital elements of your estate plan.

If I have estate documents, should they be reviewed at this time? 

While we generally recommend that clients periodically review their estate planning in response to changes in their family and financial situation (as well as changes in the tax law), we believe the impact of the current crisis is significant enough to warrant further review. In addition to wills, powers of attorney and living wills, we recommend that clients review the beneficiary designations for their life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

How can I do estate planning now, during this period of social isolation?

Our law firm remains open for business, while we take every step to protect both our clients and our staff. Several staff members are working remotely, while others remain at our Westfield, New Jersey office. During this time period, client conferences can be conducted via telephone, FaceTime, Zoom or other similar video-conferencing method. Documents can be exchanged via email or facsimile. Your estate documents can be planned, and executed, “remotely,” without you ever leaving your home!

Have income tax return deadlines been postponed?

Yes, the IRS has extended the April 15 deadline for filing income tax returns and gift tax returns. No interest or penalties will be due if returns are filed and taxes are paid by July 15, 2020. In addition, the IRS has extended the due date for making first quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments until July 15. As of this writing, more than two-thirds of states, including New Jersey, have extended state‑level tax deadlines as well. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is tracking state-level developments.

Are the offices of the County Surrogates still open?

The County Surrogates handle much of the work in the areas of guardianshipsthe probate of wills,  estate administrationwill  contests, probate litigation and elder abuse actions. Each County Surrogate Office is adjusting hours and policies to deal with the pandemic. The overview of changed hours and policies in each county can be found here.  In Union County, the new hours are Mondays & Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Download (PDF, 188KB)

April 4, 2020 Update from the Union County Surrogate:

“Our office still has staff going in on Mondays and Thursdays to process paperwork and mail certificates out.  You can follow the regular procedure by emailing the Surrogate’s Information Sheet, death certificate and the decedent’s Last Will and Testament to Sue Dinardo at sdinardo@ucnj.org or fax to 908-351-9212.  We will give the papers to the clerks when they are in and they can input the information and email the qualification papers to your lawyer’s office.  You can then forward them to the client and have the client get the papers notarized (or notarize the papers remotely if a new law permitting same is enacted).  We’re not meeting with any clients for as long as this pandemic continues.

The original documents can be mailed to the office by regular or certified mail and once we have all necessary documents we will send out the certificates and Letters.  It may take a little longer than usual but we’ll get it done.”

April 5, 2020 Update on the Monmouth County Surrogate:

A lawyer colleague who was trying to probate a will had a messenger drop off the Last Will and Testament with the Surrogate’s Information Sheet and Death Certificate at the Monmouth County Surrogate’s Office in Freehold several days ago. Security guards at the Surrogate’s Office accepted the documents at the door. The next day my colleague received by email the documents that his client needed to sign to be appointed as Executor together with an invoice covering the fee charged for the probate. The lawyer had the Executor sign the documents and his signature notarized by a title officer in the office next door.  The documents were returned to the Surrogate with a check for the fee via regular mail. Half of the Monmouth County Surrogate’s staff is working every other day.

The Monmouth County Clerk’s Office has provided a webpage as a centralized portal for information about the latest public notices, closures, and cancellations, regarding the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.

Update from the Morris County Surrogate:

The Morris County Surrogate’s Office has suspended in-person applications until further notice. The Surrogate will continue to provide service via phone (973-285-6500), fax (973-829-8599), email (surrogate@co.morris.nj.us), and regular mail (Morris County Surrogate Court, P.O. Box 900, Morristown, NJ 07963-0900).

Update from the Passaic County Surrogate:

Please be advised that the Passaic County Surrogate’s office is closed to the public and we are NOT able to take any court matters in person. You can call at 973-881-4760. You can also email the Surrogate’s office at Surrogateinfo@passaiccountynj.org for more information.

April 20, 2020 Update on Recent Changes to the Passaic County Surrogate Procedures:

When asked about the procedures at the Passaic County Surrogate Court during the COVID-19 crisis, the following response was received:

Dear Mr. Bressman:

Kindly email the probate fact sheet, a copy of the Will, death certificate and driver’s license of the executor.

Once we create the case, all documents will be forwarded to your office for the executor to sign.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours truly,

Asma Assaf, Probate Clerk, Passaic County Surrogate Court, 71 Hamilton Street, Room 101, Paterson, New Jersey 07505, Tel.: 973-881-4760, Ext. 1207, Fax: 973-523-3449

April 20, 2020 Update on Recent Changes to the Bergen County Surrogate Procedures:

Notice from the Bergen County Surrogates Court regarding filings during this crisis:

Download (PDF, 1.52MB)

Are the New Jersey courts open? Are pending lawsuits proceeding as usual?

Yes, the courts are operating, but subject to restrictions. No new civil or criminal jury trials will be conducted until further notice. All court hearings, conferences, and arguments will be conducted by video or phone conferencing, and in-person appearances will be permitted only in emergency situations. Discovery deadlines for all civil cases are extended through April 26, 2020. Discovery in family law and divorce cases is extended through April 26, 2020. Landlord/tenant, Special Civil Part, Small Claims and Municipal Court trials are suspended.

Have any changes been made to the procedures by which guardianship of an incapacitated adult is obtained during the COVID-19 crisis?

The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved temporary adjustments to the process for seeking an adjudication of incapacity of an adult and the appointment of a guardian of the person and/or estate.

Based on social distancing requirements, the court rules and regulations governing the procedures for obtaining guardianship over incapacitated adults are relaxed to permit examinations and interviews of alleged incapacitated persons (AIP) to be conducted by video or phone. In-person service requirements are suspended, and court pleadings may be served by certified mail, or the contents of the complaint may be read aloud to AIP. In addition, the court-appointed counsel and guardian ad litem may interview the AIP by video or phone instead of meeting in-person, as required by the court rules. The Court now also permits alleged incapacitated persons to participate in all subsequent guardianship hearings via video or phone since in-person court proceedings are currently suspended.

The NJ Supreme Court Notice is attached here – Guardianship Notice to the Bar 4-9-20

My parent or family member lives in an assisted living or nursing home. Am I permitted to visit with them during this crisis?  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to all nursing homes, restricting all visitors, except for compassionate care in end-of-life situations; restricting all volunteers and nonessential personnel; and cancelling all group activities and communal dining. While these actions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, they can leave families worried and upset and residents feeling isolated and confused.

Families are taking varying tacks to keep in contact with their loved ones, many of whom don’t fully understand why their family is no longer visiting. Nursing homes are also helping to facilitate contact. Some options for keeping in touch, include the following:

  • Phone calls. Phone calls are still an option to be able to talk to your loved one.
  • Window visits. Families who are able to visit their loved one’s window can use that to have in-person visits. You can hold up signs and blow kisses. Talking on a cell phone or typing messages on it and holding them up to the window may be a way to have a conversation.
  • Facetime, Skype or Zoom. Many nursing homes are facilitating video calls with families using platforms like Facetime, Skype or Zoom. Some nursing homes have purchased additional iPads, while others have staff members going between rooms with a dedicated iPad to help residents make calls.
  • Cards and letters. Sending cards and letters to your loved ones is another way to show them that you are thinking of them. Some nursing homes have also set up Facebook pages, where people can send messages to residents.

In this unprecedented time, families will need to get creative to stay in touch with their loved ones.

What other changes have been made in the laws, regulations or practices that impact elders and people with disabilities?

Actions are being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a dizzying pace. Since March 17, 2020, all local Social Security offices were closed to the public for in-person service.The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits Administration regional offices were closed to the public starting March 19. VA regional offices open, but no longer accept walk-ins. Health care providers are overwhelmed. County welfare offices are urging people to apply on-line and avoid coming into their offices. Meanwhile, although the NJ Department of Human Services announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services modified some federal Medicaid requirements that “pose issues or challenges for the health care delivery system” in light of COVID-19, county welfare office processing applications for crucial needs-based government benefits like Medicaid still require applicants to produce missing documents in 10 days under threat of the denial of eligibility. There is a need for the agency to ease certain requirements in light of the present emergency.

Are you still offering free initial consultations?

Yes! We offer free initial consultations available via telephone or videoconference to introduce you to our firm, discuss your general needs, and address how we can serve those needs.

How do I get started?

Just call or email us at dvanarelli@VanarelliLaw.comClient questionnaires are available on our website. Download one and use your new-found spare time to consider your needs and goals, and to complete the financial and other information requested.

We look forward to serving you, both during this difficult time period and after.

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Quarantine To-Do List: Spring cleaning, Netflix Binge-Watching– and Estate Planning?

As we find ourselves spending a lot more time at home, there are many opinions about how to fill the day while maintaining a healthy balance of activities. Most recommend a mixture of productivity and what some might refer to as “self-care,” which can take many forms. It can include eating right, exercising, enjoying a bit of mindless television, tackling household projects, reading a good book, and finding time to “socialize” remotely.

But I recommend adding estate planning to your list.

For many of us, this is a necessary but easily neglected aspect of life. We all want to confront things like making a will and living will, or planning for the needs of a disabled loved one. But because formulating these plans involves necessary paperwork and time, the task can be difficult to confront—and easy to postpone–after a long and hectic workday. That’s why this could be an ideal time to consider spending a portion of your new-found availability checking this “to-do” off your list. Thanks to our firm’s flexible communication options, you can schedule telephone or video conferences, exchange necessary questionnaires and other paperwork, and finalize estate planning and other documents without ever leaving your home.

And then you can reward yourself with that binge-worthy TV show.

Remember, these stay-at-home restrictions will not be in place forever. And when things get back to normal, you can look back at this period with the peace of mind of knowing that your estate plan has been taken care of.

For additional information concerning estate planning and administration, visit:

Estate Planning and Administration

 

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Donald D. Vanarelli Named to the 2020 New Jersey Super Lawyers List in Elder Law, for the 14th Consecutive Year

We are pleased to announce that Donald D. Vanarelli has been named to the 2020 New Jersey Super Lawyers list for Elder Law. This is the 14th consecutive year in which Mr. Vanarelli has been named to New Jersey’s Super Lawyers list in Elder Law.

Of over 85,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in New Jersey in 70 specialty categories, only 5% are named to the Super Lawyer list each year. To date, only 51 New Jersey attorneys have been recognized as Certified Elder Law Attorneys. Of the 51 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in New Jersey, 32 were named to the 2020 Super Lawyer’s list in Elder Law. Mr. Vanarelli is one of the very few Certified Elder Law Attorneys in New Jersey who has been consistently named to the Super Lawyers list.

Elder Law, which includes Special Needs Trusts and Special Needs Planning, is a legal specialty focusing on the legal needs of seniors and people with disabilities. To be certified in Elder Law, an attorney must meet the following standards: (1) Practiced Elder Law for at least five years, (2) Substantively involved in the practice areas that make up Elder Law, including estate planning and trust administration; probate litigation and will contests; disability planning, including guardianships and special needs trusts; protecting the elderly and disabled against abuse, neglect, and exploitation; resolving nursing home problems; and, qualifying for Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits.  (3) Passed a full day written exam, (4) Received references from five certified Elder Law attorneys, and (5) Demonstrated substantial involvement in representing disabled clients with special needs.

In 2007, the New Jersey Supreme Court appointed a Special Master to conduct an investigation into the validity of the selection methodology used by “Super Lawyers” and other attorney ranking services. After a year-long investigation, the Special Master issued a 300+ page report, concluding that the “Super Lawyers” methodology for selecting outstanding attorneys was valid. As a result, in 2008 our Supreme Court, for the first time, permitted attorneys to publicly identify themselves as having been selected for inclusion in the list of “New Jersey Super Lawyers.” In re Opinion 39 of the Committee on Attorney Advertising, 197 N.J. 66 (2008)

The Super Lawyers website notes that “Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” Bar associations and courts across the country, including the New Jersey Supreme Court, have recognized the legitimacy of the Super Lawyers selection process.

The list of New Jersey attorneys named to the 2020 Super Lawyer’s list in Elder Law follows:

The digital version of the 2020 New Jersey Super Lawyers Magazine, which  contains the entire print publication, is accessible here –  2020 New Jersey Super Lawyers Magazine.

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Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. will present at the 2020 UNPROGRAM by NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

2020 NJ-NAELA UNPROGRAM
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Lambertville Inn
Lambertville, New Jersey

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 2020 UNPROGRAM presented by the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The NJ-NAELA UNPROGRAM will be held on April 22, 2020 at the Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn, located at 11 Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey.

Mr. Vanarelli will facilitate two group sessions covering the following topics:

  1. Probate Litigation: Is it a Competency Case, Diminished Capacity Case or an Undue Influence Case? Strategies and Issues; and,
  2. Complicated Guardianship Issues You Likely Have Never Encountered: Standing, Counsel Fees, Role of Appointed Attorney, Seeking Court Approval for Medicaid Planning

For additional information regarding this event, attorneys may contact the Andy Knoll at aknoll@naela.org or Fred Niemann at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com

For additional information regarding probate litigation, Medicaid planning and applications, as well as guardianships, elder law and estate planning issues, contact the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli at 908-232-7400, or visit online at http://VanarelliLaw.com/.

What is the Unprogram?

The UnProgram is a one-of-a-kind program. The Unprogram is a forum for attorneys to talk about what is important to them – with their peers. There are no lectures or teachers, only experienced facilitators. Participants establish the agenda, establishing an innovative design to promote discussions that lead to learning through idea-sharing and collaboration. Attendees will gain real-life examples of how others have mastered difficult situations. Participants determine the UnProgram content.

The UnProgram takes place in small groups, where some participants act as “facilitators” to lead discussions on any variety of elder law and special needs planning topics. Participants gather in the facilitator’s room for an open discussion. Several topics/rooms are offered in each hour-long session. Dress comfortably, it is highly likely you will be sitting on the floor!

The Unprogram is an opportunity to introduce yourself to new subjects that help expand your practical knowledge. It is also an opportunity to increase your technical knowledge with other topics you are more experienced in.

Finally, the Unprogram is your chance to pick the brains of your colleagues who are facing the same challenges you are!

Download (PDF, 86KB)

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Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. Will Present At The 2020 Elder and Disability Law 2-Day Retreat

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 2020 Elder and Disability Law 2-Day Retreat to be held on April 23-24, 2020 at the Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn, located at 11 Bridge Street, Lambertville, New Jersey by the New Jersey State Bar Association Elder and Disability Law Section and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

Mr. Vanarelli will participate in a panel of attorneys discussing contested guardianships, the role of the Office of the Public Guardian and Medicaid planning by guardians. For additional information regarding this event, attorneys may contact the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at http://www.njicle.com/.

For additional information regarding Medicaid planning and applications, as well as guardianships, elder law and estate planning issues, contact the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli at 908-232-7400, or visit online at http://VanarelliLaw.com/.

Location: Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn
11 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530

A Two Day Retreat:

Thurs., April 23, 2020 – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fri., April 24, 2020 – 9 am to 12:35 p.m.

General Tuition (Non-member): $425
NJSBA Member Rate: $355
NJSBA Section Member Rate: $325
Program Agenda:
Day 1 – April 23, 2020
9:10 Intro remarks – Mark Friedman, Esq.
9:15 Qualified Income Trusts and all that can go wrong with them – Linda Ershow-Levenberg, Esq.
9:40 Division of Developmental Disabilities A to Z – Intake, Eligibility, etc. – Crystal West Edwards, Esq.
10:20 Pre-Admission Screening (PAS) Exam and All you Need to Know about it – Beth Barnhard, Esq.
10:45 Break
11:00 Settlements for people on Medicaid/Medicare – Lawrence Friedman, Esq.
11:40 Medicaid Annuities update – Lauren Marinaro, Esq.; Beth Barnhard, Esq.
12:10 Luncheon
1:30 How a Bill Becomes a Law (and what happens to all those bills after we vote on them) – Mark Friedman, Esq.; Lisa Chapland, Esq.
2:00 Medicaid Appeals – Administrative (Fair Hearings), State (Appellate Division) and Federal Court – John Callinan, Esq.; Jane Fearn-Zimmer, Esq.
2:40 Break
2:55 Ethics for Elder Law Attorneys – Shirley Whitenack, Esq.; Brenda McElnea, Esq.; Lawrence Friedman, Esq.
4:10 Future of Elder Law – Mark Friedman, Esq.
4:30 Adjourn
5:00 Cocktail Hour
Day 2 – April 24, 2020
9:00 Case law update – Ryann Siclari, Esq.; Donald Dennison, Esq.
9:55 Community Medicaid (and long term care at home) – Lauren Marinaro, Esq.
10:35 Break
10:45 Guardianship panel – contested guardianships, role of OPG, and Medicaid planning – Mark Friedman, Esq.; Constantina Koulosousas, Esq.; Jonathan Pfoutz, Esq.; Donald Vanarelli, Esq.
11:25 Medicaid in New York and Pennsylvania – Matthew Nolfo, Esq.; Jerry Rothkoff, Esq.
12:05 Streamlining your Practice with Technology – Carl Archer, Esq.
12:35 Adjourn
 NJ CLE: This program has been approved for 10.0 credits, including 1.5 ethics credits.
PA CLE:  7.0 substantive and 1.0 ethics credits pending
NY CLE (t&nt):  8.0 professional practice and 1.5 ethics credits
About Donald D. Vanarelli 

Recipient of the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section, Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Vanarelli is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney and an Accredited Professional Mediator. He has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court. Mr. Vanarelli represents seniors, the disabled and their families in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

About The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli 

Located in Westfield, New Jersey, the firm provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families. The law firm guides clients through complex legal areas including public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, the administrative process, as well as estate and gift tax laws.

Contact: Ginny Morrissey, The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Tel: 908-232-7400, Email: gmorrissey@VanarellilLaw.com

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Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. to Present the Case Law Update at the 2020 “Elder Law in a Day” Seminar

The 2020 “Elder Law in a Day” Seminar:

Learn How To Handle Elder Law Issues And Cases

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 2020 “Elder Law in a Day” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on January 29, 2020 at the New Jersey Law Center, 1 Constitution Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey. This is a full day program, from 9:00 AM through 4:30 PM.

Mr. Vanarelli will provide the case law update, summarizing the most significant legal developments over the past year in the areas of elder and disability law. Mr. Vanarelli will also analyze highlights and trends in the New Jersey elder law / special needs cases. For additional information regarding this event, see below, or contact the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) at 732-214-8500, or visit the NJICLE website at http://www.njicle.com/.

About The Program:

Your clients are aging and living longer than ever. A longer life means longer-term living expenses – and planning for unforeseen complications such as home health care, assisted living, a potential need for a nursing home, and large medical bills. In order to properly represent elder clients, you need to know how to help them get the services that they need while protecting their assets, planning for the future, and producing an estate plan that fulfills their wishes.

Don’t miss this popular annual program, updated for 2019, to gain the information that you need to know to properly represent both your senior clients and your aging clients that will soon become seniors. As an attendee, you’ll hear directly from a panel of highly experienced elder law practitioners as they provide you with solid strategies, practical pointers, the most important recent case law, current regulations, and (most importantly) common-sense approaches based upon decades of practice and the hundreds of elder law clients they have represented. You’ll walk away with, quite literally, everything you need to know to confidently (and successfully) handle the elder law matters you’re likely to encounter.

Moderator/Speaker:

Thomas D. Begley, Jr.
Begley Law Group, PC, Moorestown

Speakers include:

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq.
Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Westfield

Joellen Meckley, Esq.
Begley Law Group, PC, Moorestown

Linda S. Ershow-Levenberg, Esq.
Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg LLC, Clark

Gary Mazart, Esq.
Schenck, Price, Smith & King LLP, Florham Park

Ethan J. Ordog, Esq.
Begley Law Group, PC, Moorestown

Jordan Wassel, Esq.
Schenck, Price, Smith & King LLP, Florham Park

Program Agenda:
9:00 Welcome and Overview – Ethan J. Ordog, Esq.
9:15 2019 – The Year in Review – Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq.
10:15 Effective Ways to do Basic Medicaid Planning – Joellen Meckley, Esq.
11:15 Break
11:30 8 Important things to know about Special Needs Trusts – Thomas D. Begley, Jr., , Esq.
12:00 Luncheon
12:30 Geriatric Care Management for Your Clients – Mary Kate Kennedy, Esq.
1:15 Top Tips You Need to Know to in Preparing Medicaid Applications –
Linda S. Ershow-Levenberg, Esq.
2:15 Tax and the Elder Law Practice: Key Changes and Practice Tips –
Gary Mazart, Esq.; Jordan Wassel, Esq.
3:15 Break
3:30 Protective Arrangements, Updates for Guardianship Filings and
Probate Action Items – Ethan J. Ordog, Esq.
4:00 Adjourn

The agenda for the Elder Law in a Day program is attached here –

Download (PDF, 82KB)

About Donald D. Vanarelli

Recipient of the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section, Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Vanarelli is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney and an Accredited Professional Mediator. He has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court. Mr. Vanarelli represents seniors, the disabled and their families in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

About The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli

Located in Westfield, New Jersey, the firm provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families. The law firm guides clients through complex legal areas including public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, the administrative process, as well as estate and gift tax laws.

Contact: Ginny Morrissey, The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Tel: 908-232-7400, Email: gmorrissey@VanarellilLaw.com

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Donald D. Vanarelli Named To The New Jersey Super Lawyers List, Again

We are pleased to announce that Donald D. Vanarelli has been recognized as a 2020 New Jersey Super Lawyer in Elder Law. This is the 14th consecutive year in which Mr. Vanarelli has been named to New Jersey’s Super Lawyers list.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Bar associations and courts across the country, including the New Jersey Supreme Court, have recognized the legitimacy of the Super Lawyers selection process.

In addition, Mr. Vanarelli has been Certified as an Elder Law Attorney since 1998. Elder Law, which includes Special Needs Planning, is a legal specialty focusing on the legal needs of seniors and people with disabilities. To be certified in Elder Law, an attorney must: (1) Have practiced Elder Law for at least five years, (2) Had substantive involvement in the practice areas that make up Elder Law, including estate planning and trust administration; probate litigation and will contests; disability planning, including guardianships and special needs trusts; laws protecting the elderly and disabled against abuse, neglect, and exploitation; nursing home issues; and, qualifying for Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits. (3) Passed a full day written exam, (4) Received references from five Certified Elder Law attorneys, and, (5) Demonstrate substantial involvement in the representation of disabled clients with special needs.

Of the over 85,000 licensed attorneys in New Jersey, fewer than 60 have been recognized as Certified Elder Law Attorneys. Of those Certified Elder Law Attorneys in New Jersey, very few have been recognized as Super Lawyers in Elder Law. Mr. Vanarelli is one of very few Certified Elder Law Attorneys in New Jersey who has been consistently named to the Super Lawyers list.

“I’m honored to be selected to the 2020 Super Lawyers list in New Jersey for Elder Law,” said Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. “Super Lawyers is one of the most respected ratings organizations in the legal field. I am honored that my colleagues think highly enough of me to nominate me,” Vanarelli added.

About Donald D. Vanarelli

Recipient of the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section, Donald D. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Vanarelli is also an Accredited Veterans Attorney and an Accredited Professional Mediator. He has successfully litigated cases in New Jersey’s Supreme Court and in federal court. Mr. Vanarelli represents seniors, the disabled and their families in estate planning, financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other public benefits, special needs planning, and litigation, including probate, elder abuse and guardianship lawsuits.

About The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli

Located in Westfield, New Jersey, the firm provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families. The law firm guides clients through complex legal areas including public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, the administrative process, as well as estate and gift tax laws.

Contact: Ginny Morrissey, The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, Tel: 908-232-7400, Email: gmorrissey@VanarellilLaw.com

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