Client Reviews, Testimonials and Professional Recommendations

This page of our website contains client reviews, testimonials and professional recommendations for our Elder Law, Estate and Special Needs Planning law firm. Each review or testimonial was provided by an actual client of our firm. To protect client privacy, we have identified clients by first name or initials only. We have also included recommendations for our law firm on this page provided by lawyers and other professionals. All recommendations from professionals are authentic.

We love what we do, we work hard for our clients and we think it shows in the high quality services we deliver. However, the testimonials included below do not guarantee that other clients will get the same or similar results. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances. For more information, please read our Website Disclaimer and Terms of Use page.






“I received clear, concise information directly related to my questions in a respectful manner. The lawyer was patient when she had to repeat some of the information. I was given the full consultation time and wasn’t rushed. It was a very good experience.”

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Mike and Ann: 

“Dear Don: Thank you to you and your staff for your expertise and kindness in helping us with our estate planning. … We appreciate your time and consideration, feel relieved to have this work completed and happy and grateful to be in your good care.”

Stephen and Susan:

“Couldn’t be happier with the Professional Legal services provided by Mr. Vanarelli and his entire staff.  We were referred to his Law Offices by a friend of the family when my 93 year old independent mother, who lived alone in her own condo took ill.  Mr. Vanarelli spent a great deal of time explaining the complicated Elder Care systems during a very personal and emotional period of time, identifying federal and state programs that were available both immediately and long term.

Legal fees, which we found to be extremely competitive, were detailed in writing after our first consultation.  Since retaining Mr. Vanarelli, we have worked closely with him and his staff throughout the entire process of transitioning my mother from independent to assisted living.”

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Jean K.:

“The experience was great. We were especially pleased with the firm’s efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. The Staff accommodated us during the pandemic so we were able to sign documents outside with proper masks and gloves. Thank you!”

^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Jeff G.:

Hi Don,

So much has happened since my mother’s passing that I might have missed sending you this thank you.

Her memorial service was finally able to be scheduled and my brother, sister and their kids attended.

That fact that we were all together for mom’s memorial service is testament to our family affairs having taken the proper path.

Recently my sister inadvertently admitted that she, her husband, my brother and my mother’s brother pulled the power of attorney from me for the money.

Your role in protecting my mother from what would have been a financial disaster for my mother – and for me – as once her assets were depleted, I’d wind up covering her expenses.

As it was the consternation that my siblings caused took a silent toll on my family.  My now ex-wife cannot handle conflict and I feel that their disrespect of me, our father and mother was an additional burden that my marriage could not withstand.

As the trust is settled they will receive their shares, however, I feel that their amounts will never meet their expectation and another round of hate and resentment toward me will ensue. So be it.

You probably see disgusting behavior like this on a regular basis and my mother’s situation is likely par for many families.

Still, the right thing for my mother happened and I feel that it was a privilege to have had the responsibility for her care for the 11 1/2 years that she was with me and my family.

Your service was key for everything to happen as it should.

Thank you.

From the AVVO website, at “Guardianship Proceeding / Wills – 5.0 stars” 

“We initially hired Mr. Vanarelli’s law firm to initiate a guardianship proceeding on behalf of our young adult son with special needs. While we were at it we decided to update our wills and related documents. From the consultation through the court order, we received thoughtful consideration of our needs, advice, guidance and support, along with expertise and experience. It was a stressful process for us that was made much easier by Don and his very caring staff. and we achieved our goals without any unnecessary stress or problems.”

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From the AVVO website, at “Experienced, Smart, and Compassionate Attorney – 5.0 stars” 

“We hired Mr. Vanarelli to plan our mother’s estate and later to prepare her Medicaid application. Because his office executed both of these tasks so expertly and with such respect and kindness, we were all put at ease and many family resources were secured. Mr. Vanarelli and the staff in his office were all topnotch, and extremely thorough. They responded quickly to questions and kept us informed throughout the lengthy and complicated Medicaid application process, which ultimately resulted in an approval. Our experience was completely satisfying, and we wouldn’t hesitate to hire him again if the need ever arises.”


Irene G.:

“Thank you for your work on my mother’s estate”

“Dear Donald, I wanted to formally thank you, Maura and Marion for all the hard work on my mother’s estate. 

Since I live out of state, it was critical to have a local presence in New Jersey.  I am so glad I chose your firm to prepare the initial will, power of attorney, and health care directives and later asked you to serve as Executor of the estate, to help with estate administration and the sale of the house.  

Everything your firm accomplished was professional, timely, and at reasonable cost.  I always felt that Maura and Marion were my friends in the process, and that the three of us were an excellent team.   

Donald, it was comforting as well as financially prudent for me to have you there as support through the estate preparation and settlement process.

Thank you.  Best regards, Irene G.”

Dr Mark:
From the AVVO website, at “Personal recommendation – 5.0 stars” 

“I have never retained Mr. Vanarelli as an attorney. But I do remember him from college when he was part of a student exchange program at California State University-Chico from Montclair College in New Jersey. Even back then Don was known for his intelligence, compassion, integrity and honesty. Those are definitely qualities would look for in an attorney.”



“Dearest Mr. Vanarelli: Thank you for your patience, guidance, understanding and kindness in dealing with what was a very difficult undertaking in my life, since my dear [husband’s] passing. I am very thankful.” 

+  – + – + – +

Kevin P.:

“Working with Mr. Vanarelli was the perfect combination of high-level, professional representation and personal service. Even on a day when Mr. Vanarelli succeeded in a case before the New Jersey Supreme Court, he made me and my family feel like we were his highest priority. I would highly recommend his firm to anyone with elder law-related questions or issues.” 


Victor S.: 

“We were very satisfied with the quality of the legal services given to us. The atmosphere was a combination of friend and attorney. Our advise to the firm is ‘Keep doing what you are doing!’ Note: ‘Bravo Zulu!,’ also known as ‘Well Done!'”


Bruce M.:

“We were satisfied with the quality of legal services provided by the Vanarelli Law Firm. We were especially pleased because Mr. Vanarelli kept me from making a poor decision regrading my mother’s will.” 

I received clear, concise information directly related to my questions in a respectful manner. The lawyer was patient when she had to repeat some of the information. I was given the full consultation time and wasn’t rushed. It was a very good experience.


“Dear Mr. Vanarelli, It was such a great relief for me to meet you, and thank you for your willingness to give me your understanding, expertise and the amazing help you gave me. I apologize for my distress, it’s just so overwhelming, but I’m extremely grateful to you. I hope to be able to do everything you told me to and to be able to give back to you and pay for your services. I wish I could “barter” and give you Irish Whistle lessons! Thank you so much.”

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

Phyllis L.:

Everything was done exceptionally well!


Thomas S.:

Law Office of Vanarelli & Li, LLC: “Thank you for all your work!”

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Thomas R.:

“Everything was done in a professional and timely manner. … Mr. Vanarelli was able to arrange for me to NOT have to appear when my matter was presented at Court!”


Shirley D.:

“[It] was wonderful that Mr. Vanarelli came to the nursing home and advised us as what to do. He was very kind and understanding under trying times. Thank you so much.”

Stephen A. Mielach, LCSW, NMG, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, National Master Guardian, Mielach Associates

“Don, Just wanted to thank you for good work on behalf of [client].  He was my mother’s classmate in high school and our families have known each other for many years.  When [client’s daughter] told me about the problems she was having with him and the estate issues, I knew you were the best man for the job.  Have not spoken with her in quite a while and she raved about what great care you took to establish his estate and help him get his wishes protected before he declines. I have more cases , , , so I hope to have more referrals for you if the need arises. Hope all is well,”

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“The attorneys at Vanarelli & Li, LLC helped me with many legal issues when my husband was in a long term acute hospital, such as asset protection planning, living wills and powers of attorney. Law firm personnel came to the hospital so my husband could sign the legal documents and they treated him with respect and compassion and made what could have been a stressful situation, a very pleasant one for him. I am so thankful for that. When he passed away, they administered the estate for me. It was such an upsetting time for me, but their help eased the stress for me.”

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Dana Bookbinder, Esq., Certified Elder Law Attorney:

“Don is an extremely knowledgeable and effective advocate for his clients. His work has resulted in landmark decisions that have increased rights for seniors and individuals with special needs and paved the way for other attorneys to make recommendations on certain key issues to their clients. His integrity, generosity in helping others, and enthusiasm for his field are truly exceptional.”

+  – + – + – +
Kevin B:

 “I won my award from the Department of Veterans Affairs for an increase from 30% to 60% for my skin disorder. I am very happy and satisfied with this outcome. Please convey my gratitude and sincere appreciation to Mr. Vanarelli as well as the entire firm for the outstanding representation and support that you all have levied on my behalf. Thank-you very much!” 

Jim C.:

“Thank you for all your hard work, and please extend our thanks to Mr Vanarelli.  We very much appreciate his advice and thoughtful consideration of our particular situation.”

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

Joe and Mary:

“Quality, Customer Service, Timeliness, Offerings, Exceeded Expectations!”

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Deirdre Wheatley-Liss, Esq., Partner at Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C.:

“Don is an incredibly generous attorney, both to clients and colleagues. He has that knack of taking his vast experience with both litigation and elder law and delivering it in a way that everyone is his audience understands how what he is saying applies to their situation. 

This generous spirit is fully reflected on his blog, which is *the* source of New Jersey elder law issues in my opinion (my highest compliment being that I frequently quote from it). Don lives the mantra that by educating the public about elder law issues they can become empowered to make the right decisions.”

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Helen C. Dodick, Esq., Acting Public Guardian for Elderly Adults, Division of Aging Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services:

“Don, Thanks so much for all your help today. I see that things go much better (or less worse) when we are represented by someone who engenders the unquestionable respect of the Court (and who deserves it).”



“Mr. Vanarelli and his staff handled my mother’s estate planning with ultimate professionalism, and responded in a timely manner in all of our exchanges of information and documents. He explained the meanings of some of the legal verbiage clearly, so we had a full understanding of what the documents contained. I would not hesitate to use his services again.”

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

“Mr.Vanarelli and his staff were very professional and knowledgeable of the Medicaid application process. Our situation was a bit complex and we were very pleased with his ability to assess the issues at hand and develop a solution that worked for everyone concerned. I would not advise that anyone attempt a Medicaid application on their own as it can be quite overwhelming to say the least. Enlistment of a professional is money very well spent and I would definitely recommend Mr. Vanarelli for this purpose.”

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Joseph Noto, Esq., Family Law Attorney in Wyckoff, NJ:

“I’ve known Don for quite a few years and he is an excellent mediator as well as an elder law attorney. We trained together for mediation and I would recommend him to people seeking mediation or elder law advice.”

Thomas Begley III, Esq., Estate Planning Attorney in Mount Laurel, NJ:

“Don Vanarelli is one of the foremost elder law attorneys in the State of New Jersey. He is a tireless advocate for the elderly and disabled. His knowledge is superseded solely by his compassion for others. I would recommend Don to any prospective client.”


“I had two occasions where I hired Mr. Vanarelli. The first was to file a Medicaid application for a family member. This situation came upon us quite suddenly and we felt very helpless. Mr. Vanarelli is very knowledgeable in the process of filing a Medicaid application. The staff at Mr. Vanarelli’s office is also very knowledgeable and very helpful. Filing a Medicaid application is very complicated and time consuming. Mr. Vanarelli and his staff were able to file the application on time and my family member was approved for Medicaid immediately.

The second occasion was a real estate matter. Mr. Vanarelli handled the sale of my home and the purchase of a condo. Again, Mr. Vanarelli and his staff handled our matter professionally and we were very pleased with the outcome.

I would recommend Mr. Vanarelli with no hesitation and I think he is very trustworthy and knowledgeable.”

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Kathryn Gilbert, Esq., Divorce Lawyer in Hackensack, NJ:

“Don is very knowledgeable and hardworking. I turn to him with all of my elderly clients needs. I highly recommend him.”

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Susan G.:

“It was a pleasure working with your firm for my estate planning. Ginny and the staff were very professional and helpful.”

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Mr. W.:

“For the unfortunate circumstances of getting a divorce, the experience in your office was very pleasant. I was very satisfied with the services rendered. Thank you very much.”

Tina D.:

“Thank you so much for helping us get my dad’s estate in order. It was a pleasure working with your office. In the event that we need legal assistance in the future, we will call upon your office.”

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Judith A:

“Donald Vanarelli is a first rate estate planning and elder law attorney. He keeps up with the changes in his field of expertise and he goes all out for his clients. Highly recommended.”

K.W.B. – Awesome Attorney!:

“I am a disabled veteran who was in need of an attorney who is well versed in how the Veterans Administration administers disability ratings. Mr. Vanarelli was more than qualified to meet this requirement as well as the parameters of my specific claim. He and his law firm provided me with outstanding representation and efficient guidance. Furthermore, his knowledge and professionalism led to a positive outcome for which I am forever grateful for. Additionally, his skill as an attorney achieved the maximum disability benefit on my behalf and he made every effort to assure this within the final outcome. He has years of experience in dealing with disability claims and this experience led to a successful claim on my behalf; I could not have done it on my own without him and his law firm. Furthermore, he and his law firm had properly guided me at every step of the process and they engaged with me on a regular basis to make sure that each objective was being met. At first, I was reluctant to hire an attorney at all; but now I know that would have been an extremely terrible mistake on my behalf. Before I hired Mr. Vanarelli, I asked him for his best judgment on my specific case and he graciously provided it. That’s when I knew for sure that he was the representation I was looking for. Not once did I feel as if my case was not being given the attention it needed from Mr. Vanarelli and his law firm. This really made me feel comfortable with the entire process as well as completely satisfied with the representation I was being afforded.

Mr. Vanarelli made sure that I was in the loop throughout the entire process and this really benefited me when it came time to proceed to my hearing. He and his law firm reviewed all of the evidence that was obtained and then they followed-up with me to make sure if there was anything else that needed to be accounted for. They also put together a review packet which assisted me in my preparation so as to be on track during the hearing. This really helped! Also, Mr Vanarelli and his law firm reflected a genuine concern for my needs and disability issue. They did this by checking up on my well-being; both physical and mental, on a regular basis. He and his law firm continually made suggestions and recommendations when it came to medical stuff for which I did not consider. For example, they recommended that I see an outside dermatologist. I did just that and because of this recommendation I was able to achieve a better and more precise evaluation of my disability.

It is fair for me to state that Mr. Vanarelli will go to great lengths; under the law, to achieve the best outcome for his clients. He has a lengthy portfolio of experience for which to draw upon and he even referenced a prior case to the judge that was similar to mine. This really helped me to win my claim because it greatly reflected his knowledge of the law. Furthermore, I live all the way across the U.S. from Mr. Vanarelli and his law firm; yet, the communication between us was so proficient that I didn’t even notice.

If your a veteran who is seeking a disability claim, or a disabled veteran seeking an increase in disability, then I highly recommend Mr. Vanarelli and his law firm. They will not leave you unattended. Furthermore, Mr. Vanarelli will give you 100% solid representation with a genuine concern towards your specific need(s). He and his firm are fully dedicated towards the success of the client and they will work extremely hard to compile, analyze, and distribute all of the facts at hand. From where I stand, you really cannot ask for much more because I’m living proof of how dedicated and driven Mr. Vanarelli is at achieving success on behalf of his clients.”

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Andrew Economos, Esq., Family Law Attorney in Monroe Township, NJ:

“I found Donald to be very reasonable and professional. It is clear that his clients’ best interests are his paramount concern.”

Michael Hrycak, Esq., Appeals Lawyer in Westfield, NJ:

“Don has been very informative, helpful and is responsive to clients and fellow attorneys. I have relied upon his advice and counsel in the areas of elder law and Surrogate Court practice, in both New Jersey and New York. I refer clients to Don and his associates.”

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Christian Lassen, Esq., Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA:

“Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community.”


Peter and Ann Marie F.:

“The preparation [by the law office] allowed us to secure an appropriate placement for our [disabled] brother-in-law.”  


Sadie O.:

“You were very patient with me. You had to repeat information two or three times till I got it. It’s very important to seniors, many of whom are, like me, slow learners. Also, you were very kind in making adjustments for billing. I appreciated that very much.”

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Jackie B.:

“Maura [Walsh] (a paralegal with the firm) was very specific about what we needed to do on our end. She held our hand through a difficult process with a timely and good final outcome.”

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 David F.:

“Thank you Don.  We will not hesitate to re-engage you if we have any issues whatsoever — and we will continue to refer you to friends in NJ.  We had a lawyer who wasn’t you, and your counsel and advocacy made all the difference. I am extremely grateful.”


Celeste E.:

“Congratulations to a fantastic lawyer!!
Thank you for being my mom’s lawyer….I miss her terribly.”

Dana F.:

“You have been immensely helpful to Dave and me through an arduous process, and we appreciate all of the good counsel and attention. Have a great day.”


Barbara J.:

“Your service is outstanding! We will remain your client.”

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Robert and Judith V.:

“You and other firm members really took time to explain matters without making us feel like you were waiting to rush through to get to your next appointment.” 

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

Gordon and Irene C.: 

“The law firm provided excellent strategies to reduce the impact of New Jersey estate taxes.” 

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Jean K.:

“In all my dealings with the law firm, all staff members were helpful, pleasant and always professional.”   

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Leonard and Joanne:

Timeliness, Customer Service, Quality: “We were treated warmly by all the personnel and that made it easier.”


Dorothy M.:

“All firm members were very cordial. I always felt comfortable when discussing the issues.”


Camille M.:

“They took the time to explain everything to my father clearly so he would understand. There was nothing the firm could have done better.” 


Carol B.:

“Always a very professional staff. We would refer others to your firm.”

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Joseph S.:

“Got The Results Which I Had Hoped For.” 


Susan Massa, Keller Williams Premier Properties:

“Professional, experienced, and well-informed with elder care, estate planning and general law”

+  – + – + – +

Maryann and Bob M.:

“Ginny Morrissey [one of the paralegals with our law firm] was extremely helpful in explaining verbiage of documents. She was compassionate, helpful and spent as much time as was needed with us to make us feel comfortable.” 


Ronald S.:

“Ginny, Thanks for making the tasks manageable and for always answering the many questions I had in a straight-forward and professional manner.”

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Joan L.:

“Everything was well presented and easy for us to understand. … At this time I have no friends in this situation but I would certainly recommend anyone I know … .”

* * * * *

Lafayette W.:

“Excellent service. Everything was explained thoroughly. [All staff members] were always polite and patient with me, especially when I didn’t understand.”

^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Laura D.:

“[Paralegal] Ginny [Morrissey] was always very prompt and courteous. Never rushed me and explained things fully and completely.”

+ + + + +

AL C.:

“All of my questions pertaining to my mother’s estate were answered in a clear and direct manner.”


 Seminar Testimonials

Statements Made By Seminar Attendees About Don Vanarelli’s Seminars and Workshops follow:

“The seminar you organized was great. It was informative as well as engaging.”

“You all did such a wonderful job! Thanks for a great seminar!!!”

“Donald, thanks for all your work. It was a great session.”

“[A] terrific Elder Law mediation seminar yesterday. One of the best programs I’ve attended. Great speakers, lots of excellent information, including good interaction with the audience and not a wasted minute. I heard only positive comments from the participants and hope that there will be an encore for those who missed it – and more trainings in this area. Lots of potential here for both family and civil mediators.”

“Excellent program. Very informative. Subjects have opened up many questions and encourage more research.”

“Thank you for a highly informative, engaging and excellent program.”

“An absolute and resounding second to [the other positive] comments.  It was truly an outstandingly educational day.”

“I’m sure Don and his team are very pleased. They really pulled together a great presentation!”



“One of the best ever! Thank you!”


“Excellent! Lots of great material and the speakers and players were informative and interesting.”

“Very good written materials.”

“You did such a wonderful job! Thanks for a great seminar!!!”

“Very informative – both professionally and personally excellent!!!”

“Very comprehensive. A good investment of 8 hours.”