Below, in chronological order, is the annual roundup of the top 10 elder law decisions in the U.S. for the year just ended, as measured by the number of “unique page views” of the summary of each case found on the ElderLawAnswers website. ElderLawAnswers is a web-based resource available for those in the public seeking information on legal and financial issues relevant to aging and a network of more than 1,000 attorneys and law firms nationwide who practice elder law. Mr. Vanarelli is a founding member of ElderLawAnswers.
- 2nd Circuit Affirms Continuation of Medicaid Benefits Since Beneficiary Had No Authority To Direct Distributions
A federal appeals court affirms a lower court’s ruling that a beneficiary’s interest in two predecessor trusts were not available resources for purposes of the Connecticut Medicaid plan. Simonsen v. Bremby (2d Cir., No. 16-204-cv, Feb. 15, 2017). To read a full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Medicaid Recipient Who Transferred Assets to Wife During Period of Ineligibility Is Subject to Penalty Period
A U.S. district court in Connecticut rules that a husband who became ineligible for Medicaid benefits during a redetermination and then transferred assets to his wife during the period of ineligibility was properly assessed a penalty period when he reapplied for Medicaid benefits. Fagan v. Bremby (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Conn., No. 3:16cv73 (JBA), March 21, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Applicant’s Ability to Use House Placed in Trust Does Not Render Trust Available, Mass. High Court Rules
Reversing a lower court, Massachusetts’ highest court rules that two Medicaid applicants’ trusts were not available assets even though the applicants retained the right to use the houses that were put into the trusts. Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (Mass., No. SJC-12200, May 30, 2017) and Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass., No. SJC-12205, May 30, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Irrevocable Trust Belonging to Medicaid Applicant’s Spouse Is Available Asset
A Michigan appeals court rules that assets placed in an irrevocable trust by a Medicaid recipient’s spouse are countable assets because the principal in the trust can be paid to the spouse. Hegadorn v. Department of Human Services Director (Mich. Ct. App., No. 329508, June 1, 2017); Lollar v. Department of Human Services Director (Mich. Ct. App., No. 329511, June 1, 2017); and Ford v. Department of Health and Human Services (Mich. Ct. App., No. 331242, June 1, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- U.S. Court Rules That Assets Transferred to Testamentary Trust Are Subject to Penalty Period
A federal court rules that Colorado’s Medicaid agency acted properly when it imposed a penalty period on a nursing home resident’s benefits after she transferred her share from the sale of a residence to her late husband’s fully discretionary testamentary trust. Kadingo v. Johnson et al (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Col., No. 15-cv-02835-NYW, Aug. 14, 2007). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Agent’s Transfer of Property to a Medicaid Trust Violates Power of Attorney
A Pennsylvania appeals court rules that an agent under a power of attorney did not have authority to create a Medicaid trust and transfer her mother’s property to the trust because the power of attorney allowed her to transfer property only to a trust that was created before the power of attorney was signed. In Re: Sellers (Pa. Super. Ct., No. 329 EDA 2017, Sept. 19, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Yahoo Is Not Prohibited From Disclosing Contents of Email Account to Estate Representatives
Massachusetts’ highest court rules that the Stored Communications Act does not prohibit an email provider from disclosing the contents of a decedent’s email account to the decedent’s personal representatives. Ajemian v. Yahoo!, Inc.(Mass., No. SJC-12237, Oct. 16, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- Medicaid Recipient’s Agent Under POA Liable for Damages to Nursing Home for Breach of Contract
An Ohio appeals court rules that a nursing home that is suing a resident’s agent for breach of contract is entitled to damages if the agent had control of liquid assets at the time the nursing home invoice came due even though the assets were paid to maintain the resident’s home. Classic Healthcare Systems, LLC v. Miracle (Ohio Ct. App., 12th Dist., No. CA2017-03-029, Nov. 13, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
- State Counts Trust Created Before Look-Back Period As Medicaid Applicant’s Available Resource
A U.S. district court denies a Medicaid applicant a preliminary injunction after the state denied her application because she created an irrevocable trust outside of the look-back period. Vinci v. Connolly (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. N.J., No. 17-cv-7709 (PGS), Oct. 25, 2017). To read the full summary, and click through to the full text click here.
- Father’s Transfer of House to Daughter Before Entering Nursing Home Was Not Fraudulent
A New Jersey appeals court rules that a nursing home that sued a father who transferred his home to his daughter before he entered the nursing home and applied for Medicaid failed to prove the transfer was fraudulent. Future Care Consultants v. Abraham (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-1533-16T2, Dec. 18, 2017). To read the full summary and click through to the full text, click here.
(This blog post was adapted from an article posted on the ElderLawAnswers website.)
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