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 a list of the “Top Ten (10)” most popular blog posts in 2015. Check out the list to see this year’s highlights. Again, our sincere thanks for taking the time to read our blog! 

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli Launches VanarelliLaw.com Website. Earlier this year, we proudly announced the launch of our new website, located at http://VanarelliLaw.com. Hopefully, the new website accomplishes the goal we set for ourselves: to provide the best-possible user experience for website visitors researching elder law issues; estate, trust and gift tax laws; public benefits laws; special needs planning issues; and court procedures, such as probate litigation, will contests and elder mediation.

Attorneys Representing An Estate May Owe A Duty Of Care To Non-Clients Who Are Beneficiaries Of The Estate. In an important case, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that estate attorneys may owe a duty of care to non-clients when the attorneys know, or should know, that the non-clients will rely on the attorneys’ representations.

Ethics Rules Clarified for NY Lawyers Who Use LinkedIn. The New York County Lawyers Association, in Formal Opinion 748, addressed the ethical impact on lawyers of their use of the social media website “LinkedIn.”

Lawsuit May Proceed Against CCRC For Misleading Marketing. Here, a New Jersey appeals court, reversing a trial court order dismissing a complaint filed by the son of a deceased former resident of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), held that marketing pamphlets distributed by the CCRC could be the basis of a lawsuit alleging consumer fraud and similar claims regarding the CCRCs’ refund policy.

New Jersey Settles Federal Lawsuit, Amending its Medicaid Program to Exclude VA Pension as Countable Income. In 2015, the State of New Jersey entered into a Consent Order agreeing to amend the rules governing its Medicaid program in order to exclude pension benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs when determining an applicant’s eligibility for Medicaid benefits. Our law firm represented the Alma Galletta, the lead plaintiff in this federal class action lawsuit.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Short-Term Annuities Are Not “Available Resources” Preventing Medicaid Eligibility. In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, reversing an earlier federal district court judgment, ruled that “short-term annuities” purchased by applicants for nursing home Medicaid cannot be treated as an “available resource” preventing Medicaid eligibility.

Reduction in PCA Hours Reversed; Assessment Tool Imposed Artificial Cap of 25 Hours of Care. The decision by United Healthcare, a managed care organization, to reduce the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) hours awarded to a disabled Medicaid recipient from forty (40) hours per week to twenty-five (25) hours per week was reversed on appeal. 

Top 10 New Jersey Elder Law and Special Needs Trust Cases Decided in 2015. In this blog post, I summarized the top elder and disability law cases decided from September 2014 through August 2015.

Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Donald D. Vanarelli, New Jersey Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney. In this post, I described my surprise and delight upon receiving the Marilyn Askin 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.

Disabled Vet Ordered Into VA Nursing Home Against His Wishes So His Limited Income Can Be Used To Pay Alimony. A New Jersey appeals court required a disabled 89 year old veteran to receive end-of-life care in a VA facility against his wishes rather than at home in order to use his limited income to continue paying alimony to his ex-wives.

Thank you for making these our top blog posts in 2015. We promise to continue bringing readers new developments in 2016 in elder law, estate planning and administration, will contests and probate litigation, guardianships, public benefit laws involving veterans pension and compensation, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, special education cases and special needs trusts, among other topics. If you or a loved one need legal assistance, please contact us for a consultation, either via email, at dvanarelli@VanarelliLaw.com, or via phone, at (908) 232-7400.

For additional information concerning NJ elder law and special needs planning visit: https://vanarellilaw.com/legalv-services/