Listed below are the top ten (10) posts on the Vanarelli Law Office blog and website articles with the highest readership in 2021, as measured by the number of “unique page views” of each blog post. The title of each article is hyperlinked to the original posting on the blog so that each article is accessible to readers. The posting date of each article is included after each hyperlinked title. Check out the list to see this year’s highlights. Our sincere thanks for taking the time to read our blog!

  1. Medicaid Liens and Estate Recovery in New Jersey Federal and State laws require the recovery of all monies expended by Medicaid on behalf of a recipient during his or her lifetime from the estate of a deceased Medicaid recipient.
  2. New Law Permits Documents To Be Notarized Remotely In New Jersey – April 15, 2020. To deal with the obstacle to legal and financial transactions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the notary law in New Jersey was changed drastically to permit notaries public, attorneys and other officials to notarize documents remotely by audio-video transmission during the public health emergency,
  3. Unsigned Trust May Be Valid if Decedent Reviewed the Trust and Gave Final Assent to its Contents – October 17, 2017. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, held that, although a trust or other writing need not be signed by a decedent in order for it to be admitted to probate, the decedent “must have been able to read the document and thereafter assent to its contents.”
  4. Co-Executors Of New Jersey Estate Must Act In Concert; Unilateral Action By Co-Executor May Constitute Grounds For Removal – June 6, 2022. A New Jersey court held that a co-executor’s “unbridled belief she could act unilaterally in administering the decedent’s estate without the need for consent from the co-executrix … [may] amount[] to a breach of the [co-executor’s] … fiduciary duty [and] … [constitute] cause for her removal.”
  5. Getting a “Conformed,” but Unsigned, Copy of a Last Will and Testament Admitted to Probate in New Jersey – May 7, 2014. Readers in possession of an unsigned copy of a Will of the beloved family member may achieve success in getting the unsigned copy of the Will admitted to probate by filing an application with the court under the New Jersey laws discussed in this blog post.
  6. Court Identifies Correct Method Of Calculating Fair Market Value Of Real Estate For Medicaid Penalty Determinations – May 12, 2020. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirmed a ruling of the Director of the state Medicaid agency holding that, in the absence of competent evidence establishing a home’s fair market value, the New Jersey Administrative Code provided a method for determining a property’s residential value for Medicaid applicants by applying an equalization ratio to the home’s tax assessed value.
  7. What Is An Advance Designation For A Representative Payee? – September 9, 2020. New law amended the Social Security Act to allow for the advance designation of representative payees for recipients of Social Security and other governmental benefits. “Advance designationis the act of naming individuals in advance as potential representative payees for SSA consideration should the need arise. It is not an appointment of a payee.
  8. Assignment of Income Streams to Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Benefits Trusts – A complex issue arises when considering transferring an income stream into a special needs trust for a disabled beneficiary receiving public benefits based upon financial need. The most common types of income streams include alimony and child support payments; personal injury/structured settlements; pensions; annuities; and individual retirement accounts. According to the Social Security Program Operations Manual System (POMS), as a general rule, “additions to trust principal made directly to the trust are not income to the grantor, trustee, or beneficiary” if the assignment is done properly in accordance with the regulations.
  9. Governor Signs New Law Helping Residents of CCRCs in New Jersey Get Timely Refunds of Entrance Fees – August 28, 2018. New Jersey changed state law governing “refundable” entrance fee agreements used by Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). Although New Jersey law required CCRCs to repay refundable fees, the refunds were not mandated until 60 days after the unit owned by the vacating resident was resold.   As a result, CCRC facilities often held refundable fees for a year or more after a particular unit is vacated, while marketing and selling other newspapers newly built units first. The new law mandates that CCRCs create a preference list for units with refund obligations.
  10. Guardianship 101: A Practical Guide to Guardianships in New JerseyWhen an individual is unable to manage his or her personal and/or financial affairs as a result of age or infirmity, a guardianship action may be commenced, seeking to have that person declared incapacitated and appointing a guardian for him or her. This article provides an outline of the guardianship process in New Jersey.
  11. EXTRA! Will Your Stimulus Checks Affect Medicaid And SSI Eligibility? – February 1, 2021. Under COVID-19 legislation, a one-time direct payment of $1,200 was paid to individuals earning less than $75,000 per year ($150,000 for couples who file jointly), including beneficiaries of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, a stimulus payment is not counted as income in determining financial eligibility for Medicaid benefits.In addition, the Social Security agency will not consider stimulus payments as income for SSI recipients.
For additional information concerning Medicaid and public benefits planning, visit:

NJ Medicaid and Public Benefits Planning